When joining the Veritas program, I assumed that all my mission work would be clear-cut. I would go to class, I would socialize with my flatmates, and at every opportunity, I would go to my shelter and volunteer in order to spread the word of God.
Once again, I have been surprised to discover that my purpose here in England was entirely different. God, in his infinite wisdom, also has a sense of humor.
I truly believe God sent me here with a purpose so different than what I had anticipated.
The United Kingdom has a Muslim population of 1.6 million, roughly 3% of the population. In London, that number is substantially greater. During my six weeks here, I made an Egyptian friend, Mohamed, who is Muslim. After meeting Mohamed, he asked me about my tattoo. On my right wrist is the Hebrew word for biblical truth (Emet-beginning, middle and end), and behind it is a Trinity symbol (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). When I told Moe what it was, he said, “Oh, so you’re a Christian.” I responded, “Yes! I am!” Then he shocked me by saying, “I never pictured you for a Christian. You’re too kind and loving.”
I have never led a sheltered life. Although raised in the church, I attended public school and am no stranger to non-Christians. Now that I am in college, as a Women’s and Ethnic Studies major I am often exposed to modern society’s negative views on Christians.
However, this interaction with Mohamed was the first time anyone had ever thought I was too good to be a Christian! I was shocked and hurt.
Christ called us to be more like him and to “love thy neighbor.” How evident it is that we have failed our community when people associate “Christian” with “hate.”
Since our original interaction, Mohamed and I grew very close, and he has become a very dear friend to me. We would often sit in our flat over a cup of tea and Chinese takeout and discuss differences in our religions. Little did I know that his curiosity would bud into a hunger for Christ.
As our friendship grew, our discussions turned into a daily evening activity. I would boil the water, he would get the tea ready, and then we would sit down with notebooks and pick up where we left off the previous evening.
Something I was ignorant of before is that Muslims believe in Jesus Christ as a prophet, but not as the Son of God. Mohamed slowly began to question why Christ would claim he was the way truth and the life, only to have the prophet Mohammed follow. One day, after many patient debates, Mohamed told me, “I’m so glad you just talk and listen to me. You’re the first Christian I’ve met who hasn’t tried to force your religion down my throat.”
Sometimes, I feel despair at our fellow believers in Christ. We are imperfect and sinners, and often forget to reflect God’s love. Although I know I am often guilty of doing the same, I am relieved God protected my tongue and heart, and utilized me to reach out to Mohamed. “Thy word is a lamp into my feet and a light into my path.” Psalm 119:105.
Mohamed’s story has what I believe to be a happy ending. By the fourth week together, I was pulling out my bible, and he his own, and we compared scriptures. The week before we left, he asked if he could borrow my bible overnight. I obliged, and saw him reading it the next morning at breakfast. Finally, he asked me where he could purchase his own. I responded he could keep mine. After all, he needs it more than I do.
So, needless to say, my mission trip was a success-but not at all what I pictured! I learned to be patient. I learned how to speak openly about my Savior. And, beautifully, as I spoke about my Savior, my love for him only grew. The seed has been planted in Mohamed’s heart, and I know that God will be with him every step of the way.
Kaeli K., University of Colorado, Veritas in London Summer 2013