Reluctant to sing

When we arrived at the house of Abu Muhammed, we were greeted by the neighbor I had spoken with during our last visit. He motioned to us to enter, so we mounted the stairs to the family’s house with a box of groceries, a guitar, and a few small books to give as gifts.

The mother had left to attend a wedding in the village, and she had taken some of the children with her, so the house was a great deal quieter. The father, two of the daughters, two of the older sons, and several friends of the family were present.

Bishara started telling the story of Joseph. He brought with him a power-point presentation designed for kids, with illustrations to go along with the story. The audience, mostly teenagers and adults, listened attentively to the story.

Bishara focused on how God never forgot Joseph, and how Joseph continued to serve God faithfully through difficult circumstances.

One of those present had explained to me during our previous visit that he had spent several years in prison. I am curious to know what he thought of Bishara’s story of Joseph, the innocent man who was sent to prison yet still refused to complain or act rudely.

After the story, we got the guitar out and prepared to sing with the family. Just as we began the first song, a man came to measure the window and one of the door-frames for some work he was preparing to do for the family. When he arrived, Abu Mohammed motioned to us to stop playing. Perhaps they were nervous that this visitor would ask them hard questions later if he realized they were welcoming Christians into their house.

We tried to continue after the man left, but then the teenagers motioned to us to stop again, as the Islamic call to prayer was beginning. According to them, it is not proper to play instruments or sing during the call to prayer. This revealed to us more about how strongly they are still holding onto their Muslim faith.

After the call to prayer faded away, we began again. We had brought papers with the lyrics for everyone, but even though the prayer call had ended they seemed reluctant to sing along with us. Again, it appeared that their Muslim faith was battling against us.

Bishara quickly prayed for them in the end, and we made our departure. Before leaving Bishara specifically asked if they wanted us to return. Abu Muhammed told us we are welcome whenever we want to come. Bishara then turned to the most religiously observant of the daughters and asked for her permission to return. She granted it quickly and graciously, so we plan to return and see how God wants us to continue working with this family.

The month of Ramadan is approaching soon. We don’t want to abandon Abu Muhammed’s family for an entire month, but Ramadan makes visiting more difficult. Please pray with us as we try to think of how to continue our relationship with this family during the most strongly Islamic month of the year. We need creativity and tact in order to move forward with them without unnecessarily offending or pushing too hard too soon.

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