What a delight it was to share in our friends’ holy day celebrations! Everyone was dressed to the hilt in new finery, and each home was ready to share whatever they had with whoever showed up at their door. Kim & Jan Cone and Roy & I arrived in town after their morning service, which, rather than being at the various local mosques, was a humongous gathering out of doors. As we understand it, the head imam or priest leads in prayer and preaches a short sermon, and then he sacrifices a ram, all in celebration of God’s provision of a ram in place of Abraham’s son up on the mountain, so very long ago. Then everyone returns home and dispatches a sheep of their own, to eat and share around. Our friend, A, said that the Imam spoke about equality; there being no difference between Fulani or white person or beggar or Gbaya or…, that we are all created by God and need to treat each other with love and mercy. We enjoyed warm welcomes and good sharing and lots of lamb/mutton!
At the last house, we finally fulfilled a long standing obligation to B – a year ago we blew the timing on his invitation and he waited and waited before we finally showed, and just 2 months ago at Ramadan we didn’t understand we had been invited, so he waited and waited and we never came. He has many sons and a brother in town, all storekeepers, all friends of ours, and thankfully they all descended on his house while we were there, thus providing an opportunity to interact with all of them, without going to each one’s home (which is what they did after we left). We just didn’t have the time to visit all the friends we would have liked to, what with the border crossing closing at 5:30. While at B’s house, we listened to an energetic debate amongst the brothers and uncle – it could’ve been Thanksgiving in the U.S. with a discussion about, say immigration, rather than Tabaski in Africa and a discussion about competition in marketing. We are blessed to call these ones our friends, and blessed that they are so open to us. It was a privilege to celebrate God’s faithfulness, love, and deliverance with them, and we pray that the Lord will reveal himself to them, as Messiah.