July 1, otherwise known as... Canada Day. To most of us, that means a day off with family and friends, at a park or in the backyard around the grill. Sweet. But to thousands, Canada Day is a day to celebrate their new life in Canada. They’ve left their homes and intervening countries and arrived here under the sign of the maple leaf. Though life can still be hard and they may miss family and friends back home, they celebrate being here in relative safety and prosperity.
In Canada we pride ourselves on being polite and friendly. These are good things. We need to advance these good characteristics even more when engaging with newcomers to Canada, and – may I say – especially so with Muslims. Why Muslims in particular over other religious groups? Due to the behaviour of the radical fringes of some in Islam and the subsequent news coverage, all Muslims end up being painted with a broad brush of violence, fear and suspicion. Here’s the truth: The vast majority of Muslims are not like this at all. I know. I’ve traveled in multiple Muslim countries on four continents. Sat in their mosques. Ate with them in their homes. Discussed religion and politics galore, and more. Never have I been threatened. Even in some of the most reputedly and repeatedly extremist locations.
We need to be set free from a illusory fear that they’re going to suddenly turn on us and attack right here in our supermarket isles or sidewalks right here in Canada. You’re more likely to be struck by lightening than that.
How do you and I care for the lost among Muslim newcomers to Canada? Here are some principles, probing questions and recommended tools and resources to help:
Praying: Recognize that it is God’s will, plan and purpose for you and me to reach out in love to Muslims and other newcomers to Canada! And pray for your Muslim friends and Muslims across Canada. The religion of Islam is a huge spiritual stronghold. Yet also pray with your Muslim friend, for in this there are huge spiritual opportunities for God to be glorified!
Befriending: Get to know them. Rather than holding back in fear, practice hospitality (another Biblical command)! Invite them to your house. Once you do, you’ll have lots of invitations to their homes, too. Want help preparing in this area? Just ask!
Sharing: Give them the Word in your conversation, lifestyle, and in print. Give them a Bible or New Testament in their heart language! Check with the Canadian Bible Society to find the language they need.
Probing Questions: Consider these before the Lord.
- How am I intentionally directing my daily path to encounter Muslims, like Jesus when He said, “I must go through Samaria…”?
- How am I intentionally befriending the Muslims God brings into my path?
- How am I engaging others with me in reaching out to Muslims?
Tools or Resources:
Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is fabulous as he shares his own journey to faith in Jesus! He uses his life story along with the apologetic arguments he had to wrestle through to come to faith, teaching us along the way how to share with our Muslim friends. Visit Wordcom Christian Resources to obtain your copy.
Use one of a growing list of excellent DVD resources to help you and your family or group of friends to learn the liberating truth about sharing Jesus with Muslims! We recommend checking out Bridges from Crescent Project, Friendship First from Interserve, and Al Massira, too. Write us if you have trouble finding any of these. We’ll help!
Visit the Neighbours and Newcomers website and Facebook pages for prayer points and how to respond to the stream of media reports:
Plus there are lots of other good websites on ministries to Muslims, too.
God bless you as you reach out in love and wisdom to Muslim newcomers this Canada Day and beyond!