Jordan (MNN) — Six hundred thousand refugees currently call Jordan ‘home’ — as much as they can, having been forced out of their former lives in Syria. Band-Aid solutions and short-term tents are no longer enough.
Although 145,000 Syrian kids were able to attend school in Jordan last year, another 91,000 couldn’t get the education they needed. The schools are too crowded as it is.
That’s why Jordan recently signed a $100 million grant agreement with the U.S., Switzerland, Norway, and Britain to provide at least 50,000 more Syrian refugee children with much-needed schooling this academic year.
Jordan will be implementing a successful schooling model also utilized by Lebanon to solve overcrowding. They will add a second shift to 102 public schools, and will now allow kids to start school even if they lack official documentation.
The country will also create a new program for kids aged eight to 12-years-old to catch up on their education if they’ve been out of school three-plus years.
These solutions to refugee children’s education deficiency hope to create lasting change, as a whole generation is growing up amidst displacement.
Bob Blincoe, President of Frontiers USA, says such long-term mindsets are critical. “These many Muslims that have come out of Syria and Iraq to find safety in the country of Jordan, they are miserable in every direction. We sat with refugees who have closed the chapter on their past and do not have a place for the future. They’re unable to go back, and they’re never going to be citizens in Jordan.
“In other words, in Jordan, refugees don’t want to be in the refugee tents if they don’t have to. They try to get to the place where there’s more of a community, and not so much of the terrible Muslim mafia that set itself up in these refugee camps. They try and get out to mingle, and that’s where we can meet them and meet their needs.”
While countries and humanitarian aid organizations seek to answer the physical and educational needs of refugees, Frontiers works with missionaries on the ground for an eternal impact on refugee’s souls.
Blincoe says the missionaries they work with focus on “finding the person of peace who is a Muslim and asking that person, ‘Do you want to study the Bible?’ And you know, sometimes they say yes! Which is just an astonishing thing.
“Then they study the Bible with their own friends, and you provide for them the oral version of the Scriptures if they’re illiterate. They listen to it, they can actually memorize it if they listen to it a few times, memorize the great stories from Genesis through the book of Revelation.”
From there, the Gospel does a work on their hearts.
“Finally, you get to the place where they’re really ready to talk about baptism, and we are seeing this most extraordinary step happen in Jordan of Muslims coming to faith and wanting to be baptized.”
Blincoe says it’s been incredible to see refugees whose lives are being changed for God’s eternal glory. And there is always the opportunity for more people to get involved in the outreach.
“It has been the time of the Lord for some of these people to come to faith. We do need more workers, not just from the organization that I represent, but it is an opportunity for churches to send their teams over to Jordan, find their bearings, link with others.”
Meanwhile, Blincoe asks that you remember the missionaries and refugees in Jordan today.
“Let’s lift up the hands of the workers who are over there. [They] see the despair on every side, people who have lost everything, have seen death, they have found Islam failing them because it’s Muslim-on-Muslim violence. So pray for the hands of the workers, that their faith may not fail, that they might not grow weary in well-doing, and that they might have the reward of their work having abided in Christ, having followed Christ to this most needy place.”