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Meeting a Muslim Family

On a recent visit to a park, we sat down for a picnic near a family that included a niqabbed woman, only eyes showing. What do you think of when you see this picture? My guess is a number of things run through your mind:

“An oppressed woman.” “How sad.” “I’m sure they wouldn’t want to talk to us.”

But to our nearly 2-year old daughter, they were just another group of people sitting near a flock of birds that she apparently found fascinating. So she meandered through the birds and eventually just stood there staring at them.

Being concerned about the potential awkwardness of being stared down by a toddler, I went over and took our daughter’s hand, looking up and saying hello in Arabic to the husband in the process.

“Hi, how are you?” I said.

“Praise be to God, we are well. How are you?” said the husband.

“Praise be to God.” I replied.

“Please join us!” He waved.

“Oh, no, I don’t want to trouble you.”

“No, please, join us for some food!” He insisted.

And that commenced a 45-minute opportunity to sit and talk, eat chicken and rice, drink coffee and tea, and start building a friendship.

We discussed business, education, raising children—and of course, Jesus. Our conversation was wide-ranging, but we were able to share naturally that we were followers of Jesus and so opened the door to more spiritual conversations in the future.

This couple, so different in culture and custom, was not only friendly, but invited us to come visit them. All from the awkward stare of a toddler.

Muslims on the news may seem intimidating, scary, a threat to civilization. Muslims in real life can be friends, neighbors, and a joy to be around.

And that is why we need more people to join us in proclaiming the gospel where Christ has never been named (Rom. 15:21). Their need is the same as ours: that the grace of God would enter their hearts and that the gospel would bear fruit and grow in the whole world, even as it does among us (Col. 1:6).

JR* is a missionary serving with MTW’s Muslim ministry.

*Pseudonym used for security purposes. 

JR* Sep 6, 2016
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