Wednesday, July 6, 2011

iranians, jesus, and durums

i remember when i gained an awareness concerning muslims around the world but predominately in the middle east. as for many, it was right after the 9/11 attacks. i can recall not a disdain that was represented in so many americans but rather, well, the only way i can describe it is that feeling jesus had when he looked out on the crowd and saw the people. the scripture says he felt compassion for they were like sheep without a shepherd. shortly after i got married i lived with liz near a small market place with a palestinian as an owner, in the cabochon apartment complex. maybe you are familiar with the u.s. population of muslims, i found that most gather together in or around a cafe or small market place, sit and enjoy coffee and cigarettes. it was here, as well as starbucks, that i gained genuine relationships with syrians, palestinians, lebanese, and egyptians. no matter the country, it seemed, if you spoke arabic you had a sense of camaraderie. i realize how many could be threatened by this, i too feel as though i don't belong in this circle, as an outsider. there many a times that these fine gentlemen would venture off into political talk, but i would always steer clear of this banter. it was like when the woman at the well wanted to talk about the proper place of worship with jesus, or the pharisees wanted jesus to answer about justice, he (jesus) knew better than to engage. i, however, could not be so spiritual and respond in such a way where these gentlemen would go running to their respected places of residence and beg their families to come running to see who this jesus was. nevertheless i have had this place of softness in my heart. it seems this softness has been reinforced time and time again by meek and meaningless individuals from that religion that have bolstered this tenderness for them. don't mistake what i am saying as a form of tolerance but rather a place of sincere desire to see them know jesus as their messiah and the great "i am" as their god.

i have found my durum spot. it is a place called chez laila's and is located in a smaller part of waterloo called joli bois. it is a short bus ride from my place and honestly could be ventured to by foot but the bus is being paid for monthly so i might as well use it. i have two other durum spots i could throw a rock and hit from my living room: one place called el grecco (greek), and another turkish durum shop called chez melissa's. but there is something unique about chez laila's i wish to reveal. the couple that owns this place is iranian and their testimony of how they came to know the lord is one of those testimonies that you read about in a book, or see in a movie. it is all centered on how they left iran by walking (that is right walking!) with caravans to belgium over 20 years ago. that isn't even the point of this blog.

i went in nearly 2 weeks ago and was getting a durum with my boys. they really enjoy the french fries. i like this place because of the owners, their faith in jesus, and they have these special peppers that are really hot they can put on my durum and do every time. at this particular moment i was getting my usual (durham poulet avec samourai sans veggies) and a couple came in to sit and eat. she was pregnant and they were from the middle east and began speaking arabic to chez laila as she was writing their order down. it wasn't too busy but they had a few people and were obviously rushing to get all orders out in a timely fashion.

while waiting on my food the lord quickened to me the good samaritan parable. i was reflecting over and over in my mind the last bit in particular of the samaritan who said to the owner, whatever else you use, i will pay for it later upon my return. i wonder if he knew the manager/owner of the place to which that kind of trust could be extended. anyways the lord spoke clearly to me, "buy their meal and leave enough for a cold coke for them to wash it down with." i seriously felt that in my spirit (the bit about the coke). as i paid for my meal which was a emporter i told chez laila, "you see that couple that came in and are waiting for their meal? i want to pay for it." she asked me if i knew them because it is very very very uncommon for that sort of thing to happen. i said, "no, how much is their entire meal...coke in all?" so i gave her all that would cover it. i even gave a bit more so they could get 2 cokes each if they wanted. i know i would want one for the durum and one for the road. then i just walked out. i didn't say a word to them about the whole thing...not even mentioning the name of jesus, isa, or whatever. but, BUT, it was completely done in his name (this bit is huge in charitable acts towards everyone).

last sunday as i was at the church i attend (where laila and her husband attend as well), she rushed up to me after the service and told me about what took place at the transaction. she said they had never, ever, ever had anything like that happen to them in their life. this couple said that this was so profound and massive that they begged her to find me and they begged laila to give them my mobile number. they wanted to speak to me concerning why i did this. they were so persistent that laila had the opportunity to share her testimony with them about coming to know jesus and they are now planning on attending the church to find out about the source of this generosity. PRAISE THE LORD!!! when laila shared this news with me my heart leapt for joy. i mean



now i could remind you of how you too should be open to moments when your words are meaningless and you should listen for times to pay for peoples stuff but i am going to trust that the holy spirit has and will already quicken your faith to do the same. i will however leave you with this...please, please, think about how you too would want 2 cokes. one for the durum, and one for the road.

1 comment:

Caribouwoman said...

Amazing, Zach
Listening, to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, and obeying Him, opening you hand, and giving. Honoring God, in such a way, that even in your anaminity, and silence, God was praised, and His work was done.
We should be listening, and obeying too
Thank you for sharing with us, the encouragement to do the same, and Thank you, Lord, for Zach.