Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 10, 2016

Reading Another Page

I love to encourage people to go beyond — to step across the line that defines the farthest they’ve ever been and the most they’ve ever done. New experiences and discoveries await those who venture to the other side of that line. In many cases, crossing that line requires that we overcome our fears about venturing to new places.

St. Augustine said, “The world is a book. He who does not travel reads only a single page.” I agree. Those who go beyond, however, read another page, broaden their cultural vocabulary, become better informed, see the world through new eyes, and grow in their understanding of the world views that shape the lives of others.

Students Worship in Amman 2016
This morning our students broadened their understanding of the world by worshiping at my favorite church in Amman. I had the privilege of sharing a message about what God expects of us when we come across those who are in deep trouble. Afterwards we enjoyed a time of fellowship with church members. This was a special experience for our students.

Students at Madaba 2016
After lunch we traveled to the city of Madaba in Moab, the ancient land of Ruth. Madaba is known as the City of Mosaics and is home to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George. This beautiful church dates back to the 6th century and is home to the oldest cartographic depiction of the Holy Land — an impressive map on the floor of the church made up of more than 1.5 million mosaic tiles.

Students at Mount Nebo 2016
From Madaba we traveled the short distance to Mount Nebo, regarded as the most revered holy site in Jordan. This is the place where God permitted Moses to view the Holy Land. And, this is the mountain that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referenced in his famous sermon, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” — the final sermon he preached just ten hours before his assassination.

Students at Dead Sea 2016Our final stop of the day was the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Our students ended the day by floating in the über-salty waters and slathering the famous Dead Sea mud all over their bodies. This mud is reputed to do wonders for the skin. Just being at the Dead Sea did wonders for our team. It has been an emotionally intense week and the fun and laughter at the Dead Sea recharged our batteries.

Jordan is indeed a country that is bulging at the seams with history — and all within easy driving distance. Our visits to some of the most famous sites in the country this afternoon gave our students some historical context to the region and the people who live here. Understanding where others live and what has shaped them is a key component in building cultural bridges of love.

Tomorrow we will continue our work of serving Syrian and Iraqi refugees. On Tuesday evening I will preach at the Iraqi refugee church that now numbers in the hundreds. Our students will lead Bible studies for the kids. And then on Wednesday we will head south to end our time in Jordan with a visit to Petra and Wadi Rum. Thanks for your prayers for our team.

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