Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 2, 2014

I Am A Stranger Here

Among Syrian Refugees in Amman, Jordan

After only a few hours of sleep, the morning light burst through the windows of our rooms with a blinding intensity. But, two days of travel and an early morning arrival at our boarding house were not enough to keep us in bed. Our students were eager to start our first day of ministry to Syrian refugees living in Amman, Jordan. We understand that we only have a few precious days to visit and encourage families who have suffered unimaginable losses and we did not want to waste a single minute.

Humanitarian Aid Packages
Our first order of business after breakfast and our morning devotional was to assemble the humanitarian aid packages that we will personally deliver over the next few days. These relief packages are a part of a larger strategy that goes beyond meeting physical needs. Traumatic and life-altering events like the civil war in Syria have opened windows of opportunity and an openness to the gospel among Syrian refugees, thereby allowing us to meet spiritual needs as well.

Among the nationals who are working alongside our team are several refugees who have come to faith in Christ as a result of previous initiatives to assist them in their time of need. I was delighted to see one Syrian man whose family I visited on a previous trip to Jordan. He is now a believer and heavily involved in reaching out to his own people. The kindness expressed to him by Christ-followers who visited his home opened his heart to the truth of the gospel. And now he is expressing that same kindness to others and sharing the story of how Jesus reached him.

Humanitarian Aid Girls
We coached all of our teams to take the time to listen to the stories told by the people we have come to help. Every individual and every family has a story to tell — stories of loss, near-death experiences, fleeing for safety, watching friends and family members killed, and what it means to live with uncertainty. One woman told me that although their home in Syria was completely destroyed by Assad’s forces, she and her husband are prepared to go back and live in a tent the moment it is safe to do so. “If we do not return one day,” she said, “then who will rebuild our nation?”

Every refugee we visited echoed the same sentiment. “I am a stranger here,” said one man. He and his family of eight will stay until it is safe to return home, even though their home has been destroyed. They are prepared to rebuild their lives, their home, and the country they still love. After praying with another family the man looked at me and said he remembered me. I had visited him on a previous trip soon after he and his family had come to Jordan. “I thought you looked familiar but then knew it was you when you started to pray.” His words touched my heart. Regardless of whether people remember our names, how wonderful to be remembered because we prayed.

Syrian Woman
Our work has just started. Our seven teams visited Syrian families living all around Amman. I reminded our students this morning that, in addition to carrying their relief packages, they needed to carry “a little balm and a little honey” (Gen. 43:11) with them. There should always be a healing and soothing quality about our presence, like balm, and a refreshing and encouraging quality as well, like honey. I am proud of our students for not only meeting physical needs today, but addressing spiritual and emotional needs as well. Life for Syrian refugees is hard. We pray that God will continue to use us to bless and encourage these hurting families.


  1. I am following your journey to Jordan. reading the posts. Thanks!


  2. Everyone has a story to tell, great to hear that the students are being encouraged to listen to every unique story told. Thanks for the updates Omar.

    • Thanks for following our journey, Neil. Certainly an eye-opening experience for our team.

  3. Pastor Omar, you and the team are in our prayers. God bless the trip.

    • Thanks so much, Christopher. Trust you are well. Regards to all in Qatar.

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