Paul recently joined one of our teams for a short term trip. Below he shares some of the things God showed him as apart of his time with us.
As the first day in Central Eurasia ended, I found myself most intrigued by the people here. Yes, the culture is starkly different than the United States. Yes, the multiple calls to prayer throughout the day are unlike anything I have ever heard. But the local people are still people. Just like us, they have feelings, issues, joys, and disappointments. Their faces and expressions tell the story of human emotion.
Their religion may be considered legalistic, but these people are far from robotic. As we walked through an important holy site in Islam, I saw people dealing with anguish. I saw others laying their requests before Allah. Others remained in reverent silence, with fear of looking up at Allah as they prayed in a language that many of them did not understand. All of them, however, sought answers. I sensed that they still craved truth and a sense of hope in a higher power. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them not knowing whether they stand on the right or wrong side of salvation.
Although some local people diligently follow the rules and requirements of their Islamic faith, it seems like complacency toward God has set in with a majority of the population in this city. I sense this even more in the younger generation. As I write this reflection, I hear another call to prayer echoing from a nearby mosque. The local people around me don’t even seem to notice it. It makes sense, considering that Islam’s rigid beliefs and requirements could never sustain intimacy with God. I pray that the light would begin to shine in the dark places of Central Eurasia. Again, I pray that the way of Christ would be revealed to the local people who have lost their own way.