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From Refugee to Pastor

From Refugee to Pastor

When Ammar* awoke to the sound of church bells, he knew what he needed to do. The ceaseless ringing signaled an alarm: ISIS was about to invade Ammar’s city in Iraq, a place that was known for its large Christian community. There was no time to pack or say goodbye—only to flee.

Still in their pajamas, Ammar, his wife and his two children hurried away from their home, just hours before ISIS took over the city. Their trip to a nearby town under Kurdish control—normally an hour’s drive—stretched on for 12 hours as everyone from Ammar’s city crowded the road to escape.

Eventually Ammar and his family arrived in Jordan, where they now live as refugees. They’re among the nearly 3 million refugees residing in that country.

Although displaced peoples are often thought of as those who are on the receiving end of ministry, Ammar has a heart to serve others. He’s one of several Christian refugees being equipped for outreach at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS).

JETS was founded by a Christar worker to equip Christian leaders from Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. Its programs of study are designed to prepare men and women for ministry, often in difficult areas.

God has given Ammar the desire to serve as a pastor, and has worked through Ammar’s displacement to bring him to a place where he can be prepared for that role. He’s enrolled in a year-long certificate program at JETS that’s equipping him with training in theology, Bible and ministry skills.

As a student and a refugee, Ammar has had to trust God to provide for him and his family. In his homeland, he worked two jobs, teaching art in a local primary school and selling mobile phones at a small shop. But like his fellow Iraqi refugees, he’s not permitted to work in Jordan. He’s sold the gold he was able to carry with him when he left his hometown and now depends primarily on assistance from churches and family to survive. He’s grateful for the scholarship funds that enable him to study at JETS.

After he graduates, Ammar hopes to eventually return to Iraq to serve as a pastor there. In a country where 98 percent of the population is without access to a church that preaches the gospel in their language and in a culturally relevant way, trained believers like Ammar are desperately needed.

This need is the reason JETS exists! By equipping believers to plant and strengthen churches in the Arab world, Christar workers who serve at JETS are giving more least-reached people the opportunity to hear the good news and find new life in Christ.

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for bringing believing refugees to study at JETS.
  • Ask God to equip refugees for effective ministry and to work through them as they use what they’ve learned.
  • Ask God to provide the funds needed for scholarships for JETS students, who aren’t allowed by law to work off campus.

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