Magazines 2021 Mar - Apr Lavish hospitality: Drawn into redemption’s drama

Lavish hospitality: Drawn into redemption’s drama

06 April 2021 By Victoria Mok

Ramadan will take place from April 13 to May 12, 2021. God invites us to take part in His story of redemption in the Muslim world through dedicated prayer. Will you join in?

God has been up to something breathtaking in the Muslim world. Research by David Garrison, author of A Wind in the House of Islam (Wigtake Resources, 2014) reveals that more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ in the last three decades than in all of history. When I dared to knock on my neighbour’s door for the first time, I had the privilege of being drawn into this beautiful unfolding drama.

When the door opened, I met incredibly generous Arab Muslim neighbours who, without hesitation, invited my housemates and I inside their home and even shared their lunch with us the very first time we dropped by. I was blown away. Arab hospitality feels so lavish, and knowing that Jesus Himself grew up in a similar culture as my neighbours, their generosity felt akin to God’s own love.

Through my neighbours’ hospitality, God planted a desire in me to spend more time with them so that I could love them back. With free evenings, I went and sipped sweet tea with my neighbours, wanting to know their hearts and to share my heart with them too. Between us lay a language barrier and different cultures, but we got to know each other anyway. I came to enjoy our long evenings together, and wished, in the tired mornings after, that these after-hours visits were my nine-to-five work.

As the friendships grew, the impulse to share the gospel lurked closely. So many of us who grew up in church were taught to treat gospel sharing as an urgent task to check off rather than as a natural part of a growing relationship. Yet it felt out of place to use such a tactic among my Muslim neighbours who have gently shown their love to me through our daily lives. With a deep desire to honour them, I chose to share life first, and surrendered the urge to check off my own evangelism to-do list.

Through choosing friendship first, I began to trust that taking my neighbour coat shopping or learning to make baklava from another neighbour were God’s creative ways to soften the fertile soil in my neighbours’ hearts. I admit that this slow process isn’t easy, and the doubts of me not doing the right Christian thing still linger. It’s in this tension that I came to rely on praying regularly for my neighbours and the Muslim world.

The 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World has taken place every year since 1993. It encourages believers to pray for Muslims during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Garrison attributes this prayer movement as a key reason why record numbers of Muslims are now turning to Christ. I had heard about this prayer initiative before, but not until God introduced me to my neighbours did I come to rely on prayer as the key strategy for God to open doors of faith among Muslims. Participating in this prayer movement has given me the hope to believe God hears our collective prayers and is working to draw my neighbours to himself as part of His greater redemptive story. Every time I pray, the doubts fade and I choose again to trust that God is invested in the lives of my neighbours much more than I am.

While I still haven’t had a chance to share the gospel with my neighbours, I have made friends with whom I watched movies, celebrated birthday parties and foraged at the local park pre-Covid. Being friends with my neighbours allows me a place in their lives to continue sharing my faith through love and conversation. As I listen to their hearts, they can listen to mine too.

As well, prayer has become an essential activity in my little corner of this unfolding drama, especially during the Covid pandemic when I can’t visit them as I used to. Besides praying for my neighbours by name locally, and praying for the Muslim world to experience breakthrough globally, prayer also girds me with strength to trust that God will show up in my neighbours’ lives and call them home to himself.

Ramadan will take place from April 13 to May 12, 2021. God invites us to take part in His story of redemption in the Muslim world through dedicated prayer. Will you join in?

Victoria Mok continues to learn how to love her Muslim friends. She worships at Mississauga Chinese Baptist Church. This article is reprinted with permission from Live: A Baptist resource for women on a mission (Mar-Apr 2021)Photo of dinner by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash.

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