Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 4, 2014

The Dust of History

In the ancient land of Moab in Jordan

Jordan is a country that is bulging at the seams with biblical history — one of those places that can make you feel like a kid who has wandered onto a world-famous stage like Carnegie Hall. Everywhere we go we find ourselves in locations where so many amazing biblical dramas unfolded. From the heights of Mount Nebo to the muddy banks of the Jordan River to the salty shores of the Dead Sea, you simply cannot escape the past when you visit Jordan.

Today, new dramas are unfolding across this ancient stage. Since March 2009, Syrian refugees have come to Jordan seeking safety from the madness that has gripped their nation. These nameless actors have unwittingly made it onto the pages of the Jordan’s playbill. They are engaged in a daily life and death drama filled with intense emotions. Their presence on this stage became the cue that prompted us to play our part to bring them measures of hope and encouragement.

This morning, we headed to the ancient land of Moab to serve at a place called the House of Ruth, so named because this is the place where Ruth, the woman in the lineage of Jesus, once lived. Our friends at Global Hope Network started this home as a place where women learn to speak English as a second language while receiving vocational training, where children can get their first exposure to the biblical stories that are a part of their own history, and where visiting teams can stage initiatives to assist refugees and the poor.

At Mount Nebo with the Dead Sea in the background.

At Mount Nebo with the Dead Sea in the background.

On the way to the House of Ruth, we took a quick detour to the area around Mount Nebo, the last stop for Moses on the way to the Promised Land. Concerned about the welfare of a people he would not be privileged to lead into the Promised Land, Moses delivered his final three sermons to the Israelites. These sermons are the heart of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy — his final words of exhortation, encouragement, warning, instruction, and guidance.

Students kicking up the dust of history near the Dead Sea.

Students kicking up the dust of history near the Dead Sea.

Our students enjoyed the opportunity to wander the rocky ground around Mount Nebo and gaze at the Dead Sea in the hazy distance. Just being here for a brief time has given our students a little more clarity and context to stories they have heard since their earliest days in Sunday School. They were visibly excited to kick up a little of the dust of history that has settled here.

At the Greek Orthodox Basilica of St. George in Madaba.

At the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George in Madaba.

We also took a some time to stop in Madaba, known as the City of Mosaics, to visit the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George. This old basilica houses the oldest cartographical depiction of the Holy Land, a mosaic map made up of 1.6 million tiles carefully laid onto the floor of the church. As we stood around the map we sang a worship song together to the delight of other visitors in the basilica.

Serving at the House of Ruth.

Serving at the House of Ruth.

At the House of Ruth our team worked on several projects. One team built an impressive stone wall at the entrance to the small campus while another team repaired breaks in the wall at the back of the property. This exercise prompted our students to lead us in a devotional at the end of the day from the book of Nehemiah, the wall-builder. Another team scraped and painted some of the outside walls of the center. And all of our teams engaged in teaching a Bible lesson to neighborhood kids.

Our team at the House of Ruth in the ancient land of Moab.

Our team at the House of Ruth in the ancient land of Moab.

To say that I am impressed with our students would be an understatement. They are serving hurting people with deep compassion and cheerfully embracing every task assigned to them. I am grateful to have this opportunity to guide them on this shared mission and shared adventure to this ancient place. They will come home with a deeper appreciation for current world events and the role they have played in serving those whose lives have been dramatically impacted by those events. They will return home with a little of the dust of history on their feet.


  1. What a beautiful trip!! Enjoy and a great blog post Omar of them world:-)

    • Thanks so much, Christy of the Nile. I appreciate your kind words. Love and regards to Pastor Alex and the family. Thanks for following our journey. 🙂

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