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Our Discovery Trip

Updated: May 25


The borders of Jordan remind me of an angel.

We were frustrated because our move to Jordan was not progressing. When we first heard from the Lord in the month of June that He wanted us to move to Jordan, we assumed we would be gone within six months. That didn’t happen for a lot of reasons. Al was crippled because of his arthritic hip, and I had an asthmatic bronchial disorder that almost killed me. There were many other details as well, but after we regained our health, it boiled down to money.


It takes a lot of cash just to move to another city or state, let alone around the world. There were several repairs that our house needed before we could put it on the market, and then there was the question of how to separate the household goods we wanted to take with us from the things we wanted to sell. The logistics just wouldn’t work.


We knew that, unlike others who had moved to Aqaba, Jordan, we could not simply dispatch our worldly goods in a metal shipping container and fly over without having seen the city where we were moving. We needed to “get the lay of the land” so to speak, take a discovery trip. We had to see what goods were available to purchase there and what was not so we could decide whether to buy there or ship it from the US. Having no idea what apartments looked like or rented for, we felt we had to look at what was available. Climate, culture, and safety were also a concern. We needed to have a plan in advance. But that meant spending several thousand dollars for plane tickets and living expenses while we were there. Our friend Carl told us we needed a minimum of three weeks for our discovery trip. It helped that he and his wife insisted we stay with them.


So we waited on the Lord.

***

Our extended family had eight birthdays during the months of January and February. I decided to invite everyone to our house for one big birthday party on the last Sunday in January 2018. Our son Aaron and his wife Brandy came a little early before everyone else got there. They sat us down at the dining room table and said they wanted to talk with us about something.


Several months previously, they had moved from Arizona to a little town in Texas where they bought a two-story, 124-year-old house to fulfill their dream of totally renovating a vintage home. I’m talking taking it down to the studs, having to square it up from the foundation, eliminating the years of vermin, insects, maybe a little mold, and restoring everything---modernizing it in the process. Aaron wanted to treat it like a university to learn building skills.


Obviously, the house was not going to be livable for many months (Aaron guessed about six). As it turned out, it was a hair over two years before the city inspector cleared it for occupancy. They still have a year to go before it begins to resemble the home they envisioned.


Soon after they bought their house and were living temporarily in a motel, the Lord miraculously introduced them to a couple who invited them to come live with them (their children in tow) for as long as it took to move into their own home. The couple had a vintage house with five bedrooms just a few blocks from Aaron and Brandy’s “Big White House” (BWH) as they dubbed it. Brandy was a remote employee with a publishing company and could work from anywhere in the world, so she set up her computer in one of their rooms. She earned the money for living expenses; Aaron saved money by doing many hours of work every day at the house instead of hiring construction laborers. He knows every secret of the BWH---he has crawled around in it from the foundation to the attic.


Brandy had worked for her company for quite a few years and was a valued employee. Because of that, she enjoyed a generous bonus in 2017. One night she felt the Lord telling her to give us some money from that windfall towards making our discovery trip to Jordan. She didn’t say anything to Aaron; she just kept it in her heart. Within a few days, he approached her with the idea of giving us that money for the very same reason. They had never talked about it before.


When they sat us down before the birthday celebration and told us what they wanted to do, Al was exuberant. “Oh, thank you guys so much!”


My response was the opposite. I said, “No way. God is going to provide the money for us to go, but He is not going to tap our kids on the shoulder.”


Aaron narrowed his eyes at me. “We knew you would be the hard sell, Mom. You’re so independent.”


“I don’t care. Parents should help their children---not the other way around. Besides, you kids have a lot of expenses with your new house. You should put that money on its needs.”


Together they disagreed. ”This is God’s money,” they said. “We are to designate it to His work.”


“I’ll think about it. But He’s going to have to call me on the phone or send me a letter in my mailbox.” I was adamant.


The party was a great success. Al and I didn’t say a word to anyone else about Aaron and Brandy’s offer.

***

Two days later, on Tuesday, our daughter Alisa called and said she and her husband Michael wanted to come from Tulsa to visit us and talk about something. We thought it was odd since they had just been in our home for the party, but, of course, we were happy to say, “Come on down.” Circumstances prevented us from getting together until Friday. I had lunch on the table when they arrived. After eating, we heard Mike’s story.


He had suffered a stroke about two and a half years earlier which had affected his speech. His intellect was intact, but he had trouble expressing himself, so he asked Alisa to act as interpreter in case he used the wrong word.


The previous Monday night, a day after the party, he was trying to sleep. He had several physical problems which prevented him from getting an uninterrupted night’s rest. That night he was wide awake about 2:30 am when a thought came to him. I don’t know whether he attributed it to God, but it was another out-of-the-box experience. The thought was, Al and Anita are going to need money to go to Jordan. I should give them X amount of dollars.

Mike was not stingy, but he was careful with his money. There had never been an occasion where he had given us money or even thought to give us money that I know of. Certainly not a large amount. The check he handed us was almost exactly the same amount that Aaron and Brandy offered, and together, the total would more than cover our trip. Because this was so unusual, it seemed to have God’s fingerprints all over it. I had to consider it seriously.


The fact that our daughter-in-law and son-in-law initiated these gifts impressed us. Our children were on board obviously, but sometimes people don’t have a good relationship with their children’s spouses. We are extremely grateful that we do. We consider them our bonus children and love them both very much.


God had spoken to our kids and bonus kids individually in the same time frame, and they had not consulted each other. In the end, I capitulated. I was very uncomfortable with it, but I relented. It felt like God had given me that phone call.


We were finally going to Jordan.

***

The week before we were set to fly out, we met with some dear Tulsa friends who we’ll call Bob and Trina. We probably hadn’t seen each other for more than a few minutes in at least the last twenty years. As it happened, we had met them briefly in the hall at the Oral Roberts University homecoming a year before and told them we were moving to Jordan. This meeting was the first time we had had a chance after that to sit down and spend time together.


As we ate lunch, Al and I told them the whole story from the night when the Lord said, “That’s where you’re going,” to present day. They rejoiced with us, and we left with promises to contact them when we returned. They were planning a trip to Israel the next spring and were eager to hear the account of our journey.


As we neared the restaurant door, Trina slipped an envelope into my hand. She had always been a greeting card person, and I was sure it was filled with good wishes for the trip of a lifetime and personalized, hand-written words of love. I nearly passed out when I saw the generous enclosed check. The Father had more than verified that we were supposed to go to Jordan.

***

We flew to Jordan and stayed from mid-November until the second week in December. Everything was so different from our life in the US. While the temperature in Oklahoma was heading toward the 40s, it was around 82° in the daytime in Aqaba and in the upper 60s at night. We slept with the windows open in December. It even rained a couple times while we were there. Jordan is the fourth most water-depleted country in the world. It gets two to four inches of rain annually in Aqaba, ten to eighteen inches in the northwestern area. Of course, the summers are miserable where temperatures are in the low 100s but can reach 120°.


We had been told that Aqaba was like 1950s America. We found that to be a fair assessment. There are no large shopping malls as we see in the United States, but we did visit a good-sized grocery store which had a basement level floor I would compare to a mini-Walmart. We looked at appliances, home décor items, health and beauty products, televisions, and a variety of other goods there that let us know we wouldn’t have to bring everything with us.


The next four blogs will analyze the main Scriptures that inform us that Jordan will be a place of safety in the end times. After that, we invite you to join us for the next several months as we unpack what we learned about this hot, dusty, desert country and azure waters of the Gulf of Aqaba.


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