During the Crimean War in 1854, three doctors were summoned to treat a wounded military officer. His condition was utterly hopeless, but all three doctors knew that if this man died, their lives would not be spared. The setting was an Islamic country and all three doctors were Muslims. As the officer’s life was quickly fading, the doctors could only hope for a miracle. In their desperation, they did something unusual. They earnestly prayed to Prophet Jesus vowing to become his followers if he answered their prayers. Miraculously, the officer survived, and all three doctors became followers of Jesus.
Standing at the Brink: A Time of Prayer for Somalis
March - April
After I taught the group English class, Asha and I walked to the small room in the back. In that back room, Asha came alive. We spent an hour practicing her English by telling each other stories from our lives. This time I asked her to walk me through the market in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. She began to tell me of the sounds and sights she remembered from her happy days in Somalia, and of the people she would have run into at the market. I looked her in the eyes and said, “Asha, I’d love to visit your homeland with you someday.”
Damascus, Syria, 2007 — As 16-year old Zahra Ezzo lay sleeping on a cold January morning, her brother Fayyez was making his way toward her apartment, driven by the most heinous intent. Using a stolen key, he slipped through her doorway around dawn, a knife at his side. Fayyez then either crouched or knelt beside his sister, drew the blade, and stabbed her — five vicious thrusts to her head and back. Immediately exiting the house, he walked directly to the nearest police station, turned himself in, and brazenly announced his actions with a full confession.
A beautiful March snow covered Dearborn as I was cross-country skiing in Hemlock Park — three blocks from my apartment. I am the chaplain for the X-C Ski Headquarters Team, and on this day I was training for the Michigan Cup relays. The X-C Team has had the good fortune to win the relays and the Michigan Cup for two years consecutively.
The sound begins to filter out just past dawn. At first an indistinct murmuring, the din grows as the morning lengthens and the grounds of a sun-baked school are revealed. As noon approaches, a skin of dust hangs in the air, and the jumble of sound has taken on a pace to match its volume, flowing from surrounding classrooms.
Living in a Muslim country, in a Muslim neighborhood, and in an upstairs flat of a building owned by a Muslim landlord who lived with his family of twelve downstairs —was a great way to learn about Muslims and their religion. This Muslim family adopted us as their own and were extremely kind to include us in their festive holidays. One of the highlights of the calendar year was Eid-ul Qurban, Celebration of the Sacrifice (also known as Eid-ul Adha). I remember the first time we were introduced to this holiday. We had just moved to our new location from the capital city after two years of language study. Our children were six and two years of age.