Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 7, 2017

When Hope Departed

Amman, Jordan

I am back in Jordan with an outstanding team of students. We are here to serve Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS and Syrian Muslims displaced by civil conflict. For the fourth year in a row, our students have moved in the direction of people who have suffered unimaginable losses. The vast majority of these individuals fled for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs.

We started our morning with prayer and worship, enjoyed breakfast, and then divided into two teams to prepare for the day’s work. One team assembled humanitarian food packs while the other team sorted through clothing to distribute to Iraqi and Syrian families in need — no small task but one made easier by many hands.

After lunch we divided into smaller teams to visit Iraqi families who had fled their homes in order to escape ISIS. Each family shared their personal stories of leaving everything behind. And each story repeated a common theme — namely, when ISIS came to our town, hope departed. Those who finally made it to safety in Jordan did so by the skin of their teeth.

Starting over is never easy, especially without the benefit of resources. Even those who were wealthy in Iraq have had to make monumental adjustments in order to survive on the bare minimum. Pride is no longer a consideration when there are mouths to feed. These families are happy to see us move in their direction with enough groceries to help sustain them for another week or two.

Today we heard the same thing more than once — “you have brought us hope.” Those words have echoed through my soul all day because they represent a collision of two world views. When ISIS came near, even hope itself departed. However, when we came near, we brought with us more than groceries in our humanitarian aid bags. We brought hope.

For all of the families we visited, our arrival was well-timed and a reminder that God had not forgotten them. Even though the future may look uncertain, our hour-long visits served as a reminder that God is very much aware of the plight of the suffering. Perhaps the greatest privilege we enjoyed today was praying with each family. Sometimes people need more than bread in order to survive. God used our prayers to nourish parched souls and as a vehicle through which to deliver hope.

Our evening worship and debrief was powerful as student after student shared how the events of the day impacted them. They understand better the importance of our world view that honors the sanctity of human life. And they understand that this week the world view that compels us to love and serve others without condition will continue to collide with a world view that seeks to steal, to kill, and to destroy. To those who feel that hope has departed, we have come to help pave the way for hope to return.


  1. All people need hope. Thanks for being the hands and feet of Jesus. Many will be be blessed.

    • Amen, James. That’s our prayer. Thanks for your prayers.

  2. This gives me great joy.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. So uplifting. Jesus with skin on………beautiful.

    • Love watching our students in action, compassionately moving toward those in need.

  4. When you have opportunity I would love to know who your partner is for this trip. Praying for your team.

  5. We are so proud of Grayson and of course his team. His heart overflows with love for those less fortunate. His faith sustains him. Much love to you Grayson. Mama and Papa 6

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