Our trip to Petra left us strong in spirit and weak in the knees. We fell into bed after another long ride to Aqaba following our six hour hike in the red rocks. Aqaba is a beautiful town sitting on the northern tip of the Red Sea….MOSES, people!!! We once again suffered from the gaping mouth as we looked across the sea at Israel in the distance.
The water itself is a gorgeous blue, cool and refreshing. We watched the women covered head to toe getting into the water as if they were wearing a regular swimsuit from home. Meanwhile, the men smoked their ancient looking genie bottles full of smoke and wore shorts. Life is definitely not fair over here.
We traveled to a church in the morning where Charlotte and Kim taught one after another, with a coffee break in between. The gathering was of women alone ranging from 17 on up. They were very welcoming and seemed glad to have us there. The pastor and his wife have it rough. They have been serving there for three years and feel lonely and a bit like climbing a mountain themselves. They shared with us that the people there were not raised with correct theology before they arrived to pastor the church and that they have been retraining the congregation.
The mindset here that the elders do not seek wisdom from the younger ones is difficult when the pastor and his wife are not in their eighties! All this to say, they are lonely. When we asked them if they had any close friends, they both said they did not. We took them to lunch and tried to encourage them as best we could. They were both delightful people. Makes me think of how important encouragement is to the body of believers. Ro 15:4 says…THAT THROUGH ENDURANCE AND THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES WE MIGHT HAVE HOPE… there is no other way to truly live.
We have had quite a full day, so I will just give you a couple of my personal highlights very quickly: J
*I stand amazed that we were in a place that you could walk across the border to Saudi Arabia and ferry across to both Israel & Egypt! Wow, wow, wow!!!
*Saw a sign that said “camel crossing” and sure enough…here they came…loping across the highway!!!
*Sitting in the pew today being taught God’s Word along with our new Arab friends by my two precious friends, Kim & Charlotte….well done faithful servants!!!
*I left with a heart burdened to pray for this precious pastor’s wife who in this culture was not mature enough to teach…she is 37…but here, younger women can’t teach older women! I am so glad that’s not the case in my world. I learn so much from my younger friends!!!
*I was so encouraged upon meeting and hearing the testimonies of two friends…one strong in her faith and the other struggling, BUT the stronger one was so clearly a Barnabas for the weaker one!!! Praise God….even in the Middle East!!!
*Lastly, a very special time that I had with a Mom and daughter. The Mom’s name was Sherri J & the daughter (17) was so incredibly smart. She knew answer after answer as the ladies were teaching…all by heart and sang without any hymnal at all!!! She confided in me that she desperately wanted to study at the university but there was no way they could afford it…she wanted to be a Doctor! Anyway, she told me her Mom was her best friend and they encouraged each other in the Lord. When I prayed for them, I began to cry because it really made me miss my girls A LOT and I told these precious two women all about my girls and how they were my encouragers!!!…Moms & daughters…across the world or next door doesn’t matter…a very special bond!!!
Good Night for now…please pray for us tomorrow…our last day of teaching in two different churches…each very different. Kim & Charlotte are up again tomorrow!!! We love you and miss you!!!