Have you ever heard of a holiday called Christmas?...yeah some people get presents at Christmas

In 2013 I stood on the banks of the Ganges River and observed a Hindu cremation. The verses from Romans 10 sprang to mind, “How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

God used this experience to burden my heart for South Asian people.

When God first opened the doors to move into a predominantly South Asian neighborhood in Ontario,

I visited a large Hindu temple. My heart was broken, yet filled with a vision to see whole families come to know Jesus and worship Him in their God-given language and cultural way. “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.”

(Psalm 67:3-4)

I have now been in Ontario for almost 2 years, and have been engaged in relationship-building through summer camps, tutoring, piano lessons, Bible studies, and a weekly youth church being held in my co-workers’ home. Through this evangelism and discipleship, God has opened the door for beautiful conversations. For example, a Muslim family I have been tutoring asked me, “Can you teach Safiyya about Christianity, but using the Bible?”      

I was humbled by this amazing invitation! As we began our first session, I asked Safiyya what questions she had about Christianity; all of her questions were about Jesus. So we began in Matthew 1, which includes the genealogy of Jesus. I shared with Safiyya and her mother how this genealogy shows God’s love for women - 5 women are included in Jesus’ genealogy, which would have been unheard of at that time! We have since engaged in discussions on Jesus’ death and resurrection, His miracles, and His unfailing love and mercy for humanity.

It is heartbreaking how many people in my community do not yet know Jesus personally.

One day I was walking around the neighborhood with two siblings from Somalia after we finished their literacy tutoring. We passed by a church with a nativity scene out the front, and I asked if they wanted to see it. “What is that?” they wondered aloud.  "Have you ever heard of a holiday called Christmas?”

I asked them.  “Yeah some people get presents on Christmas!" they both replied. “That’s true, but do you know why we celebrate Christmas? Have you ever heard of Jesus?" "Who is Jesus?” they asked.

I was able to share a bit of who Jesus is, and why Jesus came to earth. As we continued walking,

I taught them “Jesus Loves Me”. 

What a joy it is to daily walk with Jesus, to love the people He places in front of us, and to rest. assured of this hope of how the story ends, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb... And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

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