Three things I've learned in Jordan that help me be a better Christian.
Stella Helterbrand with the volleyball team she coached in Jordan
Source: Stella Helterbrand
The Jordan project has been an awe inspiring, life changing experience for me. As I write this article, I have two months left in Amman, and it’s time to start reflecting on the previous eight months. During my time here, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows, wins and losses. Through it all, I have learned that the best way to deal with things is to focus on the positive and pull lessons from the negative. Having a positive outlook on living life in a different culture has helped me to fully appreciate and enjoy this wonderfully unique opportunity to serve in the Middle East.
Patience and Flexibility
In a culture where things are taken one day or one step at a time, this is a valuable lesson. There are many examples of this I can share, but here’s just one: Upon arrival at the school, the office I was in did not have any office equipment or adequate furniture. Thankfully, over the course of a few days all the items necessary for me to work were provided. I’ve learned to be flexible and patient; especially when dealing with those I work with and am around on a regular basis. Being able to remain patient and flexible has helped me to have a better understanding of others, enjoy Jordan to the fullest and build character.
Understand, Appreciate, Respect
Living in Jordan is completely different than living in America, and being able to understand, appreciate and respect the culture provides a better picture of the people and their country. Little things one would never think of being an issue can create quite a bit of conversation around the water cooler. For example, let’s say you’re a single American female, you’re friends with a single Jordanian male, and he offers to drive you home, to the store or dinner. In the States, you wouldn’t think anything of this: just two friends hanging out. In Jordan, however, a number of consequences may follow—you may be thought of as dating, you may become a “prize” to him, and his friends may tell him if they see you with someone else. Knowing little things like this and adapting your behavior and thinking will help you understand, appreciate and respect this unique culture.
Keep My Light Shining Bright
There are daily challenges in life no matter where you are, and it is essential to keep your light shining bright. Being able to take daily situations, big or small, and pull a positive lesson out of them has helped me in trying to keep my light shining bright. I’ve learned there are little things I do that say so much about how I am feeling. Knowing this, putting more thought into my actions and listening to others has helped in keeping my light shining bright. Having been put in some amazing, interesting and trying situations, I’ve had to remember not to let the light go out. Also, while serving others and trying to make a difference for those individuals, I am working on personal growth.
There are way more than three lessons I’ve learned serving in this amazing country, but these are the three that have helped me the most. One never knows where life’s road will lead or what tomorrow will bring, but building character today will help for tomorrow. Living life with flexibility and patience; understanding, appreciating and respecting where you are and keeping your light shining bright will help you set your mind on the most important relationship of all.