|Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan|
Area 89,206 sq.km. Agriculture and population is concentrated on the eastern bank of the River Jordan. Most of the country is desert.
Capital Amman 1,575,000. Urbanites 79%.
With the massive transit of Palestinians, Iraqis and Kuwaitis in the past decades, no precise figures exist.
Arab 97.1%. Palestinian, East Bank Jordanian.
Jordanian Minorities 1%. Adygei (Circassian), Armenian, Kurd, Turkomen, Chechen.
Non-Jordanians 1.9%. Egyptian, Greek, Western, Pakistani, other Arab.
Literacy 86%. Official langauge Arabic. All languages 8. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1NT 2por 1w.i.p.
The geo-politics of the past 60 years have hindered economic development. Over a quarter of families live in poverty. Main income sources: tourism, phosphates, chemicals and fruit. Unemployment 22%. HDI 0.715; 94th/174. Public debt 104% of GNP. Income/person $1,520 (4.8% of USA).
Part of Turkish empire until 1918. Independent from Britain in 1946. Constitutional monarchy with King Abdullah having executive powers. Political and military turmoil in the Middle East has profoundly affected life due to loss of land, influx of refugees and economic disruption. Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank area, but more than half of its present population are Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship. The government resists pressure for greater Islamization. Future relationships with Israel are an important political issue.
Islam is the state religion, but the constitution prohibits discrimination and promotes the free exercise of religious belief and worship, while prohibiting the proselytism of Muslims. Persecution Index 69th in the world.
1 The passing of the throne from King Hussein, the quintessential Arab moderate, to his son Abdullah in 1999 was a smooth transition, but difficulties lie ahead. The hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Palestine, Iraq and Kuwait have intensified economic and political stress. Pray for the peace of this land and for the King and government. Pray for the preservation of religious freedom amidst the rising extremism of some Muslims. This nation is a centre for many Christian activities and ministries, and much Christian work in the Middle East would suffer were a setback to occur in Jordan.
2 The Christian community has suffered a numerical freefall in the past decades, due to lower birth rates, high rate of emigration, influx of Muslim refugees and the rise of politicized Islam. From 1970-2000 Jordan's Christian population dropped by ½ from 5.5 to 2.75% of the population. Still, Christians are found in all walks of life and often in positions of great influence. Both the Catholic and Orthodox Christians are an important component of Jordanian society. Pray that Christians may be salt and light in Jordanian society, and may find ways to witness to nominal Christians as well as non-Christians.
3 Evangelical churches are experiencing encouraging growth, more than doubling in the 1990s. There are over 40 churches and several more house groups where the 12,000 evangelicals meet. Most conversions are from the nominal Christian community, but recently more Muslims are discovering Jesus, the Lamb of God. The relationships between the traditional and evangelical churches and Muslim background believers are guarded. Pray that all Jordanian believers might work together to make Jesus Christ known.
4 The constant loss of leadership potential through emigration is a drain on the body of believers. Lay leadership is virtually non-existent, and only 20% of churches have a full-time pastor. But through several agencies, TEE courses and the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, more Arab leaders are being trained for service in Jordan or in the wider Arab world. Youth work and Christian camp ministries by Manara and others have been fruitful in recent years; a strategic ministry considering that 50% of Jordan's population is younger than 15. Pray for more Jordanian believers to be called to full-time work.
5 Foreign missionaries have limited ministry opportunities because of the sensitive religious and political situation. Twenty or more agencies are involved in a wide range of activities, often supporting and enhancing the national church. Jordan also hosts a language school wherein many learn Arabic for their service in the Arab world. Pray that these expatriates' lives may commend the Lord Jesus and gain witness opportunities. Pray that the Jordanian church might experience growth in mission vision.
6 The unreached comprise the vast majority of the population. There is great openness to the gospel; 35% of Jordanians are interested in learning more about Jesus. Pray that every Jordanian may have opportunity to hear the gospel. Pray especially for:
a) The Muslim majority. Many have still not heard the clear gospel. Pray for a sensitive witness to Muslims. There have been several successful methods: literature, media ministry, friendship evangelism, development programmes, home meetings and camps. Pray for the protection of converts amidst persecution. Pray also for the legal right to convert from Islam.
b) The millions of Palestinians who are now a majority in Jordan. Many have been integrated into Jordanian life, others suffer from disillusionment, bitterness and frustration which only the Man of Calvary can heal.
c) Iraqi refugees. Since the Gulf War, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled their country to Jordan. Christian work among them (CMA and several other churches, WVI, TEAR Fund) is experiencing a very good response. Iraqi Christians are benefiting from the training and resources available to them in Jordan.
e) People of many nationalities present in Jordan. Saudi and Gulf Arabs visit for the summer. Sri Lankans, Filipinos and Egyptians come to work. Agygei and Chechens form proud minorities. Pray that they all may encounter the gospel while in Jordan.
7 In recent years there has been increasing interest in outreach to the majority community and the development of house churches. Pray that believers may catch a vision for a church in the home a key for the expansion of the Church.
8 The ministry of media. Jordan's circumstances enhance the importance of radio, television, videos, films and literature. Arabic programmes from FEBA-Seychelles (18 hours/week), TWR-Cyprus (10.2 hours/week) and High Adventure have had a significant effect. Satellite television is having a large impact SAT-7 programmes are being viewed across the country. The JESUS film is available in Adygey, Colloquial Egyptian and Standard Arabic. Pray for long-term fruit.
9 Literature in Arabic is becoming more widely available. There are three Christian bookstores in Amman. They are the focal point of a successful Bible and Christian literature ministry in which The Bible Society, Carmel Mission, Agape and Manara are actively involved.
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