I was walking along the Gold Coast promenade praying that God would lead me to someone to share with, and a tourist from the UAE nearly bumped into me as he was focusing on using his phone to get a shot of the beach in the moonlight.

It turned out he was visiting Australia from the only town in the UAE that I have briefly visited, so we shared stories of the best tourist spots in our respective countries. He was a very friendly guy. We had a great conversation about our families, work and cultures … but he was resistant to spiritually probing questions. I realised he believed his nationality and religion were inseparable, fixed and beyond question. To be from the UAE is to be Muslim. There is no other possibility.

We continued the discussion for a while. He was a very nice guy and genuinely good company. I can’t recall how it came up, but I somehow mentioned that part of my work involves helping a group of Afghan Christians. He was shocked. How were they Afghan and Christian? To be Afghan is to be Muslim. He didn’t think there was any other possibility.

He was intrigued. He had questions. God had opened a crack in his thinking.

We continued to discuss this as his son arrived. He introduced me and I thought, “What a great opportunity to share with his family as well!”

I should have known better. The conversation remained friendly, but all spiritual discussion had ended. Of course, there was no way he could be seen discussing these things in front of his son. To be from the UAE is to be Muslim. There is no other possibility.

But God has opened a crack. Pray that God would continue to shine light into the cracks, and that this friendly man would see and believe that finding and following Jesus is for all people everywhere!

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