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’d come over, and we’d drink tea and talk – thirty minutes in Chinese and thirty minutes in English. It was exhausting to say the least, but through that language exchange, I not only learned a bunch of new Chinese words, I also got to know her pretty well.
She loves food and cooking and eating, she loves animals, laughing and learning, traveling and exploring new places…She’s become a good friend of mine, and we’ve progressed from slightly awkward tea time conversations to teaching each other how to make different foods, seeing movies, and spending a day at what I can only describe as a Chinese Talladega. She comes over whenever, I eat breakfast at her restaurant, and I know her many pets by name. She’s been through a few tough situations since we became friends, and God has shown me through those times how to be her friend and has taught both of us more about forgiveness, faithfulness, and love.
We’ve had a lot of different conversations over the course of our friendship, and the ones that delve a little deeper into spiritual subjects always come up with the same result. We’ve talked about differences between Islam and Christianity, we’ve talked about what “being a good person” means, we’ve talked about what we believe will happen to us after we die. The latter subject is the most frightening for her; she believes she’ll have to spend some time in Hell, dying multiple deaths as payment for her sins before she’ll be permitted to enter Heaven. (As has been mentioned in previous articles, not all Hui Muslims have the same views; some beliefs vary radically.)
I and others have talked several times with her about Jesus; about His life on earth, His death and His resurrection, and about the Love God showed when He provided mankind with a way to be saved from the death that sin deserves. We’ve talked about why it is that we don’t desire to do good simply because it’s our duty or because it’s expected of us, but because we love God and want to serve Him. Even after those conversations, even after stating her fear of death, she still makes it clear that because she’s a Muslim, she isn’t willing to consider Jesus.
Though it’s difficult and at times discouraging to hear that response, I continue to pray for her, to plead for her soul and have hope for her future. Please pray with me that she’ll become open to studying His Word and that she’ll want to know more about Jesus. Pray that she’ll see in our friendship the impact God has on His children’s lives, the Light that only His love gives, and that she’ll want that Light.