On a recent Sunday, I arrived at church early and noticed two women that didn’t appear to be regulars in our church. They wore hijabs.
Immediately, a number of questions raced through my mind. What were they doing? What would others think of them? While I have heard of many Muslim-background believers, it seemed like a bold step to set foot in a church. It’s a bold step for a seeker from any background.
Some looked at them with curiosity. Others approached with a smile. The pastor had questions. It didn’t appear as though anyone had security concerns, and no one spoke harshly to them or tried to make them leave.
These two women are not the radical extremists that try to blow up buildings. Muslim women often wear hijabs that cover everything but their eyes can still see how Christians respond to them. They see those who avoid eye contact with them or who purposely walk in another direction just to avoid them. If they are new to the area, few will make them feel welcome or loved. If they are shopping in grocery stores or malls with their children, it’s difficult to say how many will shy away from families who need community.
If the American church fails to reach out to them in these very public areas, one must wonder how any Muslims will feel welcome within the church.
The women in hijabs were not Muslims, but Christians who recently attended a conference to learn about outreach ministry to Muslim women. They wore the hijabs to create awareness within our own church of the need to see the women beneath the hijabs — women who we already care for and love. The church needs to see the women and men who need the love of Jesus.
One way of reaching out is to begin praying for the Muslim men and women and their families in your own community. Muslims will be fulfilling their annual fast during the month of Ramadan, which begins June 18. This month, VOM is partnering with the 30-Days Prayer Network to offer a free 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet with every donation.
“Ann Kay” is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.