Tag Archives: neighbor

She invited workmate to dinner…and laughed!

I love it when a friend shares with me their own journey to reach out in friendship to our new neighbors from distant lands. Here is one such story I know you will enjoy – we’ve changed the names. (By the way, do you have a story to share? Email it to us.) Another #NearFrontierTREK.

Julie and Nabila were coworker’s, and became quite close over the years. Finally, the day came when Julie felt she should extend an invitation to Nabila and her husband, Ahmed, to come to dinner at her home.

Before sitting down to dinner Julie explained that she and her husband John give thanks before eating, so, “John will say a prayer.”  After John finished praying Ahmed said,  “That was really nice.  I like that you pray before eating.”  Julie said, “We have so many reasons to be grateful, so that’s why it’s important to give thanks.”  They all agreed, even Ahmed and Nabila’s son nodded his head.

family mealDuring the course of the meal John and Julie asked how and where Ahmed and Nabila had met.  They grew up in the same Middle Eastern city, and theirs was an arranged marriage. Although their families would get together on occasion, along with Ahmed’s and Nabila’s brothers and sisters, Ahmed and Nabila were never allowed to speak to each other because of their future marriage.  We all fell off our chairs laughing when Nabila said, “Ahmed looked at me and said, ‘Good enough.'”  Ahmed just smiled, but then he said, “We truly learned to love each other.”

Julie offered that John and she also had an arranged marriage.  In surprised unison Ahmed and Nabila said, “You too?”   John said, “No no no no,” but Julie continued.  “Let me tell you our story.  I was at church seated at a table, and had noticed a new man (John) sitting at the table across from me.  As I listened to him talk I could tell that he had a deep love for God, and I began to pray, “God, please make it possible for me to meet this man.”  And, after the service John came to talk to me.  So that’s how God arranged our marriage.”  And Ahmed and Nabila understood.  Later on Nabila was talking about something and said, “…just like you prayed and God arranged your marriage….”

For a continuation of this relationship, click here.

Photo credit: cherebork.com


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Camping plan with my Muslim friend

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every Christian had a Muslim friend. That would mean that every Muslim would have a Christian friend.

Imagine how radical that could be if it spread throughout the entire world. The suspicion between groups would be reduced. We would find ourselves saying, “Well, actually, what you my brother are saying is not true, because I have a Muslim friend and he doesn’t have that hate in his heart. He is committed to his religion, but basically wants to live it, share it, and provide a better life for his family.”

I have been developing a friendship for the last couple of years with a Muslim family in my neighborhood. It is so cool that his kids come running when I come to their door, “Bob”!

A few years back I was given an aging tent trailer that needed work. I got it put together and have enjoyed some outings with it. Hussein, my friend, showed curiosity over the trailer, wondering what it was like when opened up. We exchanged wishes that we could go camping together sometime. I pondered this idea, wondering how we could pull this off. Long story short, on an impulse I decided to take a couple vacation days and camp at a nearby camp site. It is near enough to my neighborhood that I figured Hussein could drop by and check it out, even sleeping overnight if he wanted to.

campoutHere is a daytime picture of our site. I was disappointed that Hussein and his son Ali only came by one evening around 9pm (I was tired and actually heading toward bed). But we sat by the fire for awhile; then he wanted to see the inside of the trailer. He was fascinated by the amount of space inside, and the little gas stove.

What’s the point of this post? Friendship takes work, and flexibility. Friendship is worth it, and may mean more than appears on the surface. So that’s my latest #NearFrontiersTREK. Pray for a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist friend. Live the joy of Jesus before him, and leave the results to God.

Recently a buddy told me of a Jesus follower who was talking to a Muslim about religion. The Muslim asked the Christian if he had ever studied Mohammed. The Christian replied, “Well, years ago I encountered Jesus. I have been so fascinated with Jesus ever since that I have never felt the need to study anyone else.”

Let you light shine, whether your plans work out or not. God has a plan. Jesus is compelling. Let Him show.

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Tutoring at the mosque

Today I met a former high school math teacher who began to feel the burden of God’s love for all peoples.  Near his home in an American city was a mosque, so he began to pray how he might bring the love of Jesus there.

After an extended season of prayer, he decided to go to the mosque. He was invited to meet the imam. The visitor told the imam that he was a follower of Jesus, and had a heart to help people. He wondered if there might be a student or two who was struggling with their mathematics. Could they use some free tutoring? The imam not only accepted the kind offer, but encouraged all the children from the mosque to come for tutoring.kids at mosque

That was eleven years ago. The teacher has not only continued the tutoring, but has brought many volunteers to the mosque to help out.

Opportunities for showing the love of Jesus abound right in our towns. May God give us hearts to serve, and commitment to pray for direction and open doors!

Tweet This  This Christian math teacher offered to tutor children at a local mosque and found a welcome reception. #NearFrontiersTREK

Photo credit: alamy.com

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Thanksgiving feast beyond the food

In my ongoing effort to bring you to places where followers of Jesus are engaging the nations here in America, I offer you another escapade to the mission frontier. This one adds another level of gratitude to our Thanksgiving holiday.

Picture this scene. Two young families, each with two children, sitting around a dinner table in an Thanksgiving mealAmerican home, having enjoyed a full turkey dinner. The hostess had explained each dish as a part of American tradition. Both families are refugees, one from Iran the other from Afghanistan. Sitting around the table are six American Christians.

Now the group enjoys tea and dessert. The host announces that we are going to have a brief story about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. A friend has prepared an account of the coming of the pilgrims, the help of native Americans in growing crops, the spread of disease, the harvest and sense of gratitude.  He tells of the declaration by Congress of a day for thanking God. The story is appreciated by all.

Then the friend passes around verses from the Bible printed nicely on paper slips and invites each person around the table to read the verse and, if desired, to share something they are thankful for. The refugees are working on their English, so there is some assistance given on more difficult words (like “ceasing,” and “petition”).  Since holy scripture is respected, all seem to take the words of the Bible with seriousness.

Surrounding this event ring the laughter of kids and cries of babies. Side conversations develop, brief stories told, geographical and sports questions answered. But as I sit in that place, the wonder of the evening is alight in my heart.  Tweet This  I am joyful that God is bringing the nations to us, not in dribbles but in droves. The words of the prophet seem true again:

“Look among the nations and watch — be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)



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Neighborly pumpkin-carving

I have been looking for another opportunity to reconnect with my neighbors from Somalia. Remember this is the family I got to have in my home for hamburgers, which had to be halal meat. Catch up on that story here.

With Halloween coming up, I had the idea of inviting my neighbors over for a cup of hot cider. That evening turned out to be rainy, so the shelter of my open garage was inviting to some who came and talked for awhile. But I had a different thought for my Muslim friends, who I assumed would not get into the traditional trick-or-treating routine.

So I invited them to my place to carve pumpkins. They had never done this before, so I had to explain what it would involve. We had to work on the scheduling. Our first time day proved to be a no show, so we rescheduled for Halloween itself. I had bought three pumpkins, and had knives, spoons and candles ready. So they came as a family, and we had quite the time getting messy!

They wondered if this was the kind of pumpkin you could eat. Sure. I told them that Lyn sometimes roasted the seeds, so they took some home to try that.

I think we came out with some really nice faces! Don’t you agree?

three pumpkinsTweet This   Pumpkin carving turned out to be a great way to be neighborly. #NearFrontierTREK

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5 Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus, Nepali version

I unashamedly swiped this post from the Trinity International blog found here. I believe learning from others in this way reminds us that God is at work around the world, that the Spirit is giving wisdom, that God speaks every language, and that we all need a learners heart.

पञ्चमहयजन(Maha Yagna): Five Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus

By mikaku

What follows is the Nepali version of the “Five Daily Disciplines for Devotees of Jesus”(पाचवटा प्रतिदिन् अनुशासन). For the one who has given their life to the Lord Sri Jesus, these yagnas are acts that can be done daily as an expression of devotion (bhakti) and faith (biswas).  I will include below the Nepali and English translation.

[Five Great Sacrifices / Disciplines]

१. इश्वर यजन [Discipline of God-worship] 

तपाईंको प्रेम जीवनभन्दा श्रेष्ट छ, यसकारण मेरा ओठले तपाईंको महिमा गर्नेछन. (भजन ६३:३) [Your love is better than life, so my lips with glorify you. (Bhajan 63:3)]

२. शास्त्र यजन [Discipline of Scripture Study]

तपाईंका वचन मेरा गोड़ाका निम्ति बत्ती, र मेरो बाटोको निम्ति उज्यालो हो. (भजन ११९:१०५) [Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path (Bhajan 119:105)]

३. पितृ यजन

[Discipline of Honoring Parents and Elders]

आफ्ना बाबु र आमालाई आदर गर, कि जुन देश तिमीहरुलाई परमप्रभु आफ्ना परमेश्वरले दिनुहुन्छ, त्यहाँ तिमीहरुको आयु लामो होस्. (प्रस्थान २०:१२) [Honor your father and mother, so that you will live long in the country that the Lord your God gives you. (Prasthaan 20:12)]

४. मानुष्य यजन [Discipline of Service to other People]

समस्त व्यवस्था एउटी वचनमा पूरा भएको छ, “तैंले आफ्नो छिमेकीलाई आफूलाई झैँ प्रेम गर्.” (गलाती ५:१४) [In one word the entire law is completed, “Love your neighbor just as yourself.” (Galaatee 5:14)]

५. सृष्टि यजन [Discipline of Creation Care & Stewardship]

आफ्नो निम्ति पृथ्वीमा धन-सम्पत्ति नथुपर, जहाँ कीरा र खियाले ती नष्ट पार्छन् र जहाँ चोरहरुले गर फोरेर ती चोर्छन्. तर आफ्नो निम्ति स्वर्गमा धन-सम्पत्ति थुपार, जहाँ कीराले वा खियाले नष्ट पार्दैन, र चोरले पनि चोर्दैन. किनकि जहाँ तिम्रो धन हुन्छ, त्यहीँ तिम्रो मन पनि हुन्छ. (मत्ती ६:१९-२१) [Don’t keep treasures for yourself on earth where insects and rust can destroy and where thieves can break into your house and steal.  But keep for yourselves treasure in heaven where insects and rust cannot destroy and where thieves do not steal.  For where you treasure is, there your heart will also be. (Mattee 6:19-21)]

Tweet This What would you say are 5 daily disciplines for the Jesus follower? Look what the Nepali version says.
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Timely friendship with pregnant Iraqi mom

20150810_171240Cross-cultural friendships can go really deep, really fast.  Just two days ago, one of my colleagues here in the U.S. met a pregnant mom from Iraq. Her new Iraqi friend is due in two weeks. When asked how she was feeling, soon-to-deliver momma said she was afraid.  My colleague offered to teach her some breathing/relaxing methods to help her through labor; offer accepted. This led to a two hour practice session with expectant mom and dad, with more to come. Here is how you can help:

Please pray with me, that I will be able to be with her through her labor and delivery.  This is her desire and my own.  The only problem is that I will be out of town around the due date.  Would you pray with me that God will work, so that I could be with her?   They return to Iraq in two months, so I don’t know why I have just met them, but I believe there is a reason.  Thank you for standing with us in prayer,


Remember the BIRTH you prayed for?   Well, the mother had a beautiful baby boy. Although she delivered after I returned from my trip, she did not call me. I did, however, visited her in the hospital. Thank you for praying. Several days later, they delivered lamb meat to our door which had been sacrificed in honor of their boy’s birth.

Tweet This Timely friendship with pregnant Iraqi mom



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