AMMAN, JORDAN, November 8, 2017 – His Majesty King Abdullah II on Tuesday welcomed a delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in the capital city of Amman. The meeting capped three days of meetings between Delegation members and senior government officials; Evangelical, Catholic and Muslim leaders in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and a moving visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the Syrian border.
After similar successful meetings last week in Cairo with President el-Sisi, senior Egyptian Cabinet Ministers and religious leaders – both Islamic and Christian — as part of a regional tour, the Delegation flew to Amman on Sunday to build bridges of friendship and understanding with Jordanian leaders.
Delegation members expressed their appreciation for King Abdullah II’s impressive efforts in advancing security and stability, and for his compassion and that of the Jordanian people. They also expressed gratitude for the King’s consistent efforts to foster dialogue and understanding among various faith communities.
“His Majesty King Abdullah II is America’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally, and a man of peace,” said New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, an Evangelical and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who convened and led the delegation. “When my wife and I met with His Majesty last year, he asked us to bring a Delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders back to Jordan and we readily agreed. Nowhere in the Arab world are Christians safer than in Jordan. By God’s grace, the King has created an oasis of stability amidst a sea of fire. This is a model of moderation the American people need to know more about.”
On Monday evening, the Evangelical leaders met with His Royal Highness Prince Hassan, brother of the late King Hussein and grandson of the late-King Abdullah I, the nation’s first monarch. The Prince, who brought several Catholic leaders with him, shared personal anecdotes of the early years of the country and leadership qualities he has observed in his brother and grandfather. He spoke of “the Jordan ethic” of hospitality and compassion that has resulted in the accommodation of so many refugees. It was a special and, at many points, humorous evening that was a blessing to the Delegation.
The Americans were able to experience the “Jordan ethic” first-hand during a visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the city of Mafraq that provides housing for 80,000 Syrian individuals and families. Since 2011, Jordan has taken in some two million refugees, making up 25 percent of the national population and accounting for one-fourth of the national budget. Despite no oil wealth and limited resources, Jordan is providing these refugees humanitarian support, jobs and educating their youth in order to reduce their vulnerability to recruitment into extremist ideology.
“I believe God is blessing Jordan because they have been so generous to the poor and the suffering,” said Rev. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. “And while I’m grateful the American people are doing more than any nation in the world to help Jordan financially during this crisis, it’s critical that the rest of the world stand with the people and leaders of Jordan in their hour of need.”
On the first day of their visit, the group was briefed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lt.-General Mahmoud Freihat, and other senior military officials at Jordan’s Central Command headquarters.
The Delegation was also received by Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who expressed his deep appreciation of Washington’s generous financial and military support of the Kingdom, and President Trump’s commitment to reach a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. They also discussed how to expand Christian tourism to Jordan, which has many Biblical sites, including the Baptismal Site of Jesus, Mount Nebo, Petra, and cities of the Decapolis.
“King Abdullah and President el-Sisi are to be applauded for exemplifying moderation and stability in a neighborhood scarred by intolerance and war,” said former congresswoman Michele Bachman. “These men are courageously confronting the forces of terror and extremism. They’re committed to their nation’s peace treaties with Israel. And they want to work even more closely with the United States to advance peace in the region. These are impressive leaders and they need our America’s appreciation and full support.”
In a separate meeting, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, His Excellency Imad Fakhoury focused on the critical economic and financial challenges facing Jordan. The wars in Iraq and Syria and the resulting refugee crisis are placing enormous pressure on the nation’s budget and host communities across the country. He, too, expressed appreciation for the continued U.S. aid to Jordan supporting national reform and development programs resulting from the Syrian Crisis.
On the final day of their visit, the Delegation visited the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS). They met with Major General (ret.) Imad Maayah, president of the Evangelical Synod of Jordan; Dr. Imad Shehadeh, the JETS president; Captain Emad Kawar, the seminary’s board chair; and three dozen Jordanian Evangelical pastors and ministry leaders for a roundtable discussion about how to strengthen the Church in Jordan. The Delegation was deeply appreciative of the opportunity to meet with their brothers and sisters, listen to their prayer requests, and hear their hopes and dreams for the future.
Members of the Delegation to Jordan hosted by Joel C. Rosenberg included former U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Center; Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Florida; Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team; Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor at .Skyline Church in California; Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications in Texas; and Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader in Iowa. (Also joining us were several wives and two of my sons, Jacob and Jonah.)
PHOTO #1: His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, wearing red tie) takes a group photo with our delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman.
PHOTO #2: His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, head table) hosts a discussion with American Evangelical Christians. To his left is Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. To his right is his chief of staff.