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Talking with Grandma

The day my matchmaker encountered God’s love

It was extremely hot. Sweat rolled down my back and face and I began to pray, “God, please just provide a way out—please just let me go home.”

I was visiting my taxi family. I met them almost three years ago because of a business relationship with their son. The four brothers farm and drive taxis to earn their living. Their wives, children and Grandma and Grandpa stay at home. I’ve been visiting them regularly.

I usually enjoy a crazy and lively time with them in the kitchen or dancing to North African music, but on this day most of the family was away for a beach holiday. Grandma and Grandpa were there with one son and a daughter-in-law. The house was almost silent. In boredom and discomfort I wished for the luxury of my fan at home.

And there was another issue at hand. After lunch, Grandma sat next to me on the couch. I didn’t want to be alone with Grandma. I’m single. From her perspective, at the age of 32 I am in danger of never getting married.

A woman from a Muslim culture cannot survive as a single. Grandma is the most concerned and most aggressive about my marital status. When I am alone with her I anticipate another conversation about getting married to a single Muslim man she knows. Every few weeks I explain to her, “No, Grandma. I can’t marry a Muslim man. Because I follow Jesus I must marry a man who also follows Jesus. I am on one path; a Muslim man is on another. Our marriage would cause one of us to compromise. My relationship with Jesus is too important for me to jeopardize it for a man. I have family, good friends, a roof over my head and food on my table. God takes care of me better than any man ever could.” Though she listens, we go through the same dance every time we see each other.

I was frustrated that in the midst of this hot, stuffy day I was forced to endure the same conversation as she described another rich, educated, good looking and honest Muslim man. Then suddenly the conversation took an incredible turn. I firmly reminded her that I follow Jesus. She replied, “I know that. You are a Christian and you won’t marry a Muslim.”

I stopped short of my next sentence. Does she finally understand what I’ve been telling her for more than two years? Then she asked, “Do you believe that Jesus was born of a virgin?”

From this earnest question arose an incredible opportunity to share the Gospel. I pulled a Spanish hand fan from my purse and sat next to her to fan us both as I began to share who Jesus is. I told her everything. She listened; she asked questions.

We discussed the life in the body versus the life of the spirit. She wanted to know about death—I explained the difference between eternal life and eternal death. She is an elderly woman and this subject was very meaningful to her. We talked about how important it is to think about these things because death of the body will lead us to eternal life or death.

Toward the end of our conversation the Holy Spirit compelled me to be bold. I told her that I believe she has been deceived in her beliefs about God and that the only path to true, eternal and abundant life is Jesus. I said there is no way for me to convince her about who God really is, but that I pray for her and her family to one day have a relationship with Jesus. She was riveted and thankful for my prayers.

I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to share Christ with her of all people. I thought she was so hardened, so set in her ways. I was humbled by the fact that my own discomfort in the stifling heat made me so ready to escape instead of engage. But God didn’t answer my urgent plea to go home; he answered my steadfast prayers for an opportunity to share his love with this taxi family.

Amina is an American missionary serving in a restricted access country in North Africa. Her full name is not given due to the nature of her assignment.

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