Sister Mary of Jordan
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I studied colloquial Arabic, trying to speak it fluently. One way I tackled it during my second summer of living in Amman, Jordan was to immerse myself in the language and culture by living in Arabic homes. I chose areas where there were no Americans or other foreigners. In this way, I got to know Sister Mary, or “Ukt” Mary in Arabic, a well known Bible woman. A mutual friend arranged for me to spend part of the summer with her and go with her to all of her meetings.
It is most unusual for an Arab woman to remain single and live alone all her life, but Sister (Ukt in Arabic) did so in order to devote her life to full-time ministry for her Lord. When still a young woman, she began having Bible studies in her home. These grew into a church and became one of the largest, most active Protestant congregations in Jordan.
Each morning and afternoon, Ukt Mary led either a meeting for women or for girls in her house or in other homes in different areas of the city. On Friday mornings, a men’s prayer group met at Ukt Mary’s house. After a time of prayer, they engaged in lively discussions.
Over the years, Ukt Mary developed health problems but she didn’t let these challenges slow her down. She continued to lead Bible studies until her death and trained women to take her place.
Soon after my return from furlough, I heard the details of her death. I have never heard or read of such a death as she experienced. She never feared death but looked forward to leaving this earth to be with Jesus. God forewarned her of death, so she put all of her affairs in order.
The morning of her death, Ukt Mary got up knowing she was going to meet Jesus. She even called her doctor. She had lived her whole life in anticipation of this day. She called relatives and some of her friends to invite them to come over, for she was going home to Jesus.
When they gathered around her, she laid down, waved at them, and said, “Goodbye, world. I’m going to Jesus.” Just like that — she died. Her death, the ideal leave-taking of this world, was a beautiful testimony of the harmony between her and Jesus.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants".
Ukt Mary’s life was a response to Jesus's invitation in Matthew 4:19 NKJV:
"Follow me and I will make you gishers of men."
She was always fishing for people’s souls. I think she could have prayed the same prayer Jesus did when He prayed to the Father in John 17:4, "I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do."
I have never known a person whose life brought more glory to God.
We are not to fear death but follow her example and look forward, filled with excitement and anticipation, to going to our Father’s house.
Copyright © 2018 Patricia J. Frost, used with permission.
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