Left Beit Jala Wednesday morning. Crossed the Allenby/King Hussein bridge into Jordan. Visited The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethany Beyond the Jordan baptismal site. This church is on land given by the King of Jordan to many churches on the archeological site of early Christian veneration of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist.
Amazing views. Wonderful hospitality by our hosts. A powerful witness and awareness of human seperation as we stood on the Jordan side of this smallmuddy river waving and fellow Christians on the West Bank side. Less than 25 meters separate us but also an international and heavily guarded border.
Anyone interested in traveling to the Holy Land, doing a pilgrimage to the Bethany beyond the Jordan site is well worth your time. The ruins are significant and the energy of the place far more spiritual and open to experiences of God’s presence in this journey. #NTNL #ELCJHL #BethanyBeyondTheJordan #InMissionTogether
Wednesday night we arrived in Amman in the rain and traveled over to the Lutheran Good Shepherd Church to meet with Pastor Sami Azar. He has served there 21 years. An amazing story of community engagement, working with partners, and raising the profile of the very small Lutheran community. As he said, he is the only Lutheran pastor in the entire kingdom of Jordan.
We went back to the church this morning to visit Rachel Luce, lead staff for Lutheran World Relief. Driving north through the beautiful green (cause it rained) countryside to visit the new community center in Irbid, about 1.5 hrs north of Amman.
At Irbid they are working to build civil society, care for human needs, and develop relationships between Jordanians and Syrian refugees. Accompaniment is a key component to the ELCA strategy for global mission and our time here and our relationship with our partners in the ELCSL.