Two-Year Humanitarian Service Assignment in the country of Jordan Begins!

When people are the busiest, they often have the least amount of time to record their experiences and write down their feelings. Our arrival week in Jordan, as country directors of Humanitarian Work and LDS Charities, was one such week.

We said goodbye to our children and their families at Thanksgiving weekend at our son Rick’s home. It was a sweet time of bonding, socializing and expressions of love. At the end of the day, five of sons and son-in-law placed their hands on each of our heads, and gave us a blessing prior to our mission departure. The thought of leaving for two years astounds me and frankly, is not pleasant at this point. Our 21 precious grandkids are each going to be seriously missed.

We then drove to California and stayed overnight at our son Roo’s home in Burbank. His family took us to the airport next day. Eleven air hours, a layover in Paris, and 9 time zone changes later, we were hovering over the capital of Jordan in a landing pattern. What on earth have I committed myself to? Nothing is glamorous about this assignment, but it’s a necessary one. I am here because, as someone once told me, “I Owe!” I owe the Lord for my loyal and gifted husband, for my beautiful, faithful family, for my blessed life in the USA, extraordinarily good health and for the promises and direction the Gospel has played in our families lives. Now is the time for us to help others who are so much less fortunate. Our goal is to relieve suffering.

After a few hours sleep, we were off and running with the Hammonds (Ron and Sandi, who we are replacing) on appointments with partners, dinners with friends and associates, Center tour, BYU Arabic studies student and teacher discussions, driving practice, key usage, currency use, and apartment orientation.

We hear loud Muslim prayers going on five times a day, pass fully covered Islamic women on the sidewalk, push our way through traffic of erratic drivers and few road rules, and experience new foods, tastes and smells. We must learn basics of a new language and culture in a short period of time.

Reed is doing well except we have huge problems with the Center computers and printers ‘talking’ to each other. We got our new phones and numbers set up but a lot still needs to be resolved. We had the IT guy for the American Embassy come over and spend nearly 3 hours helping us. He finally tossed his hands up in frustration and said, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here. Reed hasn’t given up yet though. We’ll talk to the Salt Lake “Desk” when he’s at the end of his options. (My prediction is that this will be very soon.)

We will do our part and work hard to make meaningful, sustainable things happen the best we can. What I will never like about the assignment is leaving so many of my loved ones behind and being so far away. We were integrated with many lives and will miss the calls, meetings, trips, activities, building projects, my Live-Right and Products Matter companies, helping with tending, and being an intimate part of the grandkids growing up.

After a layover in Paris, we continued onto Jordan and arrived safely and sleepily on Sunday evening November 29, 2015 8:30pm. Ride home was 45 minutes on roads that curved over and under, around and through. Stop signs are only a suggestion. After a late walk around the 10,000 sq foot Conference Center we were taken to our new apartment, which is located at one end of the Center. We have a well-appointed apartment with a high quality bed, linens and plenty of kitchen appliances and dishes. Cupboards were stocked with food awaiting our arrival. The Hammonds have been working ultra hard to get things in perfect readiness.

Address of the “Center” that will be our home for the next two years: 194 Princess Basma Street, Wadi Abdoun, Amman, 11183 Jordan. It is a beautiful area of the city and considered very safe.


Lynn and Myrna Tolley are the other Jordan humanitarian workers and live in Husn City to the North. Once each week they come to the Center in Amman to have a couples meeting.

We participated with them in last Monday’s meeting and had more orientation. We are also enjoying the delicious fruits at the market.

Al Husein society wheelchair project director Annie. Recipients are sewing, making puppets and craft projects. Many staff and teachers are less abled. LDS Charities supports this huge effort.

Al Husein 1Al Husein 2Al Husein

Father Kildani….Food coupon project. Fifty-five families were given redeemable coupons to help them buy food of their choice. LDS Charities donated funds and distributed $30-$60 to each family for Christmas. Kildani is personally housing dozens of displaced Iraq families on his Church property in make-shift mobile home types of containers. At least the people have a roof over their heads in the cold weather. Most of the women we gave coupons to had children, but no husband.

Father KIldani

The Royal Hospital. Physical therapist Zaid is a retired general. He is needing wheelchairs for needy patients and may help us train people how to properly fit them. He and Reed hit it off well. Reed’s specialty is writing medical grants so he may be a good resource for Zaid.

It is disheartening to know that nearly 45 million people in the world need wheelchairs, but cannot obtain them. LDSC is able to reach some of these masses in Jordan, by working with good partners.

Secretary to Vice PM

Zaid Abdulla is the executive secretary to the vice prime minister of Jordan. He and his wife were gracious to spend their evening with us on her birthday.

All of these brief meetings and/or hosting of dinners throughout the week were planned so we could meet many of Hammonds’ major contacts and continue the Humanitarian work and relationships here without interruption.We have two Kia cars. One is small for maneuvering around traffic, and the other is a van for picking up people at the airport. Reed drives and Sandi navigates.

Met with banker to set up our accounts. She has a one-year old so I gave her a Baby Banana Brush. They will be strategic in preparing financial draws for our partners, which can be in the thousands of dollars. The Center has been dealing with cash for these partner distributions and all other expenses. We hope that during our time here, we can transition the Center to a paperless office and electronic accounting with most partners. We also met with our new phone carrier, paid the electric bill, went to our PO Box, visited RHAS, GUVS (partners), Diab & Boab (building managers), Fadia and Mr. Khatib (owners), Zakaria, Raad and Lubna and Forrest, and prepared and submitted financial reports one time through. These meetings were all in preparation for us taking over assignments for the country.

Schneller school has been provided with a clean water retrieval filtration system provided through funds of LDS Charities. They are awaiting government approval to turn on the system. We will meet with these principles again at the final ceremony next month, and close out the project. They teach, house and feed hundreds of refugees from Palestine and work with them to develop skills until they get reputable jobs—rather than the alternative—which is out on the streets involved in crime.

TV Studio Shot

Comfortable in a TV photo studio. Getting mug shots for permanent residency cards. Next week we register with the US Embassy so they can keep track of us with any alerts. We saved the ‘Center’ money by getting our international driver licenses ahead of time in the USA.

Dinner with the Al Deir family. He is the branch president of the Arabic speaking Branch and she is the chorister. I’ll be playing the organ/piano for their meetings on Friday which is our new Sabbath day in Jordan. This is causing me great fear and trembling. Did some practicing this morning, but I’m no Jan Clayton, or even a Heather/Annie/Kristin/Troy/Jennifer/Ryan/Brayden/Mary/Nancee (and all you other kids and grandkids that play the piano beautifully)–rather, I sound more like 1-year old Blake slamming on his toy piano keyboard. Dang. I really should have kept practicing when I was a kid. Lol. I’ll rely on my simplified hymnbook for the time being.

Orientation – this is the multi-page booklet/bible we’ll be referencing for “how to” care for the Center and LDSC partners. Sandi Hammond organized it well. Passing the owner’s manual from Sandi H. to Sandi P.


More practice on paying wtih JD’s (Jordanian Dinars). Bills come in 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, 20’s and 50’s only. No bigger bills. One Dinar = $1.4 USD.

Boxing Up food

LDS Charities helped buy food to box and distribute to 60 needy families in his parish and some Pakistani refugees. We will join them on December 24 to distribute and also support them Dec 18 for their Greek Orthodox Christmas celebration with 500 children!


We delivered Hammonds with their eight suitcases and carry-ons to the airport Sunday evening; forty-five minute drive home with no wrong turns. Reed is an amazing, steady driver. No lines and no order to traffic but he made it.

Life Post-Hammonds:

Lots of IT challenges continue with our MACs, PCs, new phones, printers and faxes Roo helped us resolve 50% of the issues. Reed just called Salt Lake for more answers.  We got the top computer problem solver at Church headquarters in SLC. Most issues finally got resolved. At least Reed can have a good night’s sleep.

Jordan Xmas Tree

We decorated the Center and our apartment for Christmas! Wow, I was excited there were Christmas trees to be had in this Muslim (just 2% Christian) country. Reed also got his first Jordanian hair cut (from me, with ‘paper-cutting’ scissors). Still, it looks better than it did. We ran our first batches of wash and cooked meals at home the last few days. This afternoon we ventured out into heavy traffic and bought Reed a winter coat at City Mall. We are preparing to meet with the Church’s attorney and the Tolleys tomorrow (the other Jordanian couple), and have a pastry treat planned for their visits. It’s going to be another busy week. Got a reassuring email from the Hammonds, and a phone call from Brent & Margaret Strong (another retired “Jordanian” couple) that we’ll understand and be up to this enormous Country Director’s task as time goes on. We pray that we will.

Have a nice day. (atmna lk ywma tyba) اتمنى لك يوما طيبا