Do you wish to befriend Muslims, especially in these turbulent times, but do not know how? First, accept that God is calling you to work in this mission, and then trust that He will show you how to do it. Now, since God will be leading you in His service, I will share with you some details of my own experience with Muslim friends, hoping that my words will inspire you to say “Yes” to God and encourage you to trust in His guidance as you serve Him.
When I was called to serve God, the first thing I was compelled to do was to read the Bible to understand God’s love for all His people, including Muslims. I also felt inadequate to work in such a challenging field, so I read the Bible twice in a year and prayed many times a day, every day, always wondering when God would show me how to approach my Muslim friends. One day I learned that a conference on Muslim relations was being organized in my city. I felt that God was telling me to attend it so I could learn with the people who were already working with Muslims. On the first night, as the presenter shared his experiences, he mentioned that the main reason he wanted to talk with Muslims and develop a relationship with them was because he loved them; “I love Muslims so much,” he repeatedly said. Those words caused such impression on me that made me think that I needed to love my Muslim friends as well, just because they were God’s children, too.
A few days later, during a short trip on a bus, a Muslim lady sat beside me. I greeted her according to the Arabic greeting I had learned in the conference, “Al-Salaam-Alaikum,” which means “Peace Be Upon You.” Our conversation lasted only a few minutes; then I gave her a card containing my name, phone number and e-mail address, and asked her to call me. As she was leaving the bus, she told me in a soft voice, “I love you.” I was speechless; I battled with myself to tell her those same words, and she was the one telling me them! In that moment, I realized that God was confirming to me that love was the right element to work with my Muslim friends.
There are a number of Muslims in my neighborhood, and there are times I feel impressed by God to speak to particular individuals. One evening I came to the bus stop and saw a Muslim couple engaged in a conversation. I thought to myself that the bus would come soon and we would not have time to talk properly. Then I started to feel a pressure in my chest that lasted until I approached the couple and spoke with the husband, Abdul, for many minutes. Abdul explained that they came to study English for a year and had been in the city for eight months already. I mentioned to him that we could practice English together and gave him my card. A full month passed before he e-mailed me, asking me to meet them. It took a few encounters for Shari to meet me by herself and, since her English was very poor, we had to rely on our translation apps to talk with one another. As we continue to meet weekly, her language skills improve considerably. In our last meeting, Shari, who was able to talk without the device, told me that for months she was scared of people, but after our meetings she was not frightened to talk with strangers anymore.
What a privilege to help God’s children to feel free! As for me, I learned to depend on God and to recognize His voice when He is talking to me. Now, when I am stuck and do not know how to proceed, I just wait, trusting that He will tell me what to do next soon. Thus, I repeat, “God is inviting you to be His servant, and He will show you what to do.” Therefore, accept God’s calling, read the Bible with the intention of discovering who He really is, pray constantly, and enjoy the privilege of working for God, too!
Eva Bekkout is the Adventist Muslim Relations director for the Latter Rain Church in Scarborough, Ontario