The first time I remember getting to know an Arab family was in Moscow. I was there to teach English. My friends were there for economical reasons I believe. At first we had only occasional contact. Then I heard that one by one each one in the family had come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I decided to get to know them better and found that the knowledge of God had truly changed their lives. Their son, who spoke English, invited my teaching team to come and visit their apartment one afternoon. What a memory. They served us a simple meal and I learned how to eat cooked vegetables by pinching them with a piece of bread. It was too soon after that experience that the end of the school year came and I left for home, but God used that brief acquaintance to begin to give me a heart for the Arab people.
The second time was at the airport in Hong Kong. A few minutes before my plane left I noticed an Arabic man sitting by himself and went over to talk. He got to the point he wanted to make pretty quickly and we briefly discussed the difference between men wearing slacks and robes. To bridge the gap before leaving, I made it a point to look him in the eye, smile and a shake hands. (FYI: of course we always shake using our right hands and not our left, but with Middle Eastern culture this is especially important to show respect.)
The third occasion was more recently, in Ohio. On the way to a conference our family stopped at a gas station where I struck up a conversation with the young man at the counter. He was outgoing and soon we were talking about eternal things. He said he thought that the Bible couldn’t be trusted but he took a gospel tract. Then he asked “Are you a priest?” to which I replied I was not. We had talked about a lot of things in a short time but most of all I hope he could see, both from my life and words, that I was only a sinner saved by grace. I’ve always looked for ways that Christianity proves itself in areas outside religion and I think I may have been as grateful as he was to live in a Christian nation where two-way discussions can be carried on so freely in public. It was wonderful.
By the way, I should mention that when we reached the conference that weekend, I met another man, Don Richardson. Using analogies, Don Richardson has found the Gospel imbedded in the oral traditions of many cultures and nations. If you are interested in understanding and communicating the universality of Christian principles, I heartily recommend his books, available online at the link above.
“. . . I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the [Gentile]” (Romans 1:16).