Displays of Hope, Help, and Healing from the August 6th Remembrance Event at the Olive Tree Center
by Keely Jahns
  August 25, 2022

HOPE, HEALTH & HEALING

On August 6th, 2022, the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation (American FRRME) hosted a remembrance event with the Iraqi Christian community at the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan, to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the 2014 ISIS insurgency in Iraq. They gathered to sing, pray, and remember the day that changed their lives forever. Their expressions of joy and perseverance were in direct contrast to the terrorists that attempted to destroy their hope eight years before. Join us as we revisit some of the highlights of this night, with special selections from some of the music and poetry that was shared at the event. 

3bfc62e6-6ff4-43cd-9399-010eb011a2891-768x432.jpg
4f713dbf-7430-43fb-86b9-09e718859848.JPG

The youth at OTC gathered to sing this moving song from the Iraqi homeland:

 

Bless My Country

an Iraqi Hymn

No matter what the situation is, you will be able to open the seas,

no matter how dark the earth is, the sky is full of light.

As Nehemiah came to you with tears and called for you,

We are all coming to scream, O Jesus stretch out your hands.

Bless my country, bless my country,

O hearer of prayer in the hearts of all human beings.

Bless my country, bless my country,

turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain.

Your Holy Spirit gathers bones from every valley,

Long live, speak, bow down to you, confess your name, O redeemer.

On the cross I cast my sins away, the sins of my fathers and my children,

O merciful heart, forgive and listen to the groans of my country.

Bless my country, bless my country,

turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain.

Your Holy Spirit gathers bones from every valley,

Long live, speak, bow down to you, confess your name, O redeemer.

On the cross I cast my sins away, the sins of my fathers and my children,

O merciful heart, forgive and listen to the groans of my country.

Bless my country, bless my country,

O hearer of prayer in the hearts of all human beings.

Bless my country, bless my country,

turn to the cry of our hearts and send us rain.

a7230d0b-db05-4fe8-ad09-94536bebe554(1).JPG

Fada and Karmen from the Hope Group read a joint poem about their experiences leaving their home as refugees.

 

Poem by Fada and Karmen – “My Emigration from my Country”

When I emigrated from my country, a day that history will always remember.

When I left my town with teardrops in my eyes, I looked up to the sky with a broken heart.

I asked God at that moment, is this a dream or the reality? What is happening to us?

How shall I leave my country, my memories, and the place I grew up?

The birds above the trees sing and say: “Why is this country so quiet?”

Elders, women, youth, and kids wondering why is this happening?

On those nights, eyes couldn’t fall asleep and the enemy lives in my town, the town that was built by my brother, father, and Grandfather.

Only God can heal the pain of our deep wounds, giving us patience, faith, and love to endure the pain of leaving our beloved country.

Oh, my country, my country…The day I emigrated.

fdfae5b1-02bb-495b-94b7-eebcb2bd3b10.JPG

The youth gathered to perform a contemporary worship song in English.

 

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

a contemporary worship song by Matt Redman,
performed by the children at the Olive Tree Center

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul, worship His holy Name.

Sing like never before, O my soul.

I’ll worship Your holy Name.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning;

It’s time to sing Your song again.

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul, worship His holy Name.

Sing like never before, O my soul.

I’ll worship Your holy Name.

You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger,

Your Name is great and Your heart is kind;

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,

Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul, worship His holy Name.

Sing like never before, O my soul.

I’ll worship Your holy Name.

And on that day when my strength is failing,

The end draws near and my time has come;

Still my soul sings Your praise unending,

Ten thousand years and then forevermore.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul, worship His holy Name.

Sing like never before, O my soul.

I’ll worship Your holy Name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul, worship His holy Name.

Sing like never before, O my soul.

I’ll worship Your holy Name.

Joy in the Face of Adversity

Philippians 4:4 – 5 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.“

The refugees at OTC presented their stories, their songs, and their art with joy and resilience that is a true testament to hope that never fades. Their creativity and perseverance is in opposition to those who once tried to take it away. 

 

American FRRME’s Mission of Hope, Help, and Healing
 

American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (American FRRME) is a U.S.-based Christian charity that aims to bring hope, help and healing in the Middle East, assisting Iraqi Christian refugees and other religious minorities.

American FRRME works to support the ongoing needs of Iraqis – primarily Christian Iraqis – who fled Iraq and Kurdistan during the ISIS insurgency in 2014. The organization supports those displaced within Iraq many of whom remain living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Baghdad and northern Iraq, as well as supporting those who fled to neighboring Jordan. 

Working in partnership with churches in Iraq and Jordan, American FRRME is on the ground, providing food, clothing, education and more. In 2019 we established the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan. The center provides a safe and accessible place for Iraqi refugees to gather together and celebrate their culture together. Crucially, the center provides education and therapeutic activities including English classes, sewing, art and music, along with a mosaic and wood workshop and fresh produce garden.