By Mark Ellis
Caleb Scott and Ben Drolet will be juniors next year at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. While some students may have chosen to surf the waves in Malibu during their summer vacation, these two Jesus-followers decided to minister to Syrian refugees in northern Jordan for almost six weeks.
As International Studies majors, they had been following the warfare in Syria and the tragic plight of refugee families victimized by the crisis. “We wanted to be part of the solution,” Caleb says.
They emailed several ministries working with refugees and a Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Mafraq, Jordan was the first to respond to the young men’s inquiry. “They needed workers and asked us to come,” Caleb notes.
Weeks later they found themselves at the church, ideally located in the heart of the city, only eight miles from the Syrian border. While the al-Zaatari refugee camp – located nearby – holds 81,000 Syrian refugees, there are another 76,000 refugees in the city — essentially overflow from the camp.
Caleb and Ben helped distribute food boxes, medical supplies, mattresses, gas stoves, blankets and pillows. “When we delivered the food we would drink tea with them and share about Jesus,” Caleb notes. “Many were very open to hearing about Jesus, especially because of the violence they’re seeing.”
“Two people told us we as Christians are doing more for them than their Muslim brothers,” he adds.
Caleb met one Bedouin nomad’s family with 20 children. “I met with them every week and they were excited to hear Bible stories,” Caleb says. “The father would not let us start telling the stories until everyone in the family was there.”
“We told Old Testament stories that point to Jesus, like Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. They haven’t decided about Jesus yet, but they are close,” he says.
In addition to handing out supplies, the church is very invested in the community. They also started a pre-school for the refugees, provide English classes for older students, sewing classes, and a sports ministry.
While Caleb saw goodness and beauty in his journey, he also saw brokenness everywhere. “It gave me more exposure to the life of a missionary. It broke my heart also.”
“Jesus is the only one who can bring light into these dark places.”