From R & S – NWers living and working in a Muslim nation…
On election day, I took our new teammates out to look for their apartment. We struck out on finding an apartment at the first real estate agent’s office, but as we were standing up to leave he asked me about the U.S. election. So I sat back down just for a second to answer his question, but fully intending to get up soon. We had a lot to do to find and set up an apartment, leaving little time to sit around and talk politics.
But he lightened up a lot and invited us to stay for tea. I remembered a colleague saying one time, “never turn down tea,” as it is often an occasion to share the Gospel. So we stayed. The conversation quickly turned to religious topics and I read from Isaiah 53. While I was reading, he pulled out a book from his desk. I was not excited and thought, “oh great, here we go comparing religious books.” I have found such occasions here often unhelpful and either very frustrating or very boring. It is usually just a pretext for argument, not actual conversation.
So I was quite surprised—and happy—to see that this newspaper-wrapped book was a New Testament that he had ordered over 10 years ago. He had highlighted and underlined much, and written out a page or two of questions, which he asked genuinely (i.e., not looking for an argument). He said he had tried to get answers to these questions before, but could not, and he wondered if I might have such information that could help him understand. As you can imagine, we were happy to oblige. Pray for Ishak*, as I plan to see him again soon!