Marbaha! Kiif Alik? Ismee Lois.
My name is Lois Dana and I am a 4th year student in the Bachelor of Religious Education Intercultural Studies program at Heritage College & Seminary. This past year I participated in the CrossTraining program that is a required component of my degree. I spent the first semester in the city of Calgary taking practical classes relating to cross-cultural work and interning in an Arab congregation in preparation for the second semester that I spend in Amman, Jordan.
A few weeks ago I returned home from my four month internship in Amman, which is the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I was deeply blessed by my time there. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes; the opportunities, the people, the music and the culture make my heart beat faster. Ilhandullila! Praise God!
In Jordan, the Father gave me vision. I was not blind before, but He showed me His work and how I can be a part of it. One of my main involvements during my internship was volunteering at the Center of Hope, a center for teenagers with special needs. These teenagers came from both the Majority and Minority background – most of them were from poorer Palestinian refugee families. The programs and classes were all in Arabic, making me feel that I was one of the students and not the teacher. Being called “Ms. Louis” was an honour, yet I am not sure I deserved the title or liked my name being mispronounced.
The director and founder of the center, a wonderful believing lady, threw many original tasks to me. I did everything from helping students learn how to tie their shoe laces, filling in and teaching music class, to leading an exercise class for local women who wanted to lose weight. The exercise class was for me a new experience and one the Lord used to get me out of my comfort zone. Working alongside teachers from the Majority belief offered me an extra challenge. How can I live out my love for the Son in a way that will speak volumes? Many times I talked to the Father saying, “Father be in me, live in me, that they may know you. Open their eyes Father.”
Being involved in the CrossTraining program through Heritage helped me to prepare both my mind and heart for this trip. I was not taught how to specifically do the tasks at the Center of Hope, but I was prepared in deeper ways. I was taught about cross-cultural communication. I learned language learning techniques. I learned about the importance of spiritual disciplines and developing relationships with the local people. I was able to learn more about myself; am I time, task, or people oriented? How do I react when new tasks are thrown at me?
Ilhandullila! I praise God, for this past year! The opportunities to serve are countless, yet I know that the Father has touched my heart through the Arab people and given me a heart that beats fast for them. As I finish my final year here at Heritage, I wait in anticipation for what God has in store for me.
Lois Dana, Rivière-Rouge, Quebec