|Posted by gramma on March 26, 2016 at 3:40 PM|
As usual our second, and last, week in Amman has flown by. The four of us have accumulated over 240 hours of reading over the last two weeks and we have had some great conversations, but now we have had to say goodbye to our new friends. On Thursday evening we had a party and about 35 attended. We were humbled by the frequent expressions of gratitude that we received. Some brought friends and it was great to see how much fun everyone had. We had a pretty good mixture of christians and muslims, men and women, and we had at least six different nations represented.
Although most of our readers chose to use the Luke book for our sessions, several have been using the Beginnings book that surveys important events from the Old Testament. As it turns out almost all the texts from the book have close parallels (if not exact) in the Qu'ran. Thus we are able to focus on what we have in common in our beliefs rather than what separates us. Also the stories from the OT deal with many of the topics that appear in the Luke book, such as the importance of sin and faith and sacrifice.
From Val: I read with a young Muslim man, that on the last day asked me what was my passion. Well at first I had to tell him what Steve's real passion was, that he would do this nearly 52 weeks a year. He wanted to know why we were doing it, really. So I told him. We had been reading together almost every day for two weeks and he knew we were there for more than just English. I told him it was to share what we believe and to learn about them. To create friendships and share with each other. He continued, wanting to know why were we only in Jordan for 2 weeks and other places longer. He did not think we should be concerned about drawing too much attention with what we are doing. He said instead of all those other places we go for 4-6 weeks, we need to be coming to Muslim countries and staying there the longest.
From Holly. One of the many interesting readers I had was an enthusiastic, bubbly young woman, working, via an NGO, with Syrian refugees in the largest refugee camp in Jordan (81,000 people). She rides a bus 1 1/2 hours each way daily to serve others in this way. She is from a muslim background, but has Christian friends and non-believing friends. At our first meeting, she looked at the workbooks and asked me why/how we chose these topics. I replied, "Because this is a topic that matters deeply to me and we want to talk about important topics". She gave me a huge smile and told me that she too cared deeply about spiritual matters and was so glad that we were going to do this together. She is struggling to know what she believes about God, and feels pulled by her mother (Islam), by her Christian friends, and by non-believers. Please add this young lady to you prayer list. That God may continue to work in her heart as she seeks to know the truth.
We have no idea how many seeds were planted through our efforts, but it was worth it, if nothing else, for the goodwill that our conversations seemed to accomplish. Though our readers' culture, and often religion, differed from ours, we were able listen to one another, share our beliefs as friends without need for agreement, learn from each other and laugh together. It's too bad more such conversations are not taking place in the world.
As you read this we are already safely in Athens, Greece. Keep us in your prayers as we meet new friends and have more great conversations over the next four weeks.