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My name is Rawan Haddad. I was born and raised in the country of Jordan in a traditional Christian Orthodox family, though no one in my family had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My mother came to know Him when I was a young girl, and I began attending an evangelical church with her and my siblings. I enjoyed Sunday school and youth meetings, hearing the Word of God preached and understanding more of the Bible.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of fifteen. I felt His call at a youth meeting and made a decision of repentance to follow Him that evening. I continued to serve at the church with my mother for the next four years. It was there that I met Salah, my future husband. He was a seminary graduate and youth pastor, and we married in 2005.
Not long afterward, Salah became the pastor for this same church. We began to serve God as a family from 2007 to 2012 through our small congregation, surrounded by troubled youth and religious zealots, with 80% of the city’s population living in poverty. We worked hard to develop ministries for youth, women and men among this predominantly Muslim population.
We were blessed to be part of a revival that began in 2007, and we watched amazing things happen all around us. I received additional training through Arab Woman Today Ministries, embarking upon a two-year discipleship program focusing on the emotional and spiritual healing of marginalized women in Arab countries. What I did not know at the time was that God was preparing me for future ministry among Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
The Syrian war crisis displaced countless people from 2012 to 2013, multitudes of Syrians and Iraqis arriving at the Jordanian border in the desert. During that time, my husband and two sons and I left our city and our jobs and went to live in the desert of northern Jordan, close to the border of Syria. There, we would find ourselves ministering to and living among the largest number of refugees in the Middle East.
We witnessed firsthand the devastation and trauma wrought upon an entire country – so many losing their families, their homes, their livelihood, and even their opportunities for education. Our time there, from 2013 to 2017, was difficult. We experienced God’s grace and His spirit working in the midst of so much pain and darkness.
We arrived in America in 2017. Our years spent among refugees in Jordan nurtured a lifelong desire in me to continue this work in the United States. I found the avenue to do so with Tent Schools International! I thank God for giving me the language and counseling abilities to minister to the distressed, lonely, and sometimes traumatized victims of war and persecution, and I look forward bringing hope to more displaced families through access to education.
I would love to share my story and my work with Tent Schools International with you, your church, school or anyone working with refugees. Contact me by e-mail, or by phone at (616) 531-9102.