Jordan church celebrates new season of growth after reopening
Ashrafieh Church of the Nazarene in Jordan closed its doors for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, on Pentecost Sunday, the church was able to hold its first in-person service since March 2020, which has given new life to the congregation’s ministries.
The Pentecost Sunday service saw a packed house with people eager to worship the Lord together for the first time in more than a year. Lead Pastor Khalil said more than 400 people packed the sanctuary and overflowed onto the balconies.
“Twenty-five people gave their lives to Christ with tears in their eyes,” Khalil said. “I invited them to come to the front, and they ran to the front to tell everyone they have repented and wanted to change their lives. They started to cry and we felt the Holy Spirit moving amongst his people.”
Khalil preached an encouraging message about the hope Christians have in Christ.
“In the Middle East, the news from here spreading to the outside is unfortunately always bad news about war, refugees, and people running from here to there,” Khalil said. “The whole area looks on fire and full of fear and trauma. But God put it in our hearts to stand in the midst and be the light. We have a message of hope and love. We need to stand and reflect His light and give hope for those who have lost theirs.”
Khalil and his church endured difficulties during the pandemic. The church serves nearly 800 refugee families who escaped wars in Syria and Iraq. The leaders had to get creative to reach them amid the pandemic.
“This was the biggest challenge: how to serve refugees and how to reach out, especially when some weeks we could not even move from our house,” Khalil said. “It was a total lockdown—no cars, no walking.”
When lockdowns eased, church members started to prepare food packages and meet with the refugees again to find out what their needs were. They fed families, paid rent for those who didn’t have the resources, and safely prepared food for those who were infected with COVID-19. Additionally, in their continued efforts to keep people healthy, they distributed medicine and vitamins.
Khalil and his family also turned their house into a church studio and held an online program every night. One of his daughters led the worship while the other daughter managed the audio engineering and filming; his wife advertised and marketed the services online.
“Every night when we start, we open with 100 people,” Halaseh said. “But when we close, we close with 500, [then] 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 people. It was something out of our imagination, but God opened that golden opportunity during that hard time for us to reach out and give that message of hope to everyone.”
Since holding their Pentecost service, Khalil and the rest of the staff at Ashrafieh have seen significant growth in attendance across the church, from youth services to Wednesday night prayer meetings. Khalil believes the Pentecost service has marked the beginning of a new season for Ashrafieh.
“When we started again on Pentecost Day, we declared the presence of God was there,” Khalil said. “Because of the lockdowns, people were down and disappointed. They had fear in their hearts and they were not happy, nor could they be pleased. But after the Pentecost, it seems that the season is finished and a new one has started. I praise God for the new season He has made.”