September 1, 2016

My beautiful friend

Written by  Clara*
Photo provided by the author. Photo provided by the author.

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

My friend married at a young age, maybe just 16. Now a mother of two teenagers, she works as domestic help in four homes in addition to caring for her own. At times she exudes captivating joy. At other times, I see in her eyes the hardness of life. The weariness it brings. The longing for more.

I never dreamed that I would have a Muslim friend, live in a Muslim community, or have a desire to work among Muslims.

Taking risks

Our friendship began blossoming as the result of two risks. After knowing her for only a few weeks, and finding out that she was going to be visiting her family in the village, I took a risk and asked if I could come too. In response, she took a risk and said yes. I couldn't believe that she agreed to let me join her, barely knowing me at all.

During those ten days together, we laughed and joked and exchanged hundreds of smiles. I embarrassed myself and I learned. We went on adventures to visit family. We hungered together on the days of Ramadan, and ate together at night when we broke the fast. We worshiped God in our own cultural ways. I was received into her family. My heart was touched by God, as He shared His heart with me.

No one is excluded

“I am for all people,” He said. “I am for Muslims; I am for your friend and her family and this village you are in. No one is excluded. I have provided a Way. I am for them. And My love for them is deep. I have given you My love for them too. Keep loving them.”

Our friendship isn't perfect, and she and her family aren't perfect. At times I don't know how to communicate about the truth of Jesus because of the skewed ideas and misconceptions of Christianity that are prevalent here. But neither the brokenness that I've seen in her family nor this misunderstanding of faith stops me. I know that I need to keep loving her and her family because I believe their experience of His love through me will make a difference in the end.

My friend’s family has been burdened by poor health, financial struggles, and problems with the education system. They have been stolen from and accused of stealing. And still their hearts are big. They have received me in and opened their home to me as a family member and a friend. When I've been sick, they have come to visit and bring me food. When I've been alone, they have sent their daughter and nieces to spend the night with me. They ask about my family who is far away and pray for them. In their love, I see glimpses of who God has created them to be.

I long and desire for my friend to know God's full nature. “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God.” But while Muslims like my friend worship God, they don't know the full extent of His character. They don't know Him as Abba Father — as good, caring, truly loving, and having their best interests in mind. As One who is for all people and wants all people to be restored in relationship with Him.

How can Muslims come to know God's goodness, faithfulness, and love if no one is willing to be unconditionally loving toward them, people who are also created in His image? Let's risk opening our hearts to God's heart for Muslims. Let's risk loving Muslims with the same kind of love that He has for them. We will be surprised at the results of our courage.

Clara* lives and works among Muslims in South Asia. Due to the sensitive nature of her location and work, a pseudonym has been used. To support Clara and her ministry, contact Barry Freed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

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