I love meeting people from other cultures and with different religious beliefs. I don't leave the country very much, but I do look for and go to places where the odds of finding a foreigner are rather high. For example, after church today I went to an international store called the Jerusalem Market. No one was inside the store except an employee, an older man wearing a sports coat and a hat. Because I was nervous, I walked a few aisles as if I was looking for an item. I actually was praying and thinking of a way to start a spiritual conversation.
Me: Pardon me, sir. I have never been here before. Why do they call this the Jerusalem Market?
Man: (He did not look friendly) The owner is from Jerusalem.
Me: Since this is an international store, do you have a lot of people that come here with different religious beliefs?
Me: Does this store accommodate dietary restrictions for various religions?
Me: Do you have any religious beliefs? (He looks up for the first time as if he is now interested in talking). Are you Jewish? (He nods, no). Are you a Muslim?
Man: Yes. Muslims do not eat pork.
Me: Why do Muslims not eat pork?
Man: They are filthy animals.
Me: Do Muslims believe in the laws of Moses (Ten Commandments)?
Man: Muslims believe in all of the prophets in the Koran.
Me: Have you obeyed the laws of Moses?
Man: No one can, but I have probably done better than others. My good is more than my bad.
We spent a few minutes talking about the attributes of "Allah." I always use the language that different religions use. When talking with JW's I refer to the Lord as "Jehovah." Anyway, we both agreed that Allah was just. He would be corrupt if he allowed sin to go unpunished. I then shared with him that I am a Christian and that I can know for sure that I will be in "paradise." He quickly nodded and shared with me what I already knew, Muslims never know for sure if Allah will permit them to enter paradise. As I was informing him that Christ paid my fine, he would not stop nodding in disagreement. He would comment, "No. No way. That can't happen." He told me that someone paying my fine is impossible. After realizing that I was talking to a brick wall, we shook hands and parted ways. I wish that I had the need for international items more often. I could imagine that we would have a lot to share about every time I entered the store. Some people like to wait until they have established a deep and meaningful relationship before sharing the gospel. I have found that friendships do not become deep and meaningful until the gospel has been shared.