Fasting with our neighbors during Ramadan
Observing the traditional fast creates opportunities for meaningful conversation.
Jane* is part of a church-planting team with SIM in Central Asia, hoping to start a church amongst a minority people group. She and her teammates look for ways to introduce Jesus that are culturally resonant.
Over the past few months, I have felt God prompting me to fast, so I began fasting one day a week. As this year's Ramadan season approached, I felt prompted to fast in a more significant way. I decided, following the practice of our local Muslim minority group, to abstain from food until the evening.
I did not have any expectations of what would happen during this time, but God surprised me.
We live in an environment where local people are rarely open to considering the Gospel. We are intentional with sowing spiritual seeds, by rarely have - or expect to have - the opportunity for in depth conversations about Jesus or religion or spirituality.
But during this time I had the opportunity to tell a friend I was fasting during Ramadan - just like her. She was elated and we engaged in a 45 minute conversation about Jesus. We discussed what fasting meant to her, and I shared what it meant to me. She noted that her people fast out of duty, where as I fasted out of love.
I am usually not a dreamer, but following that discussion I had a dream where I decided to cut my hair. In my dream, as I turned my head sideways, my face became the face of one of the local Ewe* people.
My friend often shares dreams with me, so I shared this strange one with her. She was touched. People here take dreams very seriously and she instantly saw the meaning.
Indeed, God has given me a love for her and her people, which she could discern through our conversations.
The dream has been the start of more conversations with my friends about dreams, evil spirits, and a relationship with God. I believe that fasting created the bridge to these conversations, and I have prayed for more opportunities to arise in the weeks and months ahead.