Friday, May 13, 2016

The Shoe Shine Ladies

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.” Romans 1: 16a

We were on the way to the boarding area of an airport in Canada when I spotted two ladies at the shoe shine corner. Fatima, kneeling on her prayer carpet, was all dressed in a black cloak and hijab. A tape was playing in the background of the Qur’an. Nearby was her assistant shoe shiner, Rasamal, also dressed in black. While Fatima said her prayers on the job, Rasamal was on duty for customers. Then they would switch places. Recognizing them as being Somalis I greeted them in Somali and asked how they were. They were shocked hearing a white person speak a few words in Somali. Fatima, still kneeling on her prayer carpet, pointed her finger at me and accusingly stated, “You kill people!” I was taken aback. I replied, “No, I don’t kill people. I love people. I follow Isa al Masih who loved people.” That infuriated her more. “God did not have a son!” she said in a raised voice.  "Fatima, God did not have a son by having sexual union with a woman. That would be very haram.” Without absorbing what I was saying she went on to say, “You believe in three gods.” “No, I don’t, Fatima,” I explained. “There’s only one God.” By this time she was determined to win and said, “You changed the Injil because Mohammed’s name is not mentioned in it.” I tried to explain more but she would not listen. She had all the typical misconceptions. I thought it such an odd meeting near the boarding area at the shoe shine corner. As I was getting ready to walk on, Rasamal, who appeared considerably softer in the face, ran after me into the washroom. I had one Jesus dvd left in my purse. I handed it to her and she was delighted to take it, holding it close to her heart like she had been given a treasure. What a difference between the two ladies. One hostile. The other curious.

In Muslim ministry you have to be prepared for anything. We might encounter apathy, disinterest, ignorance, fear, confusion, resistance or opposition. So did Jesus Christ. There will also be Rasamals who are eager to hear more. Do not be afraid of resistance or opposing remarks. It is normal. Stand your ground and lift your head high and honor the name of Jesus Christ. Do not be intimidated. Do not be afraid of personal rejection. Have compassion. Fatima was brought up believing those misconceptions. It is important to be patient and not raise our voice when such resistance springs up. I do not feel the need to win the argument. The Holy Spirit can take it further. But I do briefly address the misconception facts. It is rare to experience this kind of accusatory hostile communication in our culture. It will sound foreign and uncomfortable for us but for them it will not be strange at all. They feel it is their duty to defend Islam and will gladly do that. We must not be ashamed of the gospel. I don’t carry on speaking for a long time in the face of resistance but I do want to let them know that God loves them very much and briefly refute the misconceptions.

Dear heavenly Father, please help Christian women to be brave and unashamed to speak of the full story of Jesus Christ to Muslim women. Amen.