Yesterday, I got to join up with a couple of our guys for a follow up appointment. Matt met “Onur” a couple weeks ago. After some light conversation over lunch, the conversation moved to spiritual matters. Onur shared that while he grew up a fairly religious Muslim, he now didn’t really practice at all.
A couple years ago, Onur had some major medical issues (the recovery meant that he had to defer a year of university study). During that time, he went to the Mosque. He prayed. He asked Allah for help. But no help came. So he drifted farther away from Allah.
“I think Allah exists, but he doesn’t really do much in the world. He created it and now he’s hands off.”
“What about you,” Onur asked. “What do you believe?”
One might mistake that for a witnessing opportunity. Matt, Brian (two of our project students), Onur, and I spent the next two hours talking about the Gospel. I got to share my testimony, talk about Jesus encounter with Peter in John 21, share an outline of the big picture of the whole bible, and share the story of Jesus encounter with the woman at the well in John 4.
I think the most fun part of the conversation was when Onur asked me, “What do you think about the afterlife?” To describe the new heavens and the new earth, I wanted to share a Tolkien line, “Have all the sad things come untrue?” And so I asked Onur, “Have you ever heard of ‘The Lord of the Rings?'” Onur turn his left arm over to reveal a tattoo on his forearm of the elven door into Moria (the door that says, “Speak, Friend, and enter.”)
“When I saw him turn his arm to reveal his tattoo, my jaw about hit the floor,” Brian said later to me.
Needless to say, my Lord of the Rings reference was a good one.
We talked a lot about what it means to enter the Kingdom of God. The question I asked Onur: “What does it take to enter the Kingdom of God?”
I suggested that one way to find out more would be to read some of the Incil (the New Testament) to see what Isa (Jesus) says about the Kingdom of God. And I suggested that maybe next week, Onur could connect with Matt and Brian to read the Incil together.
Over the last two weeks, Matt, Brian, and other students on the project have met with Onur a couple times to read the New Testament together. So amazing!
I would say that our conversation with Onur was probably the best spiritual conversation I’ve had here over the last two summers.
What about you? What’s the best spiritual conversation you’ve had lately?