I have a friend who is Hui. She might be my best friend in the city. Why are we so close when it seems like it takes so long for relationships to be built here in East Asia? Many times when I try to become friends with people here I get surface answers of “I’m fine, life is great, no problems here.”
One o’clock rolls around, and what had previously filled the table – a feast of chicken, beef, sweet rice, special bread, and stir-fried vegetables – now fills our bellies. As I begin standing up from the table, my Chinese grandmother, a sweet Hui lady in her late 70’s, tells me, “Don’t you run away now; we still have to wrap the dumplings. You are staying to wrap the dumplings, aren’t you?” Her question leaves room only for a Yes.
I met my Hui Chinese friend through a mutual friend, and it didn’t take long at all for me to discover she lives in the same building I do and also owns a nearby restaurant that I visit pretty often. Our friendship started out with me asking her if she’d like to come over to have tea (because why else would one invite a stranger over?), and from there we progressed into a sort of “language exchange.”
She was adamant about there being a difference between us; whatever I said or showed her to read that had to do with Jesus, she responded with something like the above.
We had other conversation, some of which was about what she does during the day. After thinking and then listing off some things, she said, “Maybe I am not a good Muslim.”
The Gospel clearly speaks for itself. But honestly, it can be hard to find different angles from which to share the Gospel when it comes to friends who have been shared with many, many times. I’m so thankful, though, that the Lord continues to open doors, windows, even cracks for His Word to come through.
I had never seen Friday prayers at a mosque before. On our way back from a trip to another city, we decided to stop and watch as the men assembled for worship.
It was a cold, cloudy afternoon, eerily quiet, the square almost void of people. A few minutes passed as I wandered around in front of the intricately decorated mosque, looking at the buildings and attempting but not succeeding to read the characters written on the walls.