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Crossing the Road - Week 4

A Good Neighbor doesn’t stay on his side of the street or even his own city sometimes.

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”-Luke 10:33-37

*** This is my last post (for now).***

While I have not stoped meeting with Omid, my official committed time through Exodus has ended. However I would like to share a few more things with you that I have experienced. First, is that language barriers can be overcome with a little grace filled patience from both parties. Also, people from the other side of the world are the same as me. They have the same fears and worries for family and they have the same kind of strengths and drives to do well in life.

I suspect that most people feel the way I do about evangelism. Intimidated! But I have found when you get to know someone first and they begin to see and listen to the way you act and speak they will start to ask questions. Such was the case with Omid. I have learned that people really don’t care what you know until they know that you care. So concerning religion I have let Omid lead the conversation. I think after we spent about 5 hours together he asked me about my beliefs. Up until then there wasn’t any talk about religion.

So it kind of took me by surprise when he asked me what I knew about the prophet Esau. I told him I didn’t know of any prophet named Esau? He looked at me puzzled and said, “I thought you were a follower of Esau?”. We figured out that is the way he pronounces Jesus. Then I was able to tell him that I don’t know Jesus as a prophet, but as a savior. One who forgives my sin and makes me right with God. Honestly, I don’t know if he understood what I was talking about. He gave me a kind of quizzical look and didn’t say anything else, so I didn’t press it any further. Since that initial conversation we have discussed both of our beliefs several times. How they are similar and how they are not so similar. For example, we both believe that you should care for the needs of others. But we differ on God’s idea of adultery. Excitedly, I look forward to and pray for where God leads our future conversations.

As a husband and a parent I always worry about my family, whether I’m with them or not. But even more so when we are apart. I never liked being away from family for very long. When I would go somewhere for a mission trip or something else, (with one exception) it was always in the same country and there were always forms of communications. I remember (the one exception) when I went to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip. I was 2000 miles away and no form of communication for an entire week. It took me months to prepare mentally and emotionally. I was so anxious the entire time leading up to the trip. Now add to that an anxiety over flying, and you have a guy that is an emotional and mental wreck. If it wasn’t for the support of my family, fellow missionaries and God, not necessarily in that order, I would have never made it. I couldn’t imagine having to leave my family, for an extended period of time, without a chance to say good bye or having time to prepare mentally for what I was going to have to do. Yet that’s exactly what Omid had to do. We have all seen the news clips where Afghans were desperately trying to get out of the country on overloaded planes. Omid’s exit was similar. It was hurried and sudden and most importantly it was without family. The difference is that he was able to steal away a spy plane from the Taliban. And in all honesty that makes him, not just a refugee, but a hero. Luckily he is able to have regular communications with his family over the internet. I think that helps keep him motivated to do well here in the US.

When Covid hit, like many people, my brother suddenly lost his job at 50 years of age. He had to go back to school for his masters degree, move across state and basically start over. Many of us have had to reinvent ourselves in the past. Changing jobs and homes and states and whatever life throws at us. Now imagine doing all that at the same time in a new country, new culture and a new language. Without any familiar support. I am not trying to make Omid sound like some super awesome guy. Although, he is a really nice guy. He is, just like me, an ordinary person. Who happens to be from the other side of the world. A guy who misses his family and doing the best he can.

When I started this journey with Exodus I was, mistakenly, under the impression I was going to help someone learn more about how to start over in America. And I’m sure in some small ways I have, but I believe I have gotten far more from our time spent together than Omid. I hope you have enjoyed sharing this journey with me. I hope you were able to see what it was like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as you walked along with me. Finally, I hope the next time you see an “alien”, “foreigner”, or “stranger” you won’t be afraid to cross the road.

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