Loving Strangers

Hello, friends!
So, a few days ago, I finished Numbers and started Deuteronomy. I pretty much love Deuteronomy. Did you know that the word "love" appears lots and lots of times in Deuteronomy? Seriously, it does. But this morning I was reading as Moses rehashed the law of God for the new generation, and a command popped out at me. God said, "I love the aliens, so you should love the aliens too, because you were once aliens in a land not your own" (loose paraphrase). It hit me: God has a special place in His heart for immigrants, newcomers, and displaced people, and those are the people that I work with. They are not a nuisance to Him, as they struggle with language, culture, and culture shock; they are a group of people He has chosen to set His heart upon.

As of yesterday, I have been in Canada for six weeks, which is longer than I've been anywhere but home. I'm starting to feel at home here, to figure out the rhythms of life. I'm learning some Farsi and really beginning to enjoy being around lots of Iranians. I have eaten more rice in the past six weeks than I have ever eaten in my life, I think, but I am absolutely loving it.

I want particularly to thank my wonderful family at First Baptist Mt. Pleasant. I received a letter from my pastor's wife this Friday letting me know that the church would be praying for me last week (Canada post is not the fastest), and, looking back, I can certainly attribute a lot of this past week to y'all's prayers. I so appreciate that investment. As to the rest of you who have been praying for me, thank you too!

A couple of notable things from the past two weeks:
  • I learned something new about myself! I learned that, if I spend a significant amount of time listening to people talk in a language I don't understand, my brain get used to listening hard without any comprehension, and then I don't understand English either. Seriously. I have to ask people to repeat what they're saying, sometimes multiple times, before my brain registers that, yes, this is the language it knows. As you can imagine, this has led to some funny moments.
  • I met a man this morning who has come out of the Children of God movement, and he was scarred by it. Canada is two percent evangelical, but many of the people are terribly religious. The cults seem to have a great stronghold here, too. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses haunt the SkyTrain stations and, as you can imagine, cause quite a bit of confusion. Many, many ideas compete in this pluralistic society, and the voice of truth can be hard to hear.
  • I got to share in detail with the lady I met with last Friday. God totally opened the door for us to talk for an hour or so about judgment day, holiness, the gospel, and having peace with God.
  • I met a lady who wants to have done with Islam and to learn more about Jesus.
  • I got to substitute-teach two English conversation classes last week, and doors opened up for some good conversations there as well.
Prayer requests
  • Pray that God would use His Word powerfully where I've gotten to share it.
  • Please continue praying for good, hungry contacts.
  • Pray for vision and wisdom for the team as we continue together in ministry.
  • On March 27, my Iranian friends are hosting fifty people for a birthday party, where the birthday girl will share from Scripture at the party. Half of the people there will be Muslims; pray that God will open the doors for witnessing.
  • I have yet to get my work permit and BC Health worked out. Please pray that things would go smoothly with this.
  • Pray for wisdom as the team engages contacts through the Centre.
Again, thank you so, so much.

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