This post was written by one of our EQUIP participants, sharing her heart and experiences during her 10 months in New York City. 

Seventeen years ago, I sat in a classroom watching a sunny episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog when the screen abruptly switched to news coverage. My five-year-old self watched in confusion as smoke billowed from a tall building in New York City. I remember the anchor stumbling over his words as live coverage showed the second plane hit.

Grown-ups told me later that Muslims had done it. The graven image of the extremist group’s leader would be burned in my brain in the coming months. I still remember a vivid nightmare I had of the bearded man standing in the corner of my room, threatening to take me from my family.

Today, I live in New York City, and it’s my first day teaching English to Arab-Americans. Many of my new students share distant ethnic roots with the man from my nightmare. Many will quietly mutter the name of their home country when asked, “Where are you from?” knowing its place on the travel ban list and the fear associated with their heritage in this country.

The truth is that my Muslim neighbors exude kindness and peace and don’t deserve to bear the shame and stereotypes formed on this day seventeen years ago. And even if that wasn’t the case, their souls would still share the same basic human need for a Savior.

God has promised that a remnant from this nation will be before His throne at the end of time, but He hasn’t promised that the journey to reaching them will be easy. Barriers must be crossed, trust must be established, and Truth must be proclaimed.

Just as the Son “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men,” join me in praying that God would give our team greater willingness, courage, and compassion to do whatever it takes on a daily basis.

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