Monday, August 10, 2009

Project Affwan

This last week we had an amazing opportunity. Our entire DTS went down to the Gold Coast to attend Project Affwan. Each winter, thousands of Gulf Arabs come to the Gold Coast for vacation, many of them coming from countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Many of us (including myself) have never had the chance to talk with a Muslim personally about their faith, let alone develop a relationship. Everyday morning we had speakers teaching everything from Arab culture to understanding the Quran to effective evangelism techniques, many of the speakers were former Muslims from Egypt who are now believers. Let me just say that it is no easy task trying to understand the Muslim faith and why they believe what they doesn't make it any easier that they are trying to convert you to Islam just as much as your trying to tell them about Jesus.

The very first night we went out we had a surprisingly good time. Our group of guys were a bit nervous about connecting with some random Arabs in downtown Gold we started at a place of common ground, a place that has successfully diminished all cultural barriers in almost every region of the planet: Starbucks (you can laugh). We sat down and a couple of Arab guys sat down near us. With a bit of Arabic "Assalam Aleikum" (peace be upon you) we quickly managed to engage them in a conversation that would end up lasting for 2 hours. Hamad was from the UEA and Amir from Saudi Arabia. They were here studying at a university and they were eager to learn about where we were from and what America was like. Its quite sad when all they know about our culture is what is shown on MTV. Its hard for them to separate Christianity and America, to them it is one in the same. We talked about many things and had a great time. God really gave us an amazing opportunity to connect all week with same group of guys as well as meet many other Arabs. Our DTS as whole really went for out Arabic/English bibles, tracks, and simply telling their testimonies.

 God really challenged me in something and I would encourage everyone who reads this blog to this as well. Try and get to know someone who is NOT like you; i mean culturally. like not born in the states even. someone who eats different, thinks different, talks different...maybe even believes something completely different (in fact its better if they do). Maybe it means connecting with someone in your class, or even in your church...or maybe the crazy homeless guy down the road. Just a thought.