Saturday, May 24, 2008

The story continues...

with my new Muslim friends


Yes! They are Muslim.

Wow. God has set me up. (And them too!)

I went on my bike ride tonight and sure enough there they were. This evening was our fourth conversation.

(I'm simply calling them husband/wife from now on here on the blog since I've discovered this couple seems to be sorta well connected in their nation and apparently maybe ours too and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize them by blogging with their names.)

Husband: "Deanna! Where have you been?"

Me: "Oh, my schedule has been different the last few days with having my day off and stuff going on so I walked or biked at a different time than you. I'm sorry we didn't meet up the last few days. Hopefully you didn't think something was wrong."

Husband: "Well, we missed you."

Me: "I missed you too! In fact, I want to invite you to dinner at our home."

Husband: "And you to ours! We accept. Let us do both."

[Me inside going, "yiipppeeee!" ]

Husband: "Let's set it up when my wife and I get back into town. We are getting ready to leave tomorrow to go to West Palm beach for a few days. One of my former clients has invited us to spend some time at a place the Kennedy's own...

[WAIT. Did he just say the KENNEDY'S? As in JFK, Ted, Bobby...um, yeah, that's what he meant...no joke!]

Husband continued: "for a few days, so we'll be out of town.

[Me thinking: is he SERIOUS? Wow. These are sorta influential people I guess. The other day I found out he's the former CEO of an airline, today I find out he's hangin' at the Kennedy's place?]

Husband: "of course we'll accept your invitation and come to dinner! Who could possibly say no to YOU?"

Me: "um, my husband!"

[hysterical laughter on everyone's part here]

Husband: "no, no,no, I'm certain that's not true. Anyone married to you could surely not say no. My wife was just commenting to me the other day, "there's something so different about our new friend, Deanna."

[me ready to run in circles and shout halleluiah here...containing myself somehow from having a HG breakdown*]

Husband continues: "You are always smiling, always so congenial with us. We can only imagine, surely you must be married to a super man!"

Me: "Matter of fact, would you believe one of my nicknames I'm fond of calling him is "Superman?"

[Laughter on everyone's part here and entire time husband is talking his wife is standing beside him broadly smiling and nodding. She doesn't speak English as well as he does and he does most of the talking but she is so sweet and manages to piece together a few words on occasion.]

Me: "seriously, Larry really is a super man and I can't wait to introduce you to him. But I assure you he sometimes does say no to certain things...

[smiles on everyone's face here]

Husband: "well, we shall come...we shall meet this Superman, and have dinner! Yes. We shall. God willing, we shall."

Me: "Awesome. I can't wait!"

Husband: "You know Deanna, we are enjoying our stay so much in America and we have talked about it and we are considering staying..."

[looks at me pensively here]

"but we are wondering if we will be as easily accepted by others here as you have accepted us...what do you think about this?"

[big smile on my part here...envisioning them settling down here, becoming friends...close friends... and having not only months but YEARS to lead them to Christ, disciple them, be part of their whole journey...oh the thought... ]

Me: " I think that's a WONDERFUL idea, and I believe many great friends are in store for you..."

Husband: "Really?" .

Me: "Yes, really"

Husband: "Thanks be to the Almighty that we meet again today."

Me: Yes, indeed. thanks be to God."

Husband: You always have a smile on your face...

[ I keep smiling here, not bothering to tell him I don't do this 24/7...]

Wife: "Such a nice lady...that is what we keep saying, ..."

Me: "Thank you. And you as well. I am blessed to have you as my new friends. Blessed to have you in America. Blessed to have you in my neighborhood. Blessed that we have opportunity to meet. What day is good for you to join me for dinner?"

Husband: "Well, we go to Mosque on Friday nights, but any other night is good."

[My confirmation that they are Muslim]

Me: "Awesome! We're doing it, as soon as you get back from the Kennedy's."

[I never imagined a sentence like that coming out of my mouth...the Kennedy's?]

Just came home and reading a website on how best to minister to Muslims. Got the #1 thing on the list covered...says to put friendship as priority, not "witnessing". Just be a TRUE FRIEND first. Okey dokey, that's cool. I'm there. Article goes on to say nothing is quick about the process of leading a Muslim to Christ and it could take years and years. No problem. I'm willing to do whatever it takes for however long. And I realize I may be just a link on their chain of coming to Christ. (I might plant or water, and somebody else will see the increase...) I'm just so overwhelmed right now to be part of the PROCESS when just weeks ago I couldn't imagine doing anything to a Muslim but bonking them over the head with my bottle of nail polish on a plane if they tried anything goofy.

But my only question right now is...

what do I cook for supper?

I have never cooked for a Muslim before. So somebody tell me...what's off limits if anything?

A friend of mine was ministering to a Hindu and had dinner and pulled out a hamburger.

Yikes! Not a good idea. They didn't speak to them for a while. LOL

GOD IS SO FREAKIN' AWESOME.

How do Christians not get stoked about sharing their Jesus with others? I have to admit to you, I don't get it. I just don't. This puts me on such a high, I'm going in the other room to have a HG breakdown* right now.

* Holy Ghost breakdown = something true old time Pentecostals do from time to time. Never seen it? Hang out with me for a while or watch a Martha Tennison video. :-)

6 comments:

Pastor L said...

Obviously, it goes without saying...don't serve anything with pork in it.

Also, some Muslims follow a diet similar to the Jewish kosher diet - no mixing meat with dairy, that sort of thing.

The best thing to do is just plain ask them if they have any dietary restrictions...food allergies...whatever!!! They will be overjoyed that you thought to ask, and that will actually open a huge door right there for them to trust you as a friend.

In conversation, avoid using common Christian words or phrases like "missions trip" or "kids' crusade." That conjures up very ugly images in the minds of most Muslims - for obvious reasons.

It is offensive for a man to offer his hand to a Muslim woman to shake - it is considered immodest in their culture, so you may want to give Larry and your boys a heads up.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head - if I come up with anything else, I'll let you know.

[This info is from working for the Intercultural Studies Department at NCU for 4 years, and living for 10 years in a city that was full of Somali immigrants.]

Deanna Shrodes said...

Wow, those are all GREAT things for me to know. THANK YOU. I didn't know these things so your advice on this is incredibly helpful. Thanks.

LAURIE said...

Wow! What a great opportunity for you to influence "husband and wife". Sounds like they are looking for kindness, love and hope and they found it in you. May God lead and direct you and use you in a HOLY GHOST way (I am familiar with the Holy Ghost breakdown...) - Blessings, Laurie

Pastor Lisa said...

I am so happy for you! Now you know what I know! There are some really beautiful and gracious Muslim people on this planet! And Pastor L did a good job on the quick list of do's and dont's. Definitely no pork!

Can't wait to hear how it all turns out.

And there's a woman who's been on TBN quite a few times who has been quite successful in ministering to Muslims. And she said the same thing you've read...friendship first. Do you do what you say you're going to do is also key.

I know it will turn out well!

Melissa said...

WOW! God is freakin' awesome! We will continue to pray for you and Larry to have this open door of opportunity! God's guidance!

DaNella Auten said...

Hey you, I happen to have a fairly good friend who is a Muslim. You may have read about her in the things I sent you, if not, look up "It's all good, It's all God" in my MICROBUSTS!
One thing I would say, is tell them you don't know about their customs, and religion, and would like to know more. They love to enlighten us. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and be sure to tell them you understand if they don't wish to tell you some answers. Just show genuine interest. It opens the doors to do comparisons. With my Muslim friend, she would say something such as "We have to read the quran in Arabic, and pray in Arabic." I just shrugged, and smiled and said "My God knows English." She laughed, but my point was taken.
Another point on the supper, is you may want to ask them if they buy their food at a certain place. My friend came to eat with me but she had to provide the chicken for me to prepare, because they can't eat just chicken, it has to have been killed in a certain way. It can not be scared before it is killed, or it's body releases adrenalin... and that is somehow wrong.
When I had Suzanne over, I made Chicken, but she provided the chicken for me before hand.
They do eat Kosher basically, but Kosher has some well, weird to us rules, like they can't eat bread with dairy (eggs) in it. So, probably just ask.
I do know one of her favorite meals to make for us was a broiled fish on a bed of rice.

Hope I didn't ramble tooo much and this helps some.
Mostly I was just myself, and Suzanne and I are still friends, and I still pray for her. I think she is gonna read my book... How cool, God's word will not return void!!
Also it is customary to bring a present to someone the first time you go to their house, or the first time you go to their new house. Usually a house hold decoration type thing. But they do not have pictures of people in their house. Something about the eyes, I am not totally sure on that. But scenery or objects are fine. Not knowing their decorating tastes, I would recommend a nice scented candle maybe… good luck.