My Friend Mohammad- Remembering To Be Like The Good Samaritan
By Brad Hewey
How should we treat others? Brad encourages us to be like the good Samaritan, as he tells us the story of how he came to know Mohammad and his family.
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My Friend Mohammad
Had you asked me 5 or 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago, would I have thought that I would have a Muslim friend named Mohammad, I would have thought it to be relatively impossible. The Muslim population in the province of Nova Scotia in the most recent census is only 0.4 of one percent. Minute. Most of that population base would be in and around Halifax, with tiny numbers scattered throughout smaller towns in the province.
Beginning late 2015, there was much in the way of government and media attention highlighting the plight of the growing numbers of refugees making a mass exodus out of Syria, being driven out, by the ravaging civil war, attacks on innocent civilian life, at the hands of their own government regime.
Sponsoring A Family
In December of that year, my wife and I were called upon to see if we would be willing to help out, in conjunction with 5 local churches, raising funds to potentially sponsor a family. With the partial aid of promised government funds, the group undertook to raise the additional $15 or $20k, and set the wheels in motion, toward sponsoring a family. Our fundraising efforts were blessed, and within a few short weeks, we had enough money to submit a formal request, and let the wheels of immigration for a refugee family begin to turn. Volunteers gathered info on renting a home, we began collecting furniture and household items, and assumed we had months to finish off our to-do list, prior to a family arriving.
We were very surprised and excited to find that within 2 weeks, a family had been chosen, and an arrival date was now in front of us. We knew very little about the family. We knew they had gone through the stringent vetting process that had been recently implemented by our government. We were given the names and ages of the man and wife, and their 4 children.
Prior to the day of their arrival, we made arrangements to rent a small bus, and travel as a group of about 20 to the airport. The bus would allow the family to complete their long journey intact, together with us, on the two and a half hour ride, late into the evening, back to the new home we had set up for them.
We anxiously waited at the airport arrivals gate with small Canadian flags and teddy bears and candy. None of us there, will ever forget the feeling inside, as we saw the family coming down the escalator, and through the glass security doors, to meet us for the first time. There were tears and smiles on both sides. The children were so adorable and engaging, the mom managed a warm smile, completely exhausted from a 36-hour journey filled with interruptions and delays, and Mohammad the dad, welled up with tears, as he put his hand to his chest… a gesture that meant so much. They knew not a single word of English, and apart from the translator we brought, we knew only standard greeting words you could count on one hand. Instantly an overwhelming sense of the reality of what we had undertook, became clear. But there was no anxiety.
We were exchanging smiles, and waving flags, and passing out toys long enough, that when we turned to retrieve the families’ luggage from the conveyor belt, there’s was the only luggage left. It was piled in a small stack on the floor. 7 medium sized bags for a family of 6. That was the sum-total of their possessions. That really resonated with me, and I had a lump in my throat. I realized I felt like a protective dad, I had to do all I could to care for these that were entrusted to me. Of course I wasn’t alone. The other volunteers shared in that same sentiment, and we were thankful to God for this opportunity to make a difference.
A Year Later
Recently the family just celebrated with us, their 1 year anniversary here in Canada. Their English is improving so much. The kids are excelling in school. Mohammad is holding down a day job, and working 3 evenings a week. We’ve helped him secure his drivers license, and purchase a used van. His wife, stays at home with the baby, a wonderful homemaker, so grateful for everything, and for the home we brought them into. With them we’ve celebrated birthdays, and holidays. They’ve been to church with us. They put up their first Christmas Tree, we’ve been there to show support as they’ve lost family members back in Syria. They are so appreciative of the love they’ve received, but the journey we’re on together, has blessed those of us involved, as much I’m sure, as it’s blessed the family. It has brought 5 churches together, into a closer bond of Christian love, and we’ve celebrated our fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ, and how he has led throughout the entire process.
It has for the most part, brought the community together. I say for the most part, as one can easily imagine, there are always those that are opposed, for various reasons. Even Christians in opposition, who are fearful of what they see to be the potential dangers.
The Story Of The Good Samaritan
But my heart rests in the story of the good Samaritan, where Jesus teaches that passing on the other side of the street, not acknowledging or responding to the situation at hand, is not the right thing to do. In Luke’s gospel story, the Priest and the Levite took notice of the man beaten and left for dead, but passed by, they were afraid to get involved. Afraid for their safety, afraid of contracting an infection or disease, afraid of guilt by association, or reprisals…whatever the case, Jesus tells us that the good Samaritan responded, in kindness and love. He was willing to act in faith, and have compassion on the “man who was left for dead”.
Our Syrian family, like so many, were in such dire need. They were willing to leave all behind, in hopes of a safe, happy life for their children. They fled smoke filled horizons, bombings, and death, and snow, and cold. My heart goes out to those that are still in camps, and unable to escape.
We as a group of Christians, who have sponsored this dear family, we act in faith. We’re trusting God to continue to lead. We felt God’s leading at the onset, and we see God’s leading, continuing throughout. And we have been so very blessed in the process.
Show The Light To Others
My friend Mohammad; for him and his family, I/we all pray, that they would experience the light of Jesus in their lives. We are trying to show them THAT LIGHT, by example. Syrian families, come from a region steeped in the history of the Christian faith. Remember, one of the greatest conversions of all time, took place on the road to Damascus, in Syria, Saul of Tarsus, would soon experience the life changing blindness that led him to the light of Christ, and Saul the persecutor, would soon become Paul the Apostle, and through Paul’s ministry to the gentiles, we are blessed with over a dozen new testament epistles, aiding and encouraging us on our own individual road.
Our church groups continue to water and to plant, sewing the seeds of Christian love with Mohammed’s family, and trusting that God will give the increase. As the language barrier between us becomes less of an obstacle, we are having small conversations about the Christian faith, and they are not opposed to listening. To God be the glory. But my prayer, our prayer for them, is no different than my prayer for anyone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Members in these small rural communities where I live, members of my own family. That they would understand their need of salvation, and that there is only one God, and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.
So, in summary, I say we really never know who God will put in front of us. Who he might place in our lives. I never would have dreamed, here in these rural parts of Nova Scotia, where often very little changes, that I would be blessed to have Mohammad and his dear family a part of my life. It warms my heart to know that they feel safe, to know that they are safe, our God leading the way, and I pray, leading them to newfound faith, eternal life in his blessed son, Our redeemer and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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HopeStreamRadio has been a huge blessing to me. Since I moved away from an area that had a lot of good Christian radio I have been looking for a station that I could listen to and be encouraged by. HSR has filled that void and it has also been exciting to be a part of the team that contributes to HSR.Mike from MS