Although in downtown Raleigh last night, it felt as if I had left and went to somewhere in the middle east. What started out as a cross cultural interview turned into a three hours of hookah, cigarettes, and tea. I will let you figure out who did what. My new friend from Syria told me all about his culture and treated me as if he had invited me to come interview him. He charged me for nothing and made sure that I always had plenty of fresh mint tea.
In some respects it felt like a scene from a movie as I watched four men from the middle east play poker at one table, a handful of college students with some hookahs and laptops at another, and then you had me and the owner engaged in conversation. The point of the interview was to learn about another culture and then at some point springboard into the gospel, wherever possible.
I learned more about the Muslim faith then I previously knew and did my best to distinguish the differences between Christianity and Islam. My goal was not to only distinguish the differences, but for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth that does not exist for Muslims. I wish I had some incredible conversion story to share, which I do not, but I feel like last night was the beginning of a new relationship. This man has been treated poorly by some "Christians" in the past so he appreciated my willingness to listen to what he had to say instead of expecting him to only listen to me.
I write this to encourage people to not only reach the nations by going to them, but to also reach the nations by reaching the ones who have come to us. At one point this man said to me, "Matt, I am looking for that really good friend I will have that is from the United States." Perhaps I am that friend or perhaps not, but at least I can step in and show him the true love of the savior Jesus!