It’s going to be a big day

March 10, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Day 4: Saturday, 10 March 2007, Laura | Leave a comment

It has been a HUGE day of many different important topics. So I will be posting in segments as my day allows me to digest. So to begin with, at breakfast I sat with two women and a gentleman from Pakistan. There stories touched my heart. They talked with me about being Christian in Pakistan. The minority religions in Pakistan make up 3% of the population. Of that 3%, only 2% are Christian. One woman, Reba, poured her heart out to me about what it’s like living as a fourth generation Christian who’s grandfather was an ordained Anglican priest. She told me horror stories she’s experienced first hand of violence towards her people. Women suicide bombers who’ve attacked the elementary school in her town. Men who attack and kill Christians on the streets for merely drinking out of the same water fountains as the Muslims. Many of you will remember the cartoon that was drawn and published in a very well-known newspaper depicting Muslims in a not-so-respectable manner. She asked me if I remembered this cartoon. I did vaguely. She told me that after this cartoon was published hatred and rage were acted out against her and her family in the most terrifying manners. Listening to her evoked emotions in me that I feel often when reading of such acts, but I’ve never experienced being face-to-face with another human being who’s suffered the consequences. It made me think of our own past in the USA dating back to racial attacks right after slaves were freed. All the way up to our recent history of 9-11 and how our Muslim brothers and sisters were violently accosted, attacked, and even murdered on the soil I call home. It makes me wonder if I am a strong enough Christian that should I be faced with such hatred, if someone were to beat my children or attack my mother because of my religion would I still call myself a Christian? Or would I back down and retreat back into the safety of whatever it is the “norm” would be.

Thankfully bible study was next, and I was excited to get into the church and think a bit more happy thoughts in a loving environment. However, God wasn’t quite finished with me yet. During our breakout group for bible study I sat next to a gentleman from Sudan who at one point in his life was a refugee and atheist. In fact he downright despised anything to do with any sort of God. He told his story to us about leaving his home and cursing the fact that people believed in “God” and this higher power that caused hatred among people with different color skin. And there was no way a God could exist. One night he was very sick and in a room alone with a very sore leg. He said he heard someone call his name three times. He went to the door and nobody was there. As he fell asleep he had a very vivid dream of Jesus standing in front of him smiling and as happy as could be. My new friend woke up feeling wonderful, and began his journey as a changed man. It goes back to what I wrote in my previous entry about not believing that people need to come to Jesus to be a human. People need to find forgiveness in their hearts to be human. I pray that the rest of my day continue to be one of learning stories and hearing how people have been forgiven, and how in the cases of individuals at this conference I’m sure, how their faith has lead them to forgive.

Addition: I am certain after tonight that indeed the people I meet here are a big part of God’s comedy on earth. Eugene Sutton and I had a wonderful conversation that will be nurtured and continue on, I’m sure. And I spoke for over 45 minutes tonight with Bishop Mano Rumalshah of Pakistan (Diocese of Peshawar) himself. I of course started crying when I tried to talk to him. But then we sat down and actually exchanged stories on both sides that were very powerful. And now with both Eugene and Bishop Mano we are woven into one another’s faith journey. It’s a crazy world God has for us here, and we simply get to enjoy the stage he sets for us!

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