The Arab World has a special place in my heart. Every time I am in the Middle East or North Africa I feel at home. I can sit at a coffee shop or restaurant for hours having a conversation with a complete stranger. The conversation is filled with laughter and deep thoughts about life. They will tell me about their family and fill me in on their life story. There are no boundaries once you befriend someone. They are the most hospitable people in the world.
These past few weeks, Bailey and I were in North Africa for our second recon trip. It was especially amazing for me to bring Bailey because it was her first time in the country. It was incredible to see how comfortable she was operating in the country and she was so eager to learn Arabic. We were able to make some incredible contacts and friends while we were exploring to see which city would be best to base out of. We were walking through the medina (old city) when all of the sudden a friend we had met earlier in the day came rushing up to us to say hello. We talked for a few minutes on the street and as he was telling me about his family and his home he paused and asked “why don’t you and your wife just come over and meet my family and see my home?”. So naturally we said yes. We followed this man to his home and sat with him, his wife, and their three daughters while sharing some mint tea. This family invited us back next time we are in the country and his wife is going to teach Bailey how to cook traditional food (I am excited for that).
This is just a small example of the hospitality of the people in this region of the world. It is unparalleled and will make anyone feel at home. Hospitality is an intimate concept to these people that is not taken lightly. One really quick way to befriend someone is to buy a carpet. Not only will you be buying a beautiful handmade carpet, but you will have one of the best experiences of your life. It is a long and intimate process so be prepared to spend a few hours in the shop. They will show you almost every carpet they have in their shop. It doesn’t matter if you made up your mind in the first 5 minutes, they will show you a hundred more because they are proud of the carpets they have. Not only will they show you all their carpets, they will invite their families to come meet you, they will serve you mint tea, and they will tell you everything about their life. What a great ministry opportunity to open up to these people as they open up to you.
This is a region that is so hungry for intimacy with our Father and they do not even know it. They are craving the love that can only be provided by Jesus. We know that God is moving throughout this region and bringing people to Him. We cannot wait to be a part of the viral move of God happening in this country. A lot of these people have never heard the truth. Yes, they have heard about Jesus, but they have only heard lies that the leaders of the Mosques are telling them. We have a unique opportunity to build relationships and share the true message of Jesus Christ with these people in the Arab World. We must share the Gospel!