Bungling to blessing

muslim driverMuslims live in our neighborhoods, but how can we reach them with the gospel? Unfortunately, we can easily be intimidated by Muslims because we're afraid we might say the wrong thing and offend them. But simple acts of friendliness and kindness can go a long way - even though we don't handle situations perfectly. The author of this article, Shane Bennett, learned this through an encounter with a Muslim Lyft driver.

When my Lyft driver’s name popped up as “Noor,” I was pretty excited and a little surprised! I was aware that the name means “light,” but had only known it as a girl’s name and the driver was clearly a dude! Well, lesson number one.

We hopped in and headed out. Like a good driver, Noor asked where we’re from. In my mind that gives me a free pass to ask him back.

“I’m from here, but you mean where my family is from? From Afghanistan.”

To which I replied, “Ah, wonderful. I really wish I knew some Dari.”

Well, that uncorked some emotion. And lesson number two!

It was an honest blunder for me. I was trying to show that I at least knew the name of a language in Afghanistan, trying to establish some rapport. Showing off!

Noor gave me a quick overview of the history of Afghanistan, the influence of Wahhabism, and the importance of calling the language by its real name, Farsi.

While I lack sufficient background to put his words into proper context, it was fascinating to hear Noor’s views and to sense the passion that accompanied them. I also got confirmation that Farsi-speaking Afghans celebrate Nowruz. That’s motivating me to help host a party come late March!

The conversation had to end when we reached our destination. As we piled out of the minivan, Noor leaned over and said, “Not one in a hundred people care to hear about Afghanistan. Thank you.”

Here’s the point, God used my bumbling, self-aggrandizing efforts to accomplish at least two things: Increasing my understanding of the Afghan immigrant world and blessing one dear representative of it. Yay for God, Noor and me!

This article originally appeared as a blog by Shane Bennett on December 2021, 2021 on the Missions Catalyst.

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