Monday, April 18, 2011

Rockin' the Fast Walk

It is a rare occasion to see athletic Arabs. Yet several evenings ago, one hundred locals set out to walk the streets wearing bright neon reflective vests. Jordanians of all sizes and shapes ventured out into the wind and rain to exercise and lose those shwarma and filafel calories… covered women, uncovered women, young and old men alike. Loners and pairs and groups. Every Sunday and Tuesday evening they set out and stop traffic wherever they may be. I have become one of them and love it!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


We sat around the table mashing play-dough into animals when 9 year old Sheyma asked me in Arabic, “Do you ever cry?” Immediately the ‘house mother’ of the orphanage shushed her for asking a ‘shameful’ question.

Turning to the girl, I answered her, “Sure, I cry sometimes.” Suddenly every little eye in the room was on me, as well as the shocked house mother. (Islam and the culture have little room for expression of authentic emotions, and especially little room for tears.)

“Why do you cry?” Sheyma pressed.

“I might cry if I am sad. It helps.”

“Do you cry when someone dies?”

“Yes, because I am sad when someone dies.”

She paused.

“Do you cry because your parents died too?”

Not a girl breathed as they waited to hear my answer.
I knew I didn't have the answer they hoped for.

Sometimes my heart aches so much for the people in darkness here and for these sweet girls, I have to ask Father on a daily basis to give me faith to believe that one day He can restore and redeem broken hearts and make glad His people. That one day they may come to know Him and He will tell them that He never despised their tears, but instead He held their every tear in a bottle as their culture shamed their weeping.

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God." Ps 46:4

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Gulf!

Desert is still desert. Sand stilll sand. Beautiful girls wearing head coverings are still beautiful girls wearing head coverings. Arabia is still Arabia in whatever country you may find yourself.

This past weekend I was able to visit my dear friends from Texas Tech who are living in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as university professors. Cindy and Jeff poured their lives into mentoring others and building community when I was college student at Tech, and it was a joy to spend time with them! We compared our lives in the Middle East and the similarities between our resident countries.

Despite similarities, I also saw just how different the Gulf of Arabia is from the rocky hills of Jordan. In Dubai I saw girls wearing the flowing black abiyah but trimmed in gold and lace. They carried Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags and drove Bentleys and Lamborghinis. I wish I had a picture of this!

Young Arab men drove Landcruisers up and down the sand-dunes like four-wheelers.

My friends brought me to their university, where they instruct wealthy college students of 30 plus nationalities on a gorgeous campus. The palm trees were planted by the local sheikh to shade the girls on their walk to the dorm.

We also went to a private fundraising party at a house on the Palm Islands, which was the most posh party I've ever attended! The backyard opened up to a private beach on the shores of the Persian Gulf and waiters serves us hoir deuvres and mint lemonade as we mingled and strolled the beach. Here is our party according to the GPS.

I loved being with old friends and gaining a deeper understanding of Arabia and all the diversity that expands across it!