While driving through Annapolis, I felt convicted to pull over and go into the local mosque.
I had visited this mosque before, but had never connected with anyone. This time things went differently. My attention was drawn to a man who was immersed in his reading of the Qur’an.
When I introduced myself to the man, he enquired about my “home mosque.” I told him that I was not a Muslim, which further raised his curiosity about me. So I told him, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. We have some important things in common – we don’t eat pork, we don’t drink alcohol, and we worship only one God.”
As my words sank in, I let him know that I had come in because God had led me there. Then I shared with him my concern over current circumstances in the Muslim community and asked, “Is there anything I can do as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for you or this mosque?”
The man’s face brightened and he almost shouted, “This is an answer to our prayers! Just last night the leaders of this mosque met to discuss our fears in the current crisis. Our greatest fear is that someone will enter our mosque and randomly start shooting. Someone suggested that we find a friend in the community to guard our backs as we pray.”
I offered to be that friend. To stand at the door of the mosque on Friday, watching their backs as they prayed. And I explained that since Friday is my day to prepare for the Sabbath, I would only be able to come for the noon prayers.
Our providential encounter ended with a sincere prayer, asking God to bless that mosque and to send holy angels to protect every believer.
The Muslim man was so moved by my sincere prayer, he said, “You pray like us! Thank you so much for being God’s messenger!”
Ignacio Goya is pastor of the Linthicum and Pasadena churches in Maryland