Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meeting Felt Needs

Have you ever thought I haven’t a clue how to reach out to a Muslim woman? Be encouraged by some of the following examples how Christian women have lent a helping hand. It may be offering to practice speaking English, giving a ride to a lady needing to go to the doctor, filling out a form, taking her to do a major grocery shopping or delivering some food for her family when she has morning sickness or recovering from surgery. Some Muslim women feel very alone and helpless in their new land.

Shahnaz was finding it difficult to accept that she was pregnant and considered having an abortion. Life seemed overwhelming for her as a newcomer. Some Christian friends urged her to keep the baby and she did. Kathy’s heart went out to her and wondered how she could help in a practical way. One day she took her to a store and bought some baby clothes. Kathy’s coaching as her birth attendant also spoke volumes to Shahnaz.

A few of Vivian’s Muslim friends were eager to learn how to play the piano. They had been deprived of that opportunity in their homeland. Knowing their love for music and sensing an emotional felt need Vivian offered to teach them. Their piano lessons often led into having good chats. Vivian and Yasmine in particular became close friends. She asked to borrow some of Vivian’s Christian books. Today Yasmine is a follower of Jesus.

One very big need Janelle discovered was that some Muslim women want to learn how to drive. It takes time for some of them to get over their fears of driving a car. They know that once they can drive their lives will become much easier as they will be able to go to the store or doctor and not have to rely on their husbands to take them places. It isn’t easy to find someone who will give a helping hand in this area and especially to use one’s own car! But Janelle has a number of times. Fariba was one such woman she helped. Sometimes she took her out to practice driving while other times Fariba’s husband did and Janelle would care for their four children. Because of Janelle’s help Fariba is coping much better in her new homeland.

Muslim women are touched deeply by love which is coming from outside their faith community or family. It will amaze and mystify them. It is important, however, to put some boundaries in place right from the start on how much we will extend ourselves in showing care. It isn’t wise to pour out an abundance of care and then pull back. That will not be understood and we can feel trapped. Helping could become more of a burden than a joy. Better to go slowly. Their needs can be overwhelming and our time limited. We must not feel guilty if we can’t reach all their needs or expectations. We can offer some help and others can join in, too. These opportunities often lead into long term friendships with them. When trust and friendship are built up solidly it is possible to eventually share the love of Jesus Christ with them, not just in deed but in word, too. To all of you women helping a Muslim woman in some practical way – God bless you! It will not be in vain.