Emily met Fatima through doing her Meeting with a Muslim assignment for EWI. The two were about the same age and really hit it off as friends. As their relationship grew, Emily found all kinds of ways to share more of her life with Fatima. Being a fairly new international student in the US, Fatima’s contact with locals was limited until she started hanging out with Emily. Over time, through Emily, she not only gained American friends, but she also got to know and interact with quite a few believers in Christ, some of whom she began to meet with regularly. Emily and Fatima still find plenty of opportunities to discuss their faith and dialog about different issues in their lives. Emily’s work is demanding and she is trying to discern God’s will for her future. Fatima struggles in this new country, without the support network she knew back at home. She is often lonely and unsure of which direction to go. Emily has been in a position both to encourage Fatima and share her source of hope. Emily has problems too, but it’s easy to see that her relationship with Jesus gives her strength and purpose for her life. As they’ve grown closer, Emily is more and more open about Jesus and her devotion to following him. She has a no-nonsense way of talking about the Lord and is unwavering in her convictions.
The friendship has been a meaningful source of comfort and strength to Fatima, and Emily’s deep faith has enabled Fatima to open up and trust her. Emily prays fervently for Fatima’s eyes to be opened to the good news of redemption in Jesus. Although she already has a very positive view of Jesus – and even believes that he rose from the dead – she doesn’t yet know him as her savior. But Emily is confident that it’s just a matter of time and believes the Lord has given her a vision of her Muslim friend finding salvation.
To her shock, Emily recently heard from a mutual friend that Fatima has decided to become even more devout in her practice of Islam. The reason? It’s all because of Emily. Her commitment to her religion has made Fatima want to exhibit the same kind of devotion to hers. Rather than becoming more interested in Christianity, Fatima is holding onto Islam with new fervor. And Emily wonders, “Where did I go wrong?” Have you experienced this? How would you answer Emily? We offer some thoughts on appropriate responses to this tension in the next entry, entitled “How Should People Come to Christ?”