Random picture, Layla and the tomato plantsWow, the month is half over already? It has gone by so quickly! The last few days have been great here. I'm keeping up with my reading schedule, Al hamdulillah, and I have been absorbing a lot of material.
I have split up the Bible reading a little bit so I don't get burned our while reading the longer books. I have been reading 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each day, and I'm reading all the Pre-exilic prophetic books before I read Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Post-exilic prophets.
When I get to the gospels, I may read using this Synopsis of the 4 Gospels that I have. It has the text in parallel columns for each pericope that the Gospels have in common. If something is only in 1 of the Gospels, it just appears by itself. I think that might help me absorb more material rather that just reading through all 4 in a row.
There has been a lot of material that I felt like I grasped better than other times I have read through the Bible, but since I'm reading through so fast, its hard to apply the information. I have a few scribbled notes though, so some of them may turn into posts in the future.
The Quran is also going well. I have just been reading the Juz for each day, which really isn't that much.
I also skipped ahead and read some of the shortest surahs already. I also have some notes on passages in the Quran that spoke to me as well.
On Tuesday, I went to an amazing Iftar dinner with some new friends here in Portland. My friend Erin was having some of her friends from the Masjid and the Islamic school where she teaches over. We have just been friends online for awhile, so this was our first time meeting in person. She has two young daughters, and is married to a Somali. Her SIL Rooda was there and is also going to help me get connected with some Somali translators here. We are also planning to take the kids together to an Eid party at their Masjid.
Layla had fun playing with the kids and their goat, Baraka, who lives in the backyard. There were lots of kids to keep her busy, so I actually got to spend lots of time talking with all the ladies. There were so many ethnicities; Pakistani, Korean, Indonesian, American, Somali. There was such a peaceful feeling when everyone prayed Maghrib together too. I got to talk to Tasnim, one of the Pakistani ladies for awhile. She was very knowledgable about Islam and just had a joy and peace about her. I got to talk to her about how I was first introduced to Islam, and that although I am not officially a Muslim, Islam will always be a part of me. She seemed to understand what is really important in the diin and what really matters in life. She is the kind of Muslim who keeps drawing me towards the community.
Ramadan has been a really beautiful month so far. I am feeling better connected now that I have my best friend Amanda here, and a new group of friends here. I will be going to a Sabbath service tomorrow at a Messianic church and bringing a book about Islam to a friend there. It is called Miniskirts, Mothers, and Muslims: A Christian Woman in a Muslim Land. I would definitely recommend it. The author is remarkably sensitive to Islam, and I can see how she too, has become a better person and Christian by being around Muslims. I liked it because even though the author sees herself as a missionary to Muslims, she had to change her own worldview of Islam after truly experiencing it.
I wish that more Christians weren't afraid of and biased against Muslims. I think that it just takes building a lot of relationships, one at a time.
Hope the fasting is still going well for everyone and don't forget to make lots of dua too!