As you recall in my last blog, I was listening to an interview on a website touting a tour to Jordan. I was minding my own business and leaning into the interview when a clear, almost matter-of-fact sentence entered my mind: “That’s where you’re going.”
I sucked in my breath sharply. My eyes widened. Jordan? We weren’t even looking at the other side of the world. And even if we had been, we would just as soon have considered Siberia as Jordan. It was not on our radar.
When my heart stopped galloping, I reined it in and said, “Well, Lord, If this is Your assignment of where we are to go, You’re the One Who will have to tell Al. It needs to come from You.”
There were two other interviews, and I listened to them---other people who lived in Aqaba at the southernmost tip of Jordan and the northern end of the Red Sea/Gulf of Aqaba. One lady in particular quoted Scripture after Scripture describing modern-day Jordan as a place of safety. It was extremely interesting, but I was still stunned from the voice of God.
Because I am a night person and Al goes to bed soon after sundown, I often left things on the computer for him to read or listen to. The next morning, I said on the way out the door to work, “I left a website up. There is a radio interview or two you might be interested in.”
That afternoon when I got home, I came to the kitchen, which is a walk-through. I stood at the south end of the room, and Al came to the north door. He hadn’t called me at work. I didn’t know if he had listened to the interviews or not. Looking at him, my eyebrows arched with a question.
“We’re going to Jordan,” he said with wonder in his voice.
“That’s what I hear.”
Looking back, it is almost amusing to evaluate how the Lord spoke differently to Al and me. I love mountains, flowers, greenery. That’s why I was attracted to Ecuador and Costa Rica as our destinations. The desert is my least favorite climate. The Father knew He had to emphatically, unmistakably tell me where He was sending us because I would not choose Jordan. I have never second-guessed whether He spoke to me. I know He did. If He had not, I would have never put Jordan together with our search. It does not matter whether I like the desert; all that matters is His will.
Al, on the other hand, listened intently to the interviews---especially the one where a lady talked about all the Scriptural references of Jordan’s being a place of safety during the tribulation. He put together her interview with our search for where to emigrate from the US. He weighed the benefits such as a low cost of living, a refuge in the end-times, the fact there were already like-minded people there. He analyzed it and came to the conclusion that we should move there.
There is no way I would have come to that deduction. I am not analytical. As most women, I operate by feelings. God made a big impression on my feelings.
Regardless of how we arrived at our conclusion, Al and I finally knew where God wanted us to go. He had given us a two-year lead time to do research before releasing what He desired us to do. We would have been overwhelmed if He had announced in 2014, “I want you to go live in Jordan.”
We had a steep learning curve if we were to know more about this country. I hardly knew where to start. It seemed like a good idea to email the person who had interviewed the American ex-pats and Jordanians on her website. She responded that she was leaving to do a series of meetings for the next few weeks but asked if I would be interested in contacting one of the people she interviewed.
Would I! That was more than I hoped for. Maybe we could get some answers to why God would call anyone to Jordan.
She cleared it with someone I will call Carl who had lived there for about twenty years. He happened to be in the States and not too far away. He allowed her to give me his email. I emailed him and followed-up with a phone call. He and his wife Angie (not her real name) were willing to meet us half way, so we set a time and place and spent an afternoon together asking and answering questions.
I was amazed at how quickly Al and I moved from, “Who would want to go to Jordan?” to “Let’s start learning about this country where God is sending us.” We bought books on the culture and history of this desert country and set about learning everything we could cram into our brains. We binge-watched YouTube videos. We became familiar with the psychology of the Arab mind, the Middle East cuisine, the outlook of this most moderate of the Islamic countries. We even bought a DVD of Lawrence of Arabia. It had been more than twenty years since we first viewed it on the big screen, and there Lawrence sat on his camel galloping across our small screen in the living room.
We thought we would be leaving the US within six months. Our life suddenly revolved around this country that we had scarcely been aware of only a few weeks before. We talked of nothing else. Meeting with both of our adult children, we revealed what God had told us. It was a bit much to take in the fact that your septuagenarian parents were not going to while away their golden years on the front porch gazing at the cattle in a nearby pasture. Leaving everything and everyone they had ever known to live on the other side of the world was not what people of golden years usually did. But they were excited for us and our new adventure. It felt as though everything that had happened in our life had been for this purpose---although we were a bit unclear as to what the fullness of this purpose was.
Then reality set in.
For several years, Al’s right hip had grown progressively more painful until the arthritis plaguing the joint made walking an excruciating proposition. He limped, then hobbled, then agonizingly pulled himself along with two canes. The next step---a wheelchair---was beckoning him to change his mode of transportation very soon.
How in the world could he make a twelve-hour plane trip? How could he navigate to move into an apartment? How could he help unpack and set up our new home? How could he even make his way outside our abode into an unfamiliar world?
We finally came to the realization that something big would have to happen before we could go. One of two things: God would have to heal him or he would have to get a hip replacement. We had already checked out the hip replacement route. The Veterans Administration would pay for the procedure, but the VA had only one procedure they approved, and it had 40,000 failures. Al wasn’t interested in that. He wanted a relatively new procedure he researched that involved an anterior incision. It gave a much shorter recovery time and had few failures. The VA wouldn’t cover the cost.
But two years after we learned where we were going, the president of the United States, whom we did not care for at all, made one good decision (in our opinion). He decreed that if a veteran lived more than thirty miles from a VA hospital and needed surgery, he could choose his own doctor and procedure. We jumped at the chance to give Al a working leg and contacted the physician in Tulsa who had done more of the procedures than anyone in the state.
In July 2017, Al underwent the surgery and within six months was almost as good as new. He could walk better within a month than he had in years. Hallelujah! Put away the canes.
But. . .there was the matter of fifty years of accumulation of “worldly goods.” I learned the fine art of pack-rattery from my dear mother. When we downsized her home, I held five estate sales before we could bring it down to the few possessions she took with her into assisted living. Besides all my stuff, I had a lot of hers. I am so sentimental that I can’t get rid of anything that someone I love gave me---or even touched. It’s a sickness.
I didn’t know how we would figuratively get our arms around the massive collection of things we gathered about us the past half century and get it re-homed. I was still working, and frankly, I was the one who had to make the decisions about “donate, trash, sell, or keep.” There wasn’t a lot of quality time to do that after a hard day’s work, so months ticked by, and nothing happened.
We wanted to make a discovery trip to Jordan before moving, but that seemed impossible financially until. . .