|Small Section of My Neighborhood in Colindale, London|
Consider these pictures. Can you see the difference? Immediately, you might notice the weather or time of day but there is another difference, harder to spot: the perspective from which they have been taken.
The beautiful blue sky pictures are from today. I took them from my front door as I walked back from the after-school program I help at three times a week. I love getting to work with the sometimes sweet/ sometimes cheeky kids on things like pronouns, spelling, and figuring out the perimeter of a football pitch (soccer field). Today we worked on angles. I explained the word “horizontal” to one sweet young girl wearing a hijab by talking about the beach in California and the sun meeting the water at the horizon. Her older brother informed me that when I got back to CA and I should go out on a boat, I could watch the horizon to prevent myself from getting seasick. I thanked him for his advice.
The majority of children I spend time with there are Muslim. In fact, a large percentage of the population among which I live is Muslim. I go to a sewing group with Muslim women who sew pillowcases and burkhas. Most of our neighbors are Muslim and a couple men who signed up to do a house group on Sunday are converted from Islam.
So what is the point of these things: perspective, angles, and Islam? In the States and around the world, the topic of Islam and those that practice it is widely discussed. It is the 2nd most common religion in the world with around 23% of the world's population claiming it as their own. Have you ever spoken to someone who is Muslim? Do you have friends currently fasting for Ramadan? To be completely honest, I have not until this trip. This makes me wonder how many people in the United States would say the same even (perhaps especially) those in the Church.
These reflections leads mostly to more questions but here's what I do know. I know that the angle with which I see my neighbors has changed. I know that I should love more deeply and pray more fervently for my Muslim neighbors whom I have seen to be funny, intelligent, sassy, fashionable, good at geometry, great at encouraging, a protective brother, a loving mother, and a patient father. I should pray for my Muslim neighbors, not so they can become a Christian like me, but that they become more like Christ. I want my neighbors to have the same hope as I do. I want them to be able to spend their time until eternity serving God and loving his people with all the different gifts, stories, and strength that they bring to the family of God. All this I have not seen clearly until now, not until I have been given this change in perspective.
Hopefully, this post will be encouraging to you and give you a little slice of what God has been working out in my heart and day to day experiences here in London.
Much Love & Tiramisu,Olivia Faith Sales