The family from Iraq has quite a story "“ please keep them in your prayers. The father, mother, and one of the sons are here in Pittburgh, but their daughter is still in Iraq, one son is in Holland, and their oldest son "“ who worked for the new Iraqi police force "“ was killed in 2004. The son in Holland is in a tragic position; before he left Iraq, he was captured and held (and tortured) by terrorists for one year. For some reason, they eventually let him go, and he fled the country. He is an electrical engineer by vocation, but his shop was car-bombed in Iraq (i believe during the time he was being held by the terrorists), and he now suffers from diabetes. Holland is not allowing him to stay there, and so his hope is to make it to Jordan, where his wife and their two young boys fled). Ultimately, this son and his family "“ as well as the daughter still in Iraq "“ really want to come to the US, as they are still in potentially volatile positions. The dad here asked me to help him find out how he and his family could help the son and daughter and their families to come to the US as refugees; and so please pray for God’s wisdom, favor, and help as i try to find and allocate the correct info for them.
This family is very dear, and very kind, and if you’ve never been in a traditional Arab family’s home, you are big-time missing out yo’! The scene was like this "“ I enter their apartment, and the dad, mom, and son are on their feet with warm and sincere welcomes. The dad tells me to please sit down on the couch, and within minutes, the son (who is in his upper 30s) is placing fruit juice, a big bowl of various fruits, and candy before me. Not too long after, homemade sweets are brought in as well, and of course, hot and sweet tea. (Doing mission work does have some gr8 perks!) They shared about their family and past, asked me questions about mine, and The Lord opened the door for some spiritual talk too. We were speaking about the many similarities between our faiths (they are muslim), but the mom mentioned how our beliefs are the same. i politely pointed out that we do indeed have many similar concepts and beliefs about God "“ that He’s Only One, that He’s Holy, and so forth; but that when it comes to Jesus, we are different. They conceded to that fact, but from their talk it was still very evident that they do have a very high opinion of Christ. The mom even mentioned that she has read, or is reading, the 4 Gospels! The dad told me how muslims have 99 names for God, and i asked if they had 100? He kind of laughed, and said that they had 99. (Longer story for the moment, but The Lord had blessed me to know about this subject from past mission work.) So I asked if one of the names was "˜Love,’ and i showed him some verses from 1 John 4 in Arabic, where it says that God Is Love. The dad read over the verses, and said, "˜no’ "“ that "˜Love’ was not one of the names they have for God. His wife interjected by saying "˜Habeeb,’ which is like, "˜loved one,’ or "˜treasured one,’ but the dad pointed out, contemplatively: "˜no, that’s different.’ What a blessing we have as believers to know that God Is Love! Pray that The Lord will reveal His Son Jesus to them, and that they will open their hearts to This Wonderful God of Love, and Who IS Love!
For the second group, as the three women are already believers, we had much more of a Bible study than just an English lesson "“ and it was rad! We looked at and read John 14:1-3, and we talked about what we could learn from the passage, how those things apply to our lives, and so forth. Afterwards, i asked if they had any questions about anything, and the one lady asked, "˜Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?’ Another question was, "˜Why did Judas sell Jesus?’ Good questions! We discussed those topics, and the one woman translated for her sister (who doesn’t speak much English), saying, "˜My sister wants to say thank you for coming and teaching us about these things. We want to study, but we don’t have anyone to teach us.’ All glory be to God for how He sends, uses, and blesses ordinary people like us, enabling us to share in other people’s lives who are hungry for the truth! May the Savior continue to touch and teach these Burmese believers who want to know more about their Lord!
Your prayers for them, and for me, are most welcome indeed. Though i miss my dear friends in Beslan, and still keep in touch with many of them, i think i'm beginning to see a little more into perhaps why He shut the door to Russia and how He has opened many here. To Yah be the glory, and to Yah be the praise.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, and my other friends as well "“ let us walk with God!