Swahili and a Size Too Small


Skylar is a disciple-maker in Texas who used to work among Muslims in Africa. Here is her story of how God helped her start a new relationship with a Muslim woman at a clothing store simply by choosing to take notice of her and start a conversation!

Ask and You Shall Receive


"I'm using every opportunity I can to find and build relationships with people whom God is working in."

A couple months ago I was out shopping at the clearance store to get clothes for my new job. Like I try to do on every outing, I asked God for an opportunity to meet someone whose life He's working in.


I've made it part of my normal routine to intentionally look for people God has prepared around me so that, whether I go to the movies, the gas station, or, in this case, the store, I'm keeping my eyes open. I'm using every opportunity I can to find and build relationships with people whom God is working in.


I was perusing through the aisles when I came upon a Muslim woman who looked African to me. I spent years overseas as a missionary in an African Muslim context so I can recognize them from a mile away. Or in this case, an aisle away.


Sorry.


Swahili and a Size Too Small


"While I thumbed through these would-be corsets, the woman noticed me and smiled, so I smiled back. Then I just went for it."

Anyway, I made my way over to where this woman was and quickly realized the clothes here weren't my size. They were small and extra-small and, well, I'm a bit fluffier, you see. But I wouldn't be dissuaded. I marched right up to the opposite side of the rack she was at and started feigning interest in some blouses that would've undoubtedly cut off my circulation. While I thumbed through these would-be corsets, the woman noticed me and smiled, so I smiled back. Then I just went for it.


"Hey!" I said. "You look very similar to people I used to live with overseas. Do you mind me asking which country in Africa you are from?"


Her eyes widened and she looked me over, no doubt shocked that someone in the states could tell her apart from any other Muslim without having to be told.


"Yeah, I'm from Kenya," she replied, so I gave her a greeting in Swahili at which point a wide smile brightened her expression.


"Oh my goodness! How do you know Swahili?" She asked.


I told her where I had lived overseas and she knew that I must be very familiar with Muslims.


From there we got to talking about our families. One thing that's really cool about Africans is they don't ask many surface level questions. In the West we might be asked by someone how we are and how work is going, and it's a toss-up whether they really care or they're just being polite. Overseas, people ask about you, your health, your family's health, whether there's any new news, and they legitimately care, which gives you an opportunity to already get into more meaningful conversations.


We talked for a few minutes, exchanged numbers, and before I even left the store she texted me to say that her heart was so happy to have met someone because she'd been living here for many years and still didn't have hardly any American friends.


Keep Your Eyes Wide Open


"We won't simply stumble upon Persons of Peace or meaningful relationships with lost people. We need to be intentional about seeking them out."

Going through life with blinders on is the standard operating procedure in the west and, sadly, even in our churches here. However, if we can learn to live differently with intentionality as we go out, looking for ways to build relationships with the lost around us and praying for God to guide us to people we can engage, we will be surprised at how quickly He answers and gives us the desires He wants us to have. God wants us to go out and find the people He's drawing and aid them in their journey to Him.

Just having the courage to go and ask this woman where she was from led to a new relationship that we're continuing to nurture. We greet each other every day, we share updates about our families, and we are finding ways to spend time together in person.


It's so exciting to be able to continue ministry in the way that God has designed me, with my experience overseas and my heart for Muslims, and I don't know that this would've happened if I hadn't taken the time to ask God to open my eyes to people I can engage.


I think the biggest takeaway for me, and what I'd like to impart to others is that we won't simply stumble upon Persons of Peace or meaningful relationships with lost people. We need to be intentional about seeking them out.




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