The UK has many Pakistani non-English speaking Muslims. This is a story from our primary family small group.
An old, dirty, and obviously poor Muslim lady was walking our street, sometimes 24 times a day. I decided to walk with her – smiling at the sunshine, looking at flowers, and building relationship - without language.
Eventually her English-speaking adult sons invited us into their home, appreciating the interest shown in their mother. Their homes hosted Muslims who came together before and after Friday “prayers,” and we soon realized that this dear old lady, who had been locked up in her home for 25 years by her husband, was the “man of peace”.
We listened for about a year, never commenting adversely about what they shared, knowing that to earn the right to speak we must first listen, as we “played” a game of comparing and contrasting to define our life differences. At one time they said that they could relate because, “You live family and community and are passionate about your religion.”
Four years later the result is that they:
Share openly with us
Participate in our family events
Help with mission teams, bringing food and joining in
Watch our home when we are gone
Have said men will accompany us for protection if we are invited to minister in Pakistan
Phone calls asking to talk to us into the night hours
Lent us a car when ours was beyond repair and we had no finances … and so much moreAbove all they have become dear friends – we have compromised nothing, and they have seen our lives, asked questions, and we have earned the right to speak.
Christians ask if we will take them to church and our answer is, “No.” However, we will form a small group, plant it in their community, then send some back to plant small groups in their own nation. We call it intentional evangelism and discipling from the start of the relationship. It is so much fun.
Note: We are out of the country for about half the year. What stops us reaching out through intentional evangelism and discipling our streets?