It was a freezing morning; the temperature had dropped to -17 degrees Celsius. Yet despite the cold, I was eager to meet one of my friends, a Hui Muslim, who lives in the mosque near my apartment. He lives in a small dorm room in the mosque that contains a couple bunk beds and one small side table.
Maliki is a 45-year-old Imam that I met during a class in a mosque. Once, I shared with him that a righteous God must punish sins rather than just forgive without retribution. In response to this, he said Allah’s forgiveness is always granted if men repent, to which I said that justice and forgiveness must work together to address sin in order to reflect Allah as both a just and merciful God.
The Chinese church is central to fulfilling God’s purposes to rescue the Muslims of China. The Chinese church, similar to Christian’s around the world, must overcome their fear and ethnocentrism in order to bring the love of Christ to the Hui, Dongxiang, and Salar. Cross-cultural training is vital for getting the gospel to all the Muslims of China. In a recent cross cultural training, the teacher gave the students an assignment to interact and share the gospel with Muslims. One of the leaders of a large house church wrote of his first experience trying to share the gospel with Muslims.
Early this fall, I was lucky to find myself returning to one of my favorite places – a small desert oasis town in the foothills of towering mountains. The city where I live was still hot from the summer, but in this small town the air was cool and crisp. As I braced myself for the cool of the morning and the night, I wore a long sleeve shirt and coat for the first time this season. During our time there our hotel was just turning on the heat for the beginning of the cold season.
It was in early September, just as the summer heat began to die down and the cool fall air was rejuvenating life in our city. We were on our way to a nearby university to play frisbee in hope of meeting some students, and we decided to stop for dinner at a restaurant owned by a man from our people group. Students were still returning for the new school year and the streets were not quite as feverishly busy as they would be in the coming days. My wife and our sons had only just arrived when I had gotten out of my taxi along with my mentor to walk the rest of the way to the store front.
Down a small dirt alley hidden in the middle of the city are old broken down apartment buildings with no running water, no toilets and no central heating or air. My friend, Li Hua, lives in one of these small studio apartments. Half of the apartment is taken up by a kang, a wooden box that is used as a bed as well as place to eat and sit. A small wood stove sits in the middle of the room surrounded by a few stools.