The second floor of a Baptist church may seem an unexpected place for someone to start down the path of Islam. Maybe even more surprising--try a Baptist church...during a class on Buddhism...led by a retired Methodist minister.
A prison in Eastern Kentucky may seem an unexpected place to talk publicly for the first time about having found Islam. Perhaps even more surprising--try an Eastern Kentucky prison...during an inmates' class on world religions...led by a Baptist minister...who had asked a non-inmate church member to share about the experiences of becoming Muslim.
God has a funny way of weaving a tale.
It wouldn't be accurate to say our religious differences didn't matter. They did. They were vitally important. Religion is a serious subject for each of us, even if we sometimes have to laugh. But those differences also made for one of the most encouraging, most poignant moments of this whole effort at becoming.
It happened early on, just after a heart-wrenching confession that my late mother would almost certainly have been disappointed in me.
This loving friend paused for a moment. Then he said something that will, insha'Allah, always stay treasured deeply in this heart. He said, "How do you know? I mean, you don't know. Now that she's There, maybe she understands something she didn't before. Maybe God showed her something new, and she asked if she could show you, too. And God said yes because she loves you so much."
Whether he was right or wrong, Allahu a'lam (God knows best). What matters is that God's friendship is always coming along in the form of remarkable people. And the real beauty of that night was no different. That night when a then-reluctant-Muslim...and a then-retired Methodist minister...sat down to talk Buddhism...in the library of a Baptist church. Subhanallah.