Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ma'salama Jordan

Our time in Jordan is coming to a close L. It is hard to believe that we are already on this side of the experience. Audry, Eduardo, and I depart Amman in just a few hours to fly back to the States! While we are looking forward to being back in the States and seeing all our family and friends, it is sad to leave Jordan. It has been a wonderful year filled with new experiences (learning Arabic, coaching jr. high girls football [a.k.a. soccer], teaching music, visiting refugee camps, conducting research), amazing sights (Petra, Jerusalem, Cairo), new friendships, adventures (camping in Wadi Rum, taking taxis in Amman, snorkeling in the Red Sea), Middle Eastern food (pita, hummus, falafel, shwarma, kanafa, mansef, maglube, Turkish coffee - I could go on and on J), and many, many opportunities to learn, grow, and change. The stories are many, the memories priceless, the photos endless J, and the lessons learned will last a lifetime. We are very grateful for this year of life that we got to spend living in Jordan and excited that the project continues with the next group of volunteers.

We are not sure what the next season of life holds for all of us, but trust that God will lead and guide us to the next place we are to be. No doubt, the adventure will continue!
Ma'salama's been fun!

Ma'salama's been fun!

Our time in Jordan is coming to a close L It is hard to believe that we are already on this side of the experience. Audry, Eduardo, and I depart Amman in a few hours to fly back to the States! While we are looking forward to being back in the States and seeing all our family and friends, it is sad to leave Jordan. It has been a wonderful year filled with new experiences (learning Arabic, coaching jr. high girls football [a.k.a. soccer], teaching music, visiting refugee camps, conducting research0, amazing sights (Petra, Jerusalem, Cairo), new friendships, adventures (camping in Wadi Rum, taking taxis in Amman, snorkeling in the Red Sea), Middle Eastern food (pita, hummus, falafel, shwarma, kanafa, mansef, maglube, Turkish coffee – I could go on and on J), and many, many opportunities to learn, grow, and change. The stories are many, the memories priceless, the pictures endless J, and the lessons learned will last a lifetime. We are truly grateful for this year of life that we got to spend living in Jordan. 
We are not sure what the next season of life holds for all of us, but trust that God will lead and guild us to the next place we are to be. No doubt, the adventure will continue!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The past couple of months have been very fast and in a lot of ways the current state of where we are in the project (2 weeks from its full conclusion) is somewhat surreal. We've grown closer as friends and family and have had to say goodbye some with two of us leaving already. We've experienced some reflection on what this year has been, the lessons learned and thoughts to help the project run more smoothly in the upcoming years. (Hopefully the next volunteers will be better bloggers :P ) We're very excited that the project doesn't end with us though. I remember last year's group saying the same thing and I understood then, but now even more so how very important it is to have a continuity of example and living God's way of life in any part of the world we're living as Christians and especially wherever we are all together.

Our last small group journey was to Aqaba which is located at the southern most point here in Jordan on the Red Sea. We rented a flat for a very good price through some friends Eduardo has made at the school (relationships are key here) and we enjoyed spending the weekend of Pentecost there together. This was the one of our only trips that was so relaxing and we thoroughly enjoyed picnic dinners on the beach, snorkeling in the beautifully clear water and definitely having two Sabbaths in a row.

Jamie and Kelley wrapped up their school year at the YMWA June 10th (although Kelley left briefly before that to fulfill a job obligation at home). Kelley helped prepare materials and Jamie helped in organizing and conducting the grand finale sports day for the students; they prepared for this day with coaching the students in the skills for the various events for several weeks before the event.

The school year at ABS concludes in stages; the KG (where I work) and junior school ended yesterday June 22nd. The KG is in the midst of moving into a new facility just built for them for the upcoming school year. It is very beautiful! Although trying to complete report cards with assessments, finish yearbook responsibilities and move an entire school on top of it all has definitely kept me busy (along with everyone else in the school) and in somewhat disbelief at how soon it will all be a memory for me. The rest of the school is taking their final exams this week and will end tomorrow June 24th. My last day is either June 28th or July 1st and Eduardo's is July 1st.

Stephanie is wrapping things up at the regional human security center with submitting research documents for publication, organizing of conferences and many other responsibilities she's taken on. She will officially conclude her time there in the middle of next week as well.

Since some of us as volunteers have left in stages it's somewhat created different dynamics to the project and our time here with each departure. It simply feels different when someone's spot at the dining room table is empty. But we've already enjoyed the amazing blessing of still being able to keep in contact through skype, even having skype dinners together (well at least some of us were eating dinner). This year has planted the desire in me so much more to grow closer to all of my family around the world through God's truth; it's amazing the ways we can grow and the experiences that can be changed or be so much more beneficial when we are together.

We're all excited about what we are moving onto in our lives, but of course this time is bittersweet as we are saying goodbye to friends we have just made. The example we have set here is one we hope and pray was an honorable one to God and continues to pave the way for those who will come after us. If you'd like to see more photos, hear brief stories, etc of our time here in Amman this year, please visit our facebook group "uyc jordan."

~Audry for the Jordan 5~

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Marathon of Spring Holy Days and Adventures

Spring Break Jordan Style
We as the Jordan 5 this year are somewhat hopeless when it comes to writing prompt updates on this blog. It's not that we don't want to keep you infomed, but we are definitely not naturals at this whole blogging thing and for that we apologize.
We have experienced so much in the past few weeks of which I’d like to give you an overview. Most of us began our spring breaks on Thursday evening March 25th and within hours of the beginning we welcomed our first guests, the Hoyer family, who are currently living in Tel-Aviv. We enjoyed the first of many dinners around enlarged dining room tables which was a welcome change to the normal 5 seater tables. The next day we welcomed more family to our group with the arrival of Jamie's dad and brother-in-law and my sister. It is a unique experience to go to the airport here in Amman. The arrival gate, for those coming through customs at least, is a very narrow opening in a wall with a bar to block those waiting on the outside from crowding too close. It was so crowded there at 4:30 in the afternoon with whole families waiting to welcome loved ones or friends. I remember when we first arrived here in Amman back in August, the man (Khalid) from ABS that was there to greet us pointed out that even at 3am (our first arrival time) whole families will still come to welcome their travelers. So after our excitement filled pick up at the airport we came back to begin and enjoy the first Sabbath we'd experienced with that large of a family since the Feast of Tabernacles in October.
There were 13 of us here together for the Sabbath through the First Day of Unleavened Bread. One highlight through these Holy Days was simply having live speakers that we could speak with and learn from even after the services were ended. Simply having more iron to sharpen iron is an amazing part of having so many of God's people together. We had a true feast when it comes to the messages God blessed us with. Passover was inspiring and memorable. Since we were observing it here in our apartments, we as the Jordan 5 were a little more involved in the preparations than we might otherwise have typically been. It brought a certain vividness and attention to things and consideration of all the meaning in the Passover service.
Some of us were able to see a few of the sites in Jordan on the day before and of Passover. That first Sunday we began the first of many travels with Eduardo as our driver. We (the Hoyer family, Jamie, Mr. Franks, Kris - Jamie's brother-in-law, Eduardo, Bobbi - my sister and I) made the hour or so journey north to the city of Jerash. (Stephanie still had some work to do for the security center and Kelley decided to stay home for the day.) We walked the ancient Roman streets and tried to put ourselves into the time period when the Romans occupied and built this city which was part of the decapolis (ten cities in this region of the world that were centers of Greco/Roman culture during the time of the Roman Empire). We departed Jerash to travel directly south through Amman and on to Mt. Nebo where we took in the view that was the spot from which Moses first viewed the promised land. It is truly a far reaching view, but nowhere near as clear and encompassing as I think it must have been when Moses first saw it. Of course God's hand was also involved that time. (Deuteronomy 34).
We made it back to the apartments in the afternoon with a few hours left to clean up and prepare ourselves for the Passover service.
The next day we left pretty early so as to make the drive and enjoy part of the day in Petra. We spent part of the morning and early afternoon walking through the siq to the Treasury, taking in the amazing architectual designs of what were tombs when they were first constructed and up the 900+ steps to the Monastery. It is amazing how something could be made of what would otherwise seem a land of desolation. Mr. Hoyer was a wonderful guide to us being knowledgeable about the history of Petra. One thing he pointed out was how some of the carvings were done in a particular way to allow for collection and retaining of water which would have been undetectable from an outsider's view but of course was the vital necessity for survival in such a harsh environment.
After our brief but enjoyable Petra adventure, we made it back to Amman in the late afternoon to finish up preparations for the Night to Be Much Observed. We enjoyed a mixed grill of chicken and beef with sides such as hummus, turkish salad, and other favorites with our homemade (by our inhouse baker Kelley) unleavened pita bread. Conversation was enjoyable and part of it was spent on reviewing the story of ancient Israel coming out of Egypt. The rest of the first Holy Day was spent with a good night's rest, a sit down brunch, services and then a sit-down dinner with lots of enjoyable conversation in between. The Hoyers left us that evening to begin a trip to India. The rest of us set off the next morning to spend a few days across the Jordan river in Jerusalem.
The trip across the border was made in good time and without too many delays at all. Upon our arrival to the hostel we (Eduardo, Stephanie, Kelley, Jamie, Mr. Franks, Kris, Bobbi and I), we were informed that our reservations could not be found and we would have to make do with another arrangement as far as numbers of rooms and beds in those rooms we would have to our disposal. It all worked out and we had plenty of space considering what we soon realized came to be of the entire hostel. Since we were there in Jerusalem during Days of Unleavened Bread and in the time leading up to Easter it was a very busy place. Our hostel was providing mattresses on the floor even in the community areas and hallways for people to sleep on. We had much to be thankful for in what we were given. During our few days in Jerusalem we saw many of the famous sites: the old city, Western Wall, Temple Mount (arriving 20 or so minutes before it was opened for only one hour), Mt of Olives, Garden Tomb, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, new Jewish district of the city and Hezekiah's Tunnel.

All of these sites as I'm sure you could imagine were cause for lots of thoughts and reviewing the history and future to come in Jerusalem. We also took a journey away from the old city a bit to Yad Vashem (way of remembrance) and the Holocaust Museum where we spent quite a few hours. It is easy to spend much more than a few hours with the amount of detail that has been spent to show the extremeties of what happened in that time in history.
We had the opportunity to sample unleavened hamburgers from McDonalds in the Jewish part of the new city. This experience along with seeing some headlines in a newspaper left in our hostel lobby area brought to my mind thinking about what it will be like when the whole world observes the Days of Unleavened Bread. Will there be restaurants serving unleavened hamburgers, will there be unleavened bread factories, what will the headlines look like if there are any? I know these are not necessarily important questions, but interesting to think about nonetheless.
Visiting Jerusalem is always a memorable and striking experience for me. Being there in the place where so much has happened as well as where there is still much to come is indeed stirring. At the same time, I am always thankful for the understanding that God does not simply live there in Jerusalem, but that He is with His people wherever they are. It can be rather saddenning to see so many put so much of what they believe and hope in a particular place and and things instead of in God Himself.
We (including our additional family member, Stephanie's sister Erica who had joined us in Jerusalem the day before) arrived back in Amman on Friday afternoon and spent the Sabbath savoring the much needed rest. Although we were mostly site seeing and not necessarily working for the past week, I noticed how much the Sabbath was still something to be thankful for and a great blessing for the physical and mental rest. Towards the end of the Sabbath we welcomed more family Nate and Casey (friends of Stephanie and Eduardo) and enjoyed a dinner in our constantly changing numbered family (11 for that brief segment of time). We then said goodbye to Mr. Franks and Kris that night and welcomed Justin (Kelley's fiancee) the next afternoon. Sunday was a catch up and do errands day for some of us while others (Stephanie, Eduardo, Nate, Casey and Erica) went on a journey to Mt. Nebo, the Dead Sea and one of the many claimed baptism sites (of Jesus Christ). (Photo Below thanks to Nate and Casey)
On the Last Holy Day we listened to the sermon given by Mr. Kilough on the First Day in Spokane, WA on "Perception, Truth and the Days of Unleavened Bread." It was a very good reminder that we can only be putting unleavened bread into our lives if it is God's truth through His word that is our reality. We can not simply live by our perceptions to build Godly character unless what we're perceiving is God's truth which is only that defined by His word. It was a very good message to remember that we can not define truth of and by ourselves nor can we grow in Godly character without having truth (God's word) in our lives.
After sundown we made the trek down our hill and a bit further to eat at our favorite traditional food restaurant. After dinner a few of us stopped at our favorite sweets shop and then on to a bakery and produce stand to pick up some things for our next journey beginning in the morning. We left bright and early at 6am on Tuesday morning for Petra again with the whole group this time. We arrived somewhere around 9am and Bobbi, Jamie and I departed on a separate hike from the rest of the group for the day. The rest of the group did the traditional hike to the Monastery and back, but since Bobbi, Jamie and I had been there only a week before we decided we'd like to explore a little more. We set out to climb to the peak of what is called Mt. Hor and claimed to be Aaron's tomb today. Seeing it from a distance made it seem that goal was unattainable in a one day hike, but we began the adventure trusting words and maps Jamie had researched before that day. Although part of our day was spent looking for "other trails" and we didn't quite make it onto the correct peak, we did see some spectacular views and now have some very memorable experiences. We stopped for tea with an older Bedouin couple, saw flocks of sheep and goats climbing the sides of the mountains with ease, walked through a dry riverbed, scrambled up sides of rocks to climb the mountain before us, walked a ways with 2 little Bedouin girls; these are some of many events that made this day as memorable as it is. We could see the claimed tomb with clarity on the next peak over, but needed to turn around at that point because of the time and still didn't make it back until an hour after our original meeting time with the rest of the group. Nate and Casey left us from Petra on a JETT tour bus to make it back to Amman for their midnight flight back home.
Tuesday night and Wednesday were the homestretch of all of our traveling during the couple weeks we were blessed with visitors. That night we spent in the tents of the guest house at Wadi Rum. We were all a bit worn from the day's hiking in Petra and so after devouring our grilled beef and vegetables we settled in for a good night's rest in our equally worn with access to a "starry sky view" tents. Good thing there's not much rain in a desert. ;) Wednesday was spent in the back of a 4WD truck sailing through the sand of the desert to various rock forms, dunes and
other known sites to see.
One of the highlights was stopping for a picnic lunch and tea with our driver after climbing a rather large sand dune. Not long after we were cruising into the little village where the rest house is located and were on our way back to Amman. Thanks to Eduardo we made it back safely although we were in a hurry to return the rental van on time.
About 5 minutes before we got back, all of as passengers started grabbing all of our supplies and luggage so we could just hop out and Eduardo could keep on driving back to the rental place. No sooner had the van door opened in front of our apartment building when we heard a hissing noise and realized one of the front tires of the van had been punctured and was loosing air very quickly. It was somewhat unbelievable. We had made it to our front door and no further. Justin and Eduardo with the help of one of our neighbors changed the tire and although Eduardo was late with the rental, we were not charged extra for anything. We have so much to be thankful for it's overwhelming. :)
In the midst of all these activities and events we still had to keep in mind the thing we as the Jordan 5 had been training for for the past few months. We rested up on Thursday only taking a short trip to pick up our numbers for the marathon we had all registered to be a part of the next day. Our carb loading dinner consisted of spaghetti, garlic bread and salad and nervous anxiety. The day was actually coming. As we left Stephanie's and Eduardo's apartment to get a good night's rest, there was the sound of loud bagpipe music. We all looked at each other and just started laughing. Again a bit unbelievable that there would be this loud music in our apartment the one night we all were really trying to get a good night's rest. It turned out to be a really neat thing to witness though. We walked down the stairs to the apartment the music was coming from and got the unique experience of watching a bride and groom and the entire wedding party exit the apartment and fill the street in front. They all got in their cars and began the wedding parade that we have grown accustomed to here in Jordan. The bride and groom are always near the front in their car while the rest of the guests follow behind beeping in sync to celebrate. After the party left, we proceeded with our intentions to sleep.
Friday morning, April 9th, the day had arrived. We left the apartment just after 5 am to gather at King Hussein Park where we were to catch the designated bus for the starting lines. There were thousands of people surrounding the busses and no signs marking when and which bus would go where. (This sort of chaos is also a bit of something we've grown accustomed to in Jordan. Where there are not always logical and clearly explained ways of doing things.) After asking a number of volunteers who all seemed to have different answers we (Eduardo, Jamie, Kelley and I) somehow made it onto a bus and departed for the 42km line. Stephanie and Erica went on a bus to the 21km line and I'm sure they had a fun time figuring out which bus to take as well. We met some interesting people on our brief bus ride to the start line. I have a feeling that veteran runners of marathons always have interesting stories. I sat next to a man who has been a part of the iron man competitions numerous times and another man sitting behind me had climbed Mt. Everest and had run more than 200 marathons. He said he was running this Dead Sea Marathon to make it to the lowest point on earth since he'd already been to the highest. Kelley and I were both talking to this man and when he asked us how we'd come to run this particular race and how many we'd each ran, we looked at him wide-eyed replying this was our first. With all these events in quick succession we arrived at the starting line no more than 5 minutes before the gun went off. Fortunately we had done a lot of our preparation back at the gathering point.
The gun went off at 7:01 am and we ran and we ran and we kept running and battled many aches and pains and prayed much along the way. The first half of the race was all down hill which was definitely easy as far as effort put forth, but not so easy on the impact it gives to the body (knees and feet in particular). The marathon began in the city of Amman and ended at the Amman Public Beach at the Dead Sea. We all made it! I have to say that those were some of the longest hours I've experienced in life, but worth it to cross that finish line. We all made it through before 11:30 (results are posted at if you want more details) and were completely exhausted sitting in the shade we could find for quite a while before embarking upon moving again. We parted ways for the afternoon. Justin and Kelley spent some time eating lunch with some of the teachers and students from the YMWA who had run in the "Fun Run" (4.2km) part of the race. Bobbi and I went to float in the Dead Sea for a while and the rest of the crew hopped on the busses heading back to Amman. When we all made it back to Amman, we had an early dinner of pizza and were asleep no later than 8. One particular lesson I've taken from running in training for the marathon is that to keep going at times it is a battle; in our spiritual lives even more so. We must keep going and rely on God for the strength to keep going to finally make it to that finish line which will be so much more exhilirating than crossing this physical finish line was.
The Sabbath was wonderful as usual and needed of course. We were joined by the Hoyer family that morning upon their return flight from India and Erica left us that evening.
Sunday morning the Hoyers left to go back to Tel-Aviv and we all went back to work for the first time since our marathon of a spring break had begun. Bobbi went to school with me and I think that topped it off that she experienced in just 2 weeks every part of life as I have throughout the past several months here in Jordan. Bobbi and Justin left that night leaving our apartments pretty quiet again. We miss our extra family, but were also happy for crossing the finish line of our journeying for the couple weeks.
We are now back to work and "normal" life here in Jordan and I believe you are caught up with a brief overview of some of what our life has been recently. :) Happy upcoming Sabbath!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Blog by Bobbi

I spent just over two weeks in Jordan, from March 26 through April 11, visiting my sister Audry and the rest of the Jordan 5. All 5 volunteers were on spring break while I was there so we were able to travel around quite a bit and take in many of the noteworthy sites of the region: Jerash, Mt. Nebo, Petra (twice), and Wadi Rum. We even had the chance to head to Jerusalem for a few days. I love traveling, and I love learning, so visiting a land where so much of recorded history has occurred was an incredible experience.
I could write volumes about each day I spent in Jordan, but to spare you the tedium, I’ll just share two highlights of the trip.
The highlight of the actual travels for me was without a doubt Jerusalem. This took me by surprise because I had always considered Jerusalem “just another city,” and in a way, I still do. I don’t think it’s particularly holy. Land is holy – anything is holy – when God is there. But Jerusalem IS special. When Jesus Christ was on earth, He did much of His work there. Walking around Jerusalem resulted in this profound thought: “I am walking in the same places where Jesus Christ – God Himself – walked!” That is absolutely awesome! Of course I realized that even the Old City does not look the same now as it did in Christ’s time, so I wasn’t seeing what He saw. But He was there, and 2000 years later, I was there too.
The timing of our visit made it even more meaningful. We arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday, March 31, the day after the First Day of Unleavened Bread. With an understanding of the chronology of the week of Christ’s crucifixion, we can know that if this had been the year Christ died, it would have been His second full day in the tomb. The next day, Thursday, would have been His third and final day in the grave, and just before sunset that day, He would have been resurrected. We were there, in Jerusalem, where it all happened, on the anniversary of the day when the first human being was resurrected to immortality, when the way to salvation was opened to humanity, and when victory over Satan and death was absolutely assured.
History aside, the coolest thing about visiting Jerusalem was imagining its future. We ate cheese, drank wine, and watched the sun set over the city from the Mount of Olives, to which Christ will soon return. We were RIGHT THERE where He is going to be. And after He comes back, Jerusalem will become the capital of the whole world. It will be the city to which everyone will look for leadership, and for education in God’s way of life. I imagine that I will get to visit Jerusalem many more times when that reality comes, but I doubt I will forget the first time I spent a few days there.
The other highlight of this trip for me had little to do with the sites; it had everything to do with those with whom I was seeing them. Hanging out with the Jordan 5 was SWEET, and there are two things about them that made it that way.
As a Youth Corps volunteer on a 9-month project in Thailand in 2003, what I appreciated most about my experience were the close friendships I developed with the other volunteers. I had been nervous about leaving my family behind, but as I landed in Bangkok with 4 other volunteers at the beginning of that project, I thought, “This is my home, and these are my brothers and sisters.” And indeed, we became very close, very fast. When Audry told me that she was going to Jordan, one of my greatest hopes was that she would experience this same closeness with her fellow volunteers. So it was wonderful to see that the 5 volunteers in Jordan do operate as a team and a family. One of the best examples of this is that they eat together 5 nights a week. Just like any family, they go their separate ways during the day, but then they come back together most evenings, share their experiences and just enjoy one another’s company. Another thing that brought them together was training for the Dead Sea Marathon. Before they even arrived in Jordan, they had all decided to run the race, and so they trained together. Eventually they weren’t running at the same times, places, or paces, but they still shared the experience and kept each other motivated. When I arrived, they were at the end of all their training, and it was heart-warming to see that the common battle to increase their endurance had bound them together like few other activities could. On April 9, they all finished their race. From now on they’ll be able to say not only, “I ran the Dead Sea Marathon,” but, “WE ran the Dead Sea Marathon.”
This ability of the Jordan 5 to work as a team or a family brings me to the second awesome thing about them: they are excellent hosts. They worked together to make all their guests’ visits over the two weeks I was there both comfortable and productive. Having been there for a full two weeks, I was not only able to experience their hospitality myself, but also enjoyed seeing them welcome and care for several other guests who visited within the same period. By the time I arrived, the 5 had all the meals and activities planned in detail for the next two weeks. They had thought out beforehand how to set up the Passover, how to accommodate the most visitors they’d ever had at the Night to Be Much Observed, how to set up their apartments for Sabbath services, how to feed everyone each night, where to have everyone sleep. When it came time to tour, they had already made arrangements for transportation, housing, eating. They took care of everything for their visitors, and they packed in a lot of fun for us too.
The 5 volunteers are doing an excellent job. They serve each other, they serve their guests, and though I only saw Audry at work, I have no doubt that they all serve their coworkers and students well. Keep them in your prayers as their service in Jordan continues for the next three months.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

English Class

Here are some shining English class students as they learn about feelings.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Our time here in Jordan is racing ahead now. It seems we just welcomed Mr. Baker (regional minister for the Asian area) for a visit. Yet a month has now passed by. He gave us some great advice during his brief visit that I think is one of our challenges as the time we will be here is now shorter than the time already spent. His advice was something along the lines of "don't forget you're still here. Don't get so busy planning where to go/what to do after Jordan that you forget about the here and now and the impact being made." The timing of these words of wisdom were just right I think. They are so applicable to so many things. In our preparation for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread we're looking ahead and excited and yet we still have to live in the here and now with our preparation and self-examination.

We had our only snow (so far and we're okay if it stays that way) when Mr. Baker was here for his visit February 4th-7th and joked with him that he must have brought it with him from the States. Although it was no more than an inch in our little neighborhood in Amman, we enjoyed an extra day added on to our weekend. Since Amman is built on 7 hills and they don't have the equipment to manage any stuff that freezes on the ground, any amount of snow can pretty much make the city stand still for the day.

The next weekend (Presidents' Day) after Mr. Baker left, we had the wonderful opportunity of being involved with the Dallas Young Adults' Weekend. We were asked to put together a presentation revolving around the theme of service and leadership and talk about lessons we've learned or are learning here in Jordan this year. We each picked a particular lesson (by no means the only lesson) in the area of service and presented what we've learned and stories from our time here. It was pretty remarkable to be able to interact with a group of God's people so far away in such a direct way. Stephanie kicked it off by talking about redefining service (being a servant not just doing service), then Jamie talked about "service outside the box" how to do a job/find a job when it's not apparent what that is, Kelley talked about the "uniform of service" how to be the servant (as Stephanie had begun in her part), then Eduardo talked about "relationships and service" and I wrapped it up by talking about "perseverance in service." We've become accustomed to delays in audio calls while living here, but for being across the world it was truly amazing the capabilities there are to interact with one another.

We've been continuing on in our respective roles and duties. Teaching lessons, cleaning classrooms, entering inventory, counting books, interviewing NGOs, making dinners for each other, learning Arabic and many many more things, but above all we are still striving to do all of these things to the best of our ability and interacting with everyone else our lives touch in a positive and loving way.

We're very much looking forward to the Spring Holy Days as many are around the world. We get the extra special treat of having quite a few visitors throughout the time. From March 25th - April 11th we will have a total of 11 visitors coming and going. Our little congregation will be more than doubled for Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Needless to say again, we are very excited. We wish all of you a blessed, meaningful and inspiring Spring Holy Day season!