My goal was to sit down and do a quick wrap up of my trip to Jordan in a nice, neat little package. But the more I thought about it…the people I met, the places I saw, the conversations, the impressions…my thoughts were way too many and muddled to be wrapped up easily. So, I guess I’ll just try to get as much out as possible and then see where it goes from there.
I’m currently in the “missing-the-journey-but trying-to-get-back-in-the-normal-routine” phase of the trip. It’s an interesting place to be. Getting outside of your normal, day to day, comfort zones opens and expands the world a bit more. It also helps you to see things in a new light. Here are a few more imagesl
First off, the people.
I was very fortunate to be on a trip with some great people. I honestly believe I made some true friends…which is good since we were in a bus for hours at a time. We came from all different ends of the spectrum – TBN, CBN, travel writers, Quakers, Catholics, American, Canadian, print, web, TV, first time traveler, seasoned veteran travelers, younger, not-so-younger…but we gelled like a some kind of strange, extended family. That tends to happen when you are together for the bulk of 10 days together. There were some lively discussions, a few pranks and a lot of laughter.
We were also privileged to have met some very interesting people during the trip. Brother Andrew, who ran the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf had such a calm, wisdom to him. As he gave us a tour of the facilities, he threw out some amazing nuggets of wisdom on serving and loving that I’m still chewing on. His love for people and especially those forgotten was refreshing and challenging and see so much in his interaction with the students and staff at the school.
Layla, a late 50-something, Canadian who came to Jordan through Australia and her love for camels, Wadi Rum and adventure was motivating. She is in the process of a totally new life in the Jordanian desert and has such energy and life, she’s contagious. Here’s a woman who would normally be starting to think about retirement and “winding down” but she’s got a ton of business ideas and seems to be just starting.
Rustom Mkhjian, the supervisor for the Baptism Site and his love for history and the sites was one of the most passionate people i’ve ever met. He would pull info from the Bible, the Koran, historical documents all from the top of his head. I don’t know how many people he’s led through the site, but I know he was with the Pope and other dignitaries and I’m sure he was just as animated and passionate with them as he was with us.
His Excellency Senator Akel Biltaji, who has served in a number of different capacities with the Jordanian government, sat down with us on our final night and just talked about the region and government and religion and change. He spoke with such authority and conviction. President Bush, T.D Jakes, Benny Hinn all came up in the conversation.
A Beautiful Country
The places we went to were inspiring in their own right. Amman is a hustling, bustling city that was safe and clean. The streets were full of people and vendors and there was a lot of construction and traffic was a bit crazy, but it was a great city. They have taken great care of some great historical sites, as well.
Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum were all fantastic and MUST see places on any trip to the area. The natural beauty of the mountains and desert was truly amazing! To describe these places just feels like you are over-using already over-used adjectives, but they ARE awesome, amazing, beautiful, breath-taking, overwhelming, wow…!!
The Biblical sites were great, but I think I expected to be moved more by Mt. Nebo and Jesus baptism site. I appreciate the history and their significance, but I think I was moved more by the size and scope of Petra and Wadi Rum. It was easier to see the hand and magnitude of God in the natural places more than the sites with churches and memorials all over them
A Muddled Mess of Thoughts and Impressions
As i mentioned before, I’m deeply in the “missing-the-journey-but trying-to-get-back-in-the-normal-routine” phase of the trip. Here are a few thoughts i’m working out:
I’m able to see the simplistic beauty of the Bedouin life vs. the American yearning for more and more.
I think about God’s majesty and His thoughts towards me represented in the desert of Wadi Rum vs. my own insecurities as I desire to “be somebody” and “accomplish great things” even in ministry and church.
I realize I’m not called to live in a tent in the desert or stay in 5 star hotels every night, but I am called to love people and serve where ever I am.
I’m called to humble myself and forget my own agenda and seek after and trust God, the God who created Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and my neighborhood and set the whole universe in motion.
I’m called to get to know fellow travelers on a bus on the King’s Highway and on this journey through life.
I’m called to love Christians & Jews & Muslims & Jordanians & Canadians & Americans & all people – God does.