Vassula's First Visit to Jordan, October 12th 2000
Jesus told Vassula that when she is invited to a new country, it is because He is sending her there to bring His message. So it was Jesus who wished His message to be known in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan this year. Mrs. Samia Marroum, from Jerusalem, was inspired to begin to share the True Life in God message in Jordan last summer. The idea of a meeting in Jordan was born. Confirmation came from Vassula that a meeting in Jordan would be possible on October 12th 2000 following on from her meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 8th 2000. On this Middle Eastern visit Vassula would be accompanied by the Greek Orthodox Archimandrite from New York, Eugene Nicolau and the Armenian Orthodox Bishop from Lyon, Armen Zakarian - both of whom also attended the TLIG International Conference in Bethlehem earlier this year.
Little was known in Jordan of the message True Life in God and Vassula's mission and so much work had to be done. No one had come forward in Jordan to help Samia, living in Jerusalem, so she turned to Erwin, an Austrian TLIG friend there, for help. He in turn asked if I could also help. While wondering how I could help with a meeting in Jordan, where I'd never been and didn't speak the language - Arabic - I opened the Bible and read "Be compassionate to the widow......." This made me smile as Samia is a widow, and so that was it, Jesus had His team!
The population of Jordan is approximately 5 million. About 1.7 million live in Amman, the capital. Islam is the predominant religion with Christians comprising about 4% of the population. The Christian denominations include Greek and Syrian Orthodox, Melkites, Roman Catholics, Copts, Maronites, Armenian Orthodox and the various Protestant Churches. Two working visits to Amman were planned. We compiled dossiers in French and English outlining; Vassula's mission, the True Life in God message, the 600+ meetings to date in over 55 countries, the testimonies of eminent theologians regarding the messages, the TLIG bibliography to date - including books by theologians, Cardinal Ratzinger's comments since the notification of 1995, the Pope's favourable comments regarding TLIG etc. We ordered TLIG books and thanks to the help and lateral thinking of Halina, Anne and Bernard in England the large order arrived in Tel Aviv on time! We also gathered up all the Arabic TLIG books that we had, and ordered more from Lebanon. As no professional TLIG videotape was available in Arabic, we made lots of copies of a compilation tape in which we put together Vassula's interview on Israel's TV Channel One (1997) and the TLIG meeting in Haifa, Israel (1995), both of which had an Arabic translation. We printed flyers advertising the meeting which outlined the TLIG message and Vassula's mission in Arabic and English.
Our first visit started with a meeting of 15 - 20 women from Amman - outlining Vassula's mission and God's call to each one of us. We played some video clips and answered their many questions. Most of the group took some TLIG message books, magazines, videotapes etc.with them. We also distributed some dossiers and we hoped and prayed that they would go and evangelize among all their friends and families in Jordan. One of the women from this group, Victoria Bawab, came forward and offered to help in any way she could. She and her husband, Ahmad, helped immensely as we did not know Amman and needed some local expertise to advise and guide us. We learned that in advertising the meeting, that word of mouth would be the most effective and that in order to hold a public meeting of more than 10 people the Government Information Office and Security Sector would need to be informed and to give permission. There were many factors to consider.
We visited as many of the bishops and clergy of the various denominations in Amman as possible, including the Latin Bishop, the Greek Orthodox Bishop, the Papal Nuncio's Charge d'Affaires, the Melkites, the Maronites, the Armenians, and the Copts. The Protestant Churches were also invited to the meeting. We hoped to arrange short meetings for Vassula with the local religious leaders. This was so that she might explain to them firsthand the mission with which God has entrusted her. We left dossiers with all of them and some message books and books by theologians regarding TLIG and invited them all to attend the meeting. After the considerable time and energy that went into these visits, it was most disappointing to later receive word that none of those whom we met would receive Vassula. It was made clear to us also that it would not be possible to hold the meeting on church property. So, trusting in God, we struggled on in our search for a venue. Knowing that Jesus had probably already chosen a venue for the meeting....... we just had to find it! On our arrival at a possible venue - a hotel close to the centre of Amman, suggested by Samia, we felt a sense of peace and certainty almost immediately. This would be the venue - for which we were thankful and delighted! The hotel's conference room was attractive and ideal for the numbers (approximately 400) we expected to attend this, the first TLIG meeting in Jordan. We organized a professional video-recording of the meeting. Despite much effort, the difficulties involved in the setting up of a TV, radio or newspaper interview proved to be insurmountable. Undaunted however, we continued to spread news of the message and the meeting, trusting in Jesus, knowing if we did our best that He would do the rest!
The priority was to try to reach as many people as possible so flyers were left in shops, in schools in hotels and with the many people we met along the way. Everyone we met was to pass the word on to their network of family and friends. As a modus operandi it worked well. Among the many people we met were Armenian Christians - the Koubourian sisters - school principals - in one of the poorest areas of Amman. They were so happy to hear about Vassula and so enthusiastic and joyful to be receiving the messages for the first time. We left TLIG books, videotapes and dossiers with them. We also visited the Rosary Sisters' convents and were happy to find that some of the sisters had heard of TLIG and one sister had actually met Vassula in Jerusalem and was reading the messages. These sisters helped us in so many ways. As did Fr. Sadiq, a Greek Orthodox priest, whose help was invaluable in many things including the release of the Arabic books from Customs. We left volumes of the messages, dossiers and videotapes with the people we met and knew they would spread news of the messages and the meeting. As we returned from our second working visit to Jordan there was trouble in Jerusalem and a palpable tension in the air.
The week before the meeting, violence erupted in the Holy Land on a scale not seen in years - the situation was serious with clashes and flashpoints all over, as seen on TV worldwide. To be sure of getting to Amman for the meeting we had to cross into Jordan before Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) on October 9th, when the whole country literally shuts down for 24 hours closing all border crossings. Barbara Karasch, a TLIG friend from Germany, who had just arrived in the Holy Land, joined our team. So, with the car laden with the large order of TLIG books and the large icon-posters for the meeting we drove down the Desert Road from Jerusalem towards Jericho and the border crossing with Jordan - the Allenby Bridge, which spans the River Jordan. We had just passed the biblical site of the Inn of the Good Samaritan when we ran into trouble...... a large group of young Israeli settlers were stoning all passing cars that were not Israeli. Having a diplomatic plate on the car, we thought we might not be stoned - we were wrong. The group were watching us and we were their next target. A hail of rocks came flying towards the car. Praying silently, we accelerated past and were truly protected from heaven as somehow we got through taking just one hit on a front wheel.
Arriving in Amman, we got to work preparing the conference hall. The hotel staff, all young Muslim men, could not have been more helpful. Whatever requests we had for help - and our requests were many! - were received with a smile and such a willingness to help. They wanted to know about Vassula. They had read the flyer in the lobby and wanted to know more. Many were intrigued by the face of Jesus on the flyer and on the cover of the message books as they helped us prepare the bookstands and the hall - asking "Who is this?" Some of the staff came to listen during the meeting.
We met Vassula, Archimandrite Nicolau, and Bishop Zakarian at Ramtha - the border crossing with Syria - in northern Jordan. They had travelled from Beirut to Damascus the day before. Accompanying them were Isabelle and Jacques Gay from Switzerland and Fr. Ibrahim and Michel from Lebanon. Although we did not know it at the time, Fr. Ibrahim was to be be the translator for the meeting! The Pastor from Haifa who was to translate was unable to get to Jordan due to the violence in the Holy Land. So Jesus sent Fr. Ibrahim! En route to Amman we stopped at the ruins of an ancient town, the biblical site of Gadara, now called Umm Qais. [Matthew 8:28-34] We also passed Ajloun and one of Jordan's major attractions - Jerash.
At 5pm the Rosary Sisters led the Rosary in Arabic, with Fr.Hijazin, the Catholic Parish Priest from central Amman. About 380 people attended the meeting from the various Christian denominations in Amman and some Muslims too - from 3 year olds to those in their 70's. It was wonderful to see the hall filling up with all these people that Jesus brought downtown to hear His message. The choir we had hoped to have was not permitted to sing at the meeting. However, the arrival of Mezied - a TLIG friend from Galillee - ensured that the hall would resound with traditional Arabic hymns!
First to speak was Bishop Zakarian who spoke in French, in his gentle style. Some minutes into his talk all the lights and electrics in the conference hall blew out! We were left in darkness with only the light from the candles beside the icons of Jesus and Our Lady. When the electricity was restored, Bishop Zakarian explained that such things happen many times in Vassula's meetings and told us of his trip to Colombia and Venezuela with her, where she said to him on just such an occasion "Don't worry, the demon always puts obstacles on the path of my mission." He shared with us why it is that he travels with Vassula. It is because she encourages the faithful to return to their Churches and because she speaks of the unity of the Churches, he said.
Archimandrite Nicolau Archimandite Nicolau began his talk in his inimitable, eloquent style. He referred to the power blackout: "I want to say how happy I am to be here with you tonight and how happy I am that the demons are here. Because if we did not have the truth of God, they wouldn't be here to bother us! That's a sign, that we are hopefully doing God's work." He went on to invite all the little children present to come forward..... these are the 'flowers' he told us. Such a special, joyful scene to see the little children coming out and sitting right in front.
He then created for us a fascinating analogy of the child's life in it's mother's womb and our life here on earth - the rich imagery of which held us spellbound. In our mother's womb we were safe, warm, nurtured and we were happy. Then, at a certain time, the Lord came and said: 'Come forth and be born to a world greater than your mother's womb'. But we didn't want to leave our world, our microcosm, where we had everything we needed. Yet God kept on calling us to come forth and to experience all of the good things which He was offering us in this other world beyond our mother's womb. In the womb we could not understand so many things..... i.e. a world beyond our world...... but it did not mean that one didn't exist. When we do come out we are amazed, we are transfixed..... we smell, we hear, we taste, we touch..... and we forget the world of our mother's womb.
Continuing he said: "God has promised us a future life. He uses the words eternity, immortality, infinity, the glory of being face to face with God. These are words we cannot comprehend but it doesn't mean this doesn't exist. It exists! And Jesus came to tell us that. The flesh is temporary. It is the spirit that will live..... and you are spirit and I am spirit and we are all part of God. We have come from God, we pass through the flesh and we are returning to God. How we return is determined by you and me. He wants us to return to Him as perfectly as possible and he has sent us prophets and He has sent us His own Son. He has come in the flesh to release us from the flesh. Tonight's message is: God is speaking to you - He's always speaking to you."
He continued to say that most of us are listening to the world, to the secular things and that we need to change channels. And we need, in solitude and quiet, to listen to the transmission of God. "The children," he said, "are the best conductors of truth - because they have not lost the innocence.... you and I have lost innocence - the devil plays with us." Fr. Nicolau finished by asking those present to open their hearts, minds and ears........ "because you have to listen to her.....(Vassula)"
Vassula then began to speak and the anticipation of the audience was obvious. She explained that she has been receiving messages from God for almost 16 years now. To know everything in detail people need to read the books and she explained that when reading the messages we should take away Vassula's name and put in our own, as God is speaking to each one of us. She said that our Father in heaven tells us: "It is My Love letter to all of you." As He is our Father He also comes to reprimand us, and we deserve it, she said, because we are not living a true life in Him and what He asks for is our heart. He asks us for our heart because He can change our heart. She said to the people present: "If today you came here to decide for God, decide for Him before you leave this place." She explained how, if we do not abandon ourselves to God, He will not interfere because he respects our freedom. She reminded all present that: "Your home is not here, it is up in heaven!" As she reminded us of Jesus' promise of having rooms for each one of us in heaven and of how she was allowed to see this place - Paradise - in a vision, people listened attentively - their sense of wonder and awe was obvious.
Vassula then spoke a little in Arabic, of her birth in Egypt and background. There were smiles all around the hall. She continued, in English, to talk about love, that God is Love. The soul was created to love - to return the love to God. God is the source of an infinite love, His love is perfect. She said: "On Judgement Day, Jesus says in the message, each one of us will be judged according to the measure of the love we have had here on earth. So it is very important to live in the love of God. To go to heaven you have to deserve heaven. So all that you do in your life, God says, to deserve heaven should be done here on earth." To be able to love as God wants us to love, we have to die to ourselves. We have to ask and allow the Holy Spirit to transfigure our souls removing any 'blocks' (the passions which hold us to the earth) inside us, so that the Holy Spirit can fill us - and the Holy Spirit is Love. Then we will be walking with God because we will be doing His will and not our own will. This, Vassula said, is exactly where the message of True Life in God is leading us, because only by letting yourself be transformed will you know how to love your neighbour.
Then Vassula spoke of the early days with her angel Daniel, her purification and the approach of God the Father, of Whom she said; "When He spoke I heard Him and I believed and that's why I'm here, because when God speaks, God imprints His words in the soul. I can never forget them. I can never forget the presence of God." She stressed the importance of sincere confession - reminding us that in the message Jesus asks us to "repent with tears in your eyes." Continuing, she explained that many of us have formed a wrong image of God the Father. She told us what Jesus says about the Father;
My Father is a king, yet so motherly,
He is a Judge, yet so tender and loving.
He is the Alpha and the Omega, yet so meek.
We heard her story of praying the 'Our Father' until God was pleased with it. She told us how to pray so that our prayers reach heaven, summarising all in three points: 1) We need to empty ourselves through Confession and allow the Holy Spirit to change us. 2) We need to become intimate with God, always remembering that He is Holy. 3) We need to pray from our heart, by making a real image of a living God in front of us. Speaking of the importance of always remembering the presence of Jesus, she shared the 'We, us' meditation, which becomes a contemplative prayer because "you are always with Jesus and you become one - one spirit, one heart with Jesus." We learned how Jesus wishes us to pray without ceasing. It's a prayer without words, which leads us to detachment from the world because when we discover God and truly love Him we want to be in heaven already. Of course each of us has a mission here on earth - a mission that we must finish to glorify God, a mission we must carry out with love. Vassula then read some extracts from the messages including this one..... Jesus says:
Die to yourself so that My Holy Spirit can transfigure your soul from a desert into a garden, where in this garden I shall have My rest in you. If you allow My Holy Spirit to transfigure your soul into a palace, I shall be King in that palace and I will reign over you. If you allow My Holy Spirit to transfigure your soul, He can transfigure your soul into a paradise, into a heaven where in this heaven I shall be glorified. Lower your voice so that you are able to hear My voice Lower your head so that they see My head Lower yourselves entirely so that I shall be able to lift you.
Vassula explained how we need to be humble, to be nothing and that in our silence, in our peace we shall hear God. Then she continued to touch on the themes of Unity and Reconciliation. God asks us to reconcile if we've had any quarrels. She said: "Reconciliation shows the reflection of God inside us because the division is Satan - the divider - dividing families, friends, nations - Look what's happening! (ref. to the war nearby in Israel/Palestine). We are all created by the same Creator, by the same Father, they are brothers, yet they are fighting, massacring each other because there is hatred and hatred is satanic." She then read a message about that....... God says:
Sons and daughters, you are the offspring of the Most High. You descend from Sovreignity and Splendour. You belong to Us, the Trinity. You belong to Heaven. You are of Royal descent. So why, why do you listen to the Beast?(Satan) You are blessed in Our image not of the Beast's. You are all meant to walk in the Courts of the Mighty One. So allow Me to clothe you in My splendour. Open your heart and I shall save you. Anyone of you who turns to Me with the sole desire to please Me, with all My heart, yes, with all My heart I will grant him My favours. I will reveal My image of goodness so that they end their journey with Me.
Vassula said that Our Lady tells us that God does not punish, but that all the catastrophes, wars, sicknesses etc. come from us. Evil draws evil. If only goodness came out from the earth, goodness would return to the earth. Our Lord says that if only we had goodness inside us all these wars etc. wouldn't happen. She read one message from Our Lady on Unity and stressed that Our Lord is very severe when it comes to the division of the Churches. He desires unity. She highlighted also the great importance of the Eucharist in our lives and how Jesus told her:
......your bread will not last you forever, but My bread is forever.
Vassula then shared some more extracts from the messages including this one.......The Father says:
He who lives for Me will live with Me. He who loves his neighbour has already overcome the world and is well in the same footprints of My Son Jesus and is on his way to My Kingdom. Yes, anyone who lives in love lives a true life in Me. I am Your Father before your earthly father. Bind yourself to Me so you do not lose Me from your sight and dishonour yourself. Obey My principles but with a heart and not a rock. Resolve to do right for the rest of your life but with a taste of joy. Come and learn........ (June 18 1994)
Vassula briefly mentioned that she has lately been receiving messages on The Word of God. Jesus has told her that He will give her teachings about Grace. Everyone rose then to pray the Consecration to the Two Hearts. Vassula told us to pray with all our heart so that God would hear us. And it was truly prayed from the heart. She urged us to pray this prayer often in our homes and to remember that Our Lady can do great things in our families and in our countries. Vassula concluded by thanking God for His presence and for bringing us together. She told all present that it was not by chance that they came to the meeting. It was God who brought them to hear His message and to receive His graces. Jesus now leaves His message in Jordan, and the message should be read in a meditative way she said, stressing that we also need to live the message.
Fr. Nicolau then led a deeply moving prayer for peace: "As we are gathered here, the war is raging outside.... the war that we speak of the whole world knows tonight..... the war that rages in Palestine. With all those brothers and sisters, whether they be Christians, Jews or Muslims, we ask God to send His peace, to send His grace, to send His reconciliation, to send His healing presence to comfort those who are injured, to bring solace and peace to those who are hurt, to bring forgiveness to those who are angered..... This we ask in His Most Gracious Name." Then Fr. Nicolau, Bishop Zakarian and Vassula lit three candles..... symbolic of the Holy Trinity but also symbolic of Jordan, Israel and Palestine. An ancient Greek hymn was then sung. Then followed the Healing Prayer and the people came forward eagerly to be blessed. Finally, a joyful singing of 'Doxa, Doxa' concluded the meeting.
We hope that from this beginning in Jordan, the message of True Life in God will spread and that prayer groups will form as in other countries. With God watching over us, our small team returned safely to Jerusalem the following day despite the deteriorating and escalating situation on the ground there.