Peaches and smiles

We arrived at the house of Abu Muhammed a little earlier than usual. Most of the younger children were in the house this time, though we were a little disappointed that many of the teenagers and young women who had been so curious the last few times were not present.

Bishara began by telling the story of King Solomon the Wise, using a power-point presentation again to help keep the attention of the children. One of the young girls began reading along with the notes and Bible verses written around the illustrations.

After the story, we sang songs together. We passed out lyrics sheets to those who can read Arabic. Some of them sang along with us this time: the fear of the songs that had been felt during the previous visit seemed to have lessened.

After we finished singing, Lubna began organizing an art project for the children. The children were quite enthusiastic about their art project. Several children came from neighboring houses: most being sons or daughters of uncles or aunts. Lubna helped them write their names on their pictures. Then Emily was able to show several of them how to write their names in English letters.

Meanwhile, Bishara and I stepped out to talk with the men. The neighbor, A*, who had been present for the last two visits came again. He asked me how long we had been there. Perhaps he was disappointed that he had missed the Bible story this time, since we had arrived early.

I asked one of the older sons what he likes to do. He said he would like to study and learn like I do, but that it requires money, and he doesn’t have extra money. I asked if he likes sport, and he nodded eagerly, then again said “But it takes money.” From his perspective, everything good in life requires money that he doesn’t have. May he realize that the greatest thing of all, a relationship with the God of the universe, is a free gift!!

It appears that Ramadan will not be a large obstacle to our ministry with this family. Out of the 14 persons in the family, only 3 will actually participate in the fast. This shows us that the teachings and traditions of Islam are perhaps not very strong in this particular family after all.

As we were leaving, the most religiously observant of the daughters was just returning to the house after work. She brought with her a gift for us: a small carton of peaches! But by far the better gift was the easy, comfortable smiles and greetings she exchanged with us as we were leaving. We pray this is a sign that her heart is softening to both us and the message we bring.

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