We have been very busy these first few weeks in January. Its exciting to think that we have already been on our mission for over a month! We have been sending out lots of emails and Natalee is trying to consolidate them on our blog. Some photos and snippets from our updates are below. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to know more specifics about any of our projects. We love and miss you all! Thanks for reading our blog.

2016-1-3 My view

Reed’s view from our apartment window. Quite a bit different from what he looked at from our home in Inkom!

2016-1-8 Center Construction 4

Major construction going on in front of our apartment each day. They are turning this into a high speed roadway, so there will be no more parking spaces in front of the center.

From Sandra’s e-mail on January 7:

We got a new GPS for the car that runs 30% faster. That’s probably why we’re driving so confidently! We’ve made multiple visits to the fruit market, meat market and dry cleaners.

We start teaching institute next Tuesday and will probably open it up to the ward.This year for Institute, we’re going to discuss histories on each of the 50 Arabic hymns—one each week. We’ll then sing it in two languages, I’ll play, we’ll practice conducting, and have a treat related to it (like Johnny Cakes for Come, Come ye saints, etc.). We want it to be really interactive, practice leading, language and singing, learn some history and hopefully feel the spirit. I am playing just “okay” for the Arabic branch, and conducting in the English branch alternating with two other sisters.

We feel helped as we learn Arabic, and blessed as we associate with the good people in the branches, and as we work with such high quality partners that really value human life and want to eliminate suffering. We are energized as we see their own efforts. The Lord truly cares about the lovely people in this part of his vineyard. Each early morning we walk for 45 minutes in the park and feel the crispness of the air and take in the beauty of the trees and trails, and it reminds us of what a lovely world this can be—no matter where you are. How blessed we are to have good health and (at least partially) functioning minds for our age.

2016-1-7 (l-r) E:S Phillips, Amal Ireifij, Aseel Farraj RHAS

Met with the Director of Programs and the Senior Program Officer at Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) to discuss continuing support for diabetes screenings, mobile clinics, etc. LDSC donated $20k to their Healthy Kitchen project last year. We want to do something similar with them this year, as well as work with them on smoking cessation and drug addiction counseling programs.

The photos above are all from our visit to JOHUD (Jordanian Hasemite Fund for Human Development). We were able to meet with Qais Tarawneh, the Director of Social Support Programs. This organization has 57 Community Centers throughout Jordan. They have 5000 volunteers and 600 paid employees. We went to several different centers. One that works with “at risk” children (those who can’t feed their children, often they will marry their young daughters off to older men if they can give them money). These kids are “at risk” of not being educated, thus not being employable, falling into drug abuse and prostitution. One of their biggest challenges is getting the kids from their homes to the center. They have a bus but it doesn’t fit all 300+ program participants. We also visited the Princess Basma resource center, which provides services in East Amman. They teach family life skills, educate, vocational training, morality,they provide medical and dental care to needy families, government and entertainment education as well.

More updates to come soon…