We got our residence permit renewed!
As many of you know we have to renew our residence yearly here in Jordan. As with any government process you must submit a lot of documents, visit several different government offices and then wait. After spending so many years living in post-soviet countries where bureaucracy is stifling and corruption is rampant In contrast going through the process here seems very easy and even pleasant at times. Of course the only similarity is you never know if your residence/visa will be renewed. If you remember I asked for specific prayer regarding our renewal due to a recent government “crack down” on churches and foreigners in the country. All that to say we are thankful to have our residence cards in hand and are grateful we have at least another year here in Jordan.
What are we doing?
The yearly renewal is a good wake up call for me each year and causes me to re-evaluate our ministry here and whether or not we are being as effective as we can to reach our goal of planting a church. During our 8 years of ministry in Kyrgyzstan we faced the same yearly and sometimes even biannual and quarterly visa renewal process. Although it was a real pain, the constant reality that we did not know how long we could stay in the country (maybe some of you remember that I was even deported at one point) forced us to pour ourselves into raising up and training future leaders as best we could. If the church is dependent on us and isn’t given a foundation that can be built on once we are gone then we have failed. Please continue to pray that local leaders be trained and raised up and that the church would have a strong foundation so that it would continue without us.
Teacher skills forum conference
Next weekend Melanie will be going down to the Dead Sea for two days to teach a workshop. Every year the Queen of Jordan holds an international teacher skills forum and this year Melanie will be teaching a workshop entitled “Successful Teaching Practices in the inclusive classroom”. Teachers attend from all over Jordan, the Middle East, Europe, and the US. Pray that Melanie would have great success and that, like Joseph, everyone would know it’s because the Spirit of God is in her! I’m super proud of her hard work and we believe the position she has at her school is to be a light for Jesus. Pray for Melanie’s students, coworkers, parents of students, and supervisors! Pray that they would be saved and that Melanie would have an ever widening door of opportunity in theirs lives for the gospel.
Work is coming along on our building. We recently had 6 guys from two churches in Wisconsin come and build a boat themed playground in our Jonah themed kid’s room. It turned out very nice. The kids love it and last night one of the local neighborhood kids said “bye boat, I’m going to miss you”. Haha! Anyway, we love being able to bless the community and the majority of kids that attend weekly are not saved and from come from unbelieving families. Pray that the building would be a place of light, love, and proclamation of the gospel. Pray that we would have great favor in the community and with the government. Most of all pray that people be saved!
Our family is doing well. Melanie, as mentioned, is still working full-time teaching. Pray for strength as her schedule is taxing and she ministers in a hard environment at the school. I (Paul) am excited to not be working so much on the building as that has taken a majority of my time the last few months and focus again on people. We are praying to start bible studies in several different parts of the city and do small group discipleship equipping. The kids are all doing well. Titus was in the emergency room last week with a concussion from playing soccer at school. He is fine, thankfully. I think we have been in at least 4 different hospitals with him since we moved here. Every time we visit the hospitals here we still can’t believe how nice the medical care is compared to the places we lived before coming to Jordan. So we are thankful for that. Nehemiah turned 10 last week. He is growing up fast! He is a people person and goes with Grace every week to watch the smaller kids during our women’s bible study and loves it. Timothy is off his strict diet and is loving eating everything. We haven’t noticed the negative effects we saw before when he ate certain foods so we are thankful to not have him on such a demanding diet. It has relieved a lot of stress for our family. Judah and Grace are their usual happy twin selves. All of them continually surprise Melanie and I how well they are doing in school an specifically Arabic. I wish I was as good as they are in the language! Please pray for all of them that they grow to love our Savior and that they understand and experience our Savior’s love for them. Pray that Melanie and I would have the grace to disciple them in following Jesus and that our example would be genuine and real.
Paul and Melanie Billings