Drinking Tea with Refugees Opens Hearts
Salina understands women from Muslim families. She grew up with them as the Majority in her community. She knows the love of Jesus is the love women long for behind their veils. As she and Robin create relationships within Syrian communities, they ask God to help them develop relationships of trust with people far from home and far from God. Often, the connection begins simply by drinking tea with refugees. Because Robin and Salina speak the heart language of the people, the people open their homes and hearts to them.
An Invitation to Drinking Tea With Refugees
When Salina first met the Syrian women of the community, they were covered in full black burqas. The veils between them fell away as Salina chatted with them about her daughter and their children, opening their arms to embrace the treasure of the other. The language of mothers, spoken in Arabic, creates a bridge from one heart to another. Before long, the women invite Salina and her friend Ruth to come for tea.
With her little one bundled up against the brisk Asian sea air, Salina traveled across town to the refugee community. On the way, she and Ruth saw men pulling heavy carts filled with recyclables. The refugee men band together to gather and sell valuable pieces of refuse to supply for their families. It's not enough for all the families need.
Unveiled Mothers Pour Tea
Inside the apartment, Salina and Ruth see a table spread with plates of honey cakes, bowls of sunflower seeds, and biscuits. As the door closes securely, veils come down and women sit cross-legged on the floor, up close to the round table. They're careful with intimacy. After all, Salina says, "Most of them came by crossing the borders, sneaking into the country."
Children scoot up close to the table, and mothers pour steaming brown tea into glass cups. Laughter flows freely across the table. Sipping tea together, the mothers pass around their babes and share their lives in their heart languages. Drinking tea with refugees opens hearts.
As the women open their hearts, Salina and Ruth tuck the shared needs of the families into their hearts and minds. The nine women have twenty-five children, ranging in age from an infant to pre-teen. Globally, moms share the same concerns for their children, and the Syrian mamas worry about the need for shoes and coats for the cold winter. The leader of the women is Hannah, a common name in this region for centuries. She explains that some of the mothers have been in their "pass-through" country for five years or seven years. It's long enough for them to know colder days and nights are coming.
Open Hearts to the Heart Language
When mothers pull back their veils to share needs and embrace one another's children, trust is born. There will be many cup of tea in building these relationships. "They have a lot of needs," Salina reflects. Hearts open to Good News shared in the heart language.
- Pray for Robin and Salina to deepen trust with the leaders of the community.
- Ask God to open the hearts of the women to know the God who loves them.
- Pray for protection for Robin and Salina as they share the gospel boldly in a Majority land.
- Ask God to provide coats and shoes for the nine families as a way to open hearts to Jesus. You can help here.