|What should I say?|
|Written by Laurie|
Laurie* talks about the surprising discussions she has had about religion in a closed country.
The right words
“What should I say?” It’s a question that I’ve had to ask myself over and over during my four years on this little island. From arriving at the airport and wondering what I should say to the immigration officials, to figuring out the ins and outs of an unwritten language, to working out when and how to share the reason for ‘the hope that I have’ - without getting myself kicked off the island.
Surrounded by Muslims (they make up 99.9% of the population) I was nervous about even mentioning that I was a Christian. I was afraid of the questions they would ask me and that I would somehow offend someone and ruin a friendship. I wasn’t even sure where one began in sharing the gospel with a Muslim. What should I say?
Eager to talk
However as time passed I realised that in some ways it’s easier to share with people here than it was back home. Here religion pervades every part of life, and peppers their conversations. Moreover as a Westerner in modest clothing who spoke their language I was an anomaly that didn’t quite fit into any of their boxes. And so the questions would come.
Whether it be the taxi driver who wants to know why I won’t marry a Muslim, a neighbour who wants to know why we don’t wash before we pray, or my friends who want to know why I don’t act like the people in the soap operas they love – every day gives me some kind of opportunity to share.
I quickly discovered that as a single white woman men are always eager to talk – about religion or otherwise. With women however it can be a lot harder. They are less interested in religion and less curious generally (unless it’s good for gossip!). Many of my friends will listen politely, but the desire to know more is deeply buried.
Pray pray pray
As a team we want to be prepared for when opportunities to share arise, and we want to think strategically, provoking people to explore and think. We learn Bible verses and stories in the local language, we offer to study Bible stories with those looking for English help and we pray pray pray.
We pray for boldness to push at doors that seem to be shut; we pray for discernment and sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And we pray that God will awaken those who are sleeping and open their eyes to the truth.
*not her real name