Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My dirty little secret.

So I have a dirty little secret...my minivan is disgusting. I know what you are thinking, "my car is dirty too, who's isn't with kids?"  I have heard you all apologize for your car with a picture book a match box car and a few raisins scattered on the floor and I have wondered why the heck are they apologizing because mine is covered in single shoes, enough toys to stock a store, crumpled school papers, floaties, goggles, a mildewing towel and then the snacks. Oh the snacks...that's what started the problem. You see we have squirrels in our yard who have become addicted to pretzels, Cheerios, veggie straws, peanut butter sandwich crusts, french fries, and the list could go on.  At first they just collected the crumbs which fell from our proverbial minivan table but then they got bold. They started to get into our van if the door was left open for a while to feast on the smorgasbord of treats. A few times the children were buckled in and we looked to see a little nutty rodent sitting on the edge of the sliding door enjoying the discarded Cheetos. Twice I have opened our door to have a squirrel run out after being trapped for an hour or two. Then the animals began to think all cars that pulled into our driveway held such amazingness so they began to get in the cars and trucks of people visiting. It was getting out of control and then last night it all came to a head. 

     It was 11:15 pm and I went to the van to grab my phone charger when I reached in I heard a squeak. I thought surely I am hearing something. I shut the door and then decided to open the sliding doors to just double check. I opened them but nothing came out of the van. Then I heard another squeak and and a tcktcktcktck. I still wasn't convinced it was in there hoping it's under the van. I went inside to get Dave and with a eye roll he slipped on shoes and came out. He opened the doors again and still nothing, he poked around again and then we heard another tcktcktcktck. Oh crap there was a squirrel. But where was it? After following a trail of poop and chewed up pieces of carpet on the floor board, we discovered the squirrel had trapped himself in the dash of my car. This would be the point where we might have said a cuss word. All the commotion got our neighbor Calvin's dogs barking which led him outside to quiet them. He saw us and asked if all was ok. We answered, "oh just the usual squirrel stuck in the dash board." He told us he would put on some clothes and head over. Now at this point the squirrel had been in my car for around six hours so the sounds of the trapped squirrel  became more and more labored. It was clearly hot, tired and scared. Panic filled my mind, "What if this thing is stuck and it dies in there!? My car will smell of rotting squirrel! How do you recover from that? Does insurance cover  dead squirrel stuck in the dash?" About this time our neighbor arrived and I profusely thanked him,  he replied, " that's what neighbors are for." I am not sure squirrel fumigation from a car dash at midnight is in the same level as borrowing a cup of sugar, I think it set him at a level called super duper neighborly. The men proceeded to take my glove compartment apart which was slightly terrifying since their face had to be in squirrel biting range. Even after the removal of all the things that could be removed on my dash there  was still no sign of the squirrel except the pathetic sounds of a thirsty dying rodent. I called a wild life rescue number while the guys continued to try and scare him out.  After I left a messaged with the the rodent removal folks I got desperate, I decided to exorcise that squirrel,  I cried out, "In Jesus name, squirrel  come out of my van!" Dave was in the drivers seat and Calvin was in the passenger banging on the dash when for the first time we heard him skitter, he moved  and was no longer on the right side. But where was he!?? One more hit of the dash and the squirrel flew out over Daves feet and back to the wild! 

     The three morals of this story are:
1.) if your van is disgusting beware animals may move in
 2.) if you are a squirrel and you go in a van full of snack food crumbs thinking its is heaven it might become your personal hell and you end up trying to gnaw your way through the plastic of the sliding door desperately trying to escape.
 3.) Prayer works 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Faithful Ordinary.

#prayfordallas #altonsterling #prayfororlando #prayforiraq #prayforbangledesh #prayforsanbernadino #prayforpakistan #prayforbrussles  #prayforparis #prayforcharleston #trayvonmartin #walterscott #blacklivesmatter #bluelivesmatter

"In those days, Israel had no King and every man did what was right in their own eyes."  -Judges 21:25

I do not think in my lifetime I have ever felt these words are more true. This scripture for months has been heavy on my heart with each attack or killing the truth of this verse has been pushed deeper into my soul. The night after the Dallas attack my heart could take it no longer I felt in despair, right before I went to bed I looked up this verse and as I read it the Spirit reminded me of another scripture which starts out with these words from the same time period, "In the day when the judges ruled there was famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons...these took Moabite wives, the name of one was Orpah, the other Ruth." In the days when everyone did what was right in their own eyes, in a day when no one followed a King, in a day when injustice, brokenness and tragedy seemed to be the rule  God's sovereign hand was on a young girl named Ruth. When the the people thought there was not King in the land to follow she followed the true King of Israel through the simple decision to care for her Mother in Law. In this story God provided for two widowers through a Kinsman redeemer named Boaz. They were restored by him financially, socially and emotionally. One family preserved. But we know this preservation was far greater than just a single family, it was even bigger than the preservation of Israel, it was about the preservation of the whole world. For from the line of Ruth and Boaz would come King David and from David's line would come the King of Kings, Jesus. John Piper says this about the story of Ruth. "It's a story that shows how "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform." It's a story for people who wonder where God is when there are no dreams or visions or prophets. It's for people who wonder where God is when one tragedy after another attacks their faith. It's a story for people who wonder whether a life of integrity in tough times is worth it. And it's a story for people who can't imagine that anything great could ever come of their ordinary lives of faith. "
It is a story for Dallas, it is for the black men wrongly killed, it is for Iraq , Bangledesh, San Bernardino, Pakistan, Brussles, Paris, Charleston, it's a story for all of us. It is a story reminding us even when it appears no one honors the King, God is still in control, God is providing for all those who walk faithfully through a Kinsman redeemer named Jesus. Ruth had no idea the savior of the world would come from her blood, she simply did what was right in Gods eyes. Even though she herself was a widow she chose to forfeit her future, considering her Mother in Law, Naomi better than herself. She declared her allegiance to her Mother in Law and called the God of Israel her King. She left her family and went to a foreign land to do whatever she could to provide for Naomi. She was faithful to what was in front of her. She had no plans to help save Israel, certainly no plans to participate in the redemption of the whole world and the eventual destruction of all that is evil, she simply was faithful to her King. When we hear of tragedies every day, it seems there is no king in the land and everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes it is easy to despair. But when despair threatens to paralyze you remember Ruth an ordinary faithful girl who chose to follow the King when every one else believed their was no King in the land and do the same. Like Ruth look for who God has put in front of you who needs you and be faithful. For He delights to use the faithful, ordinary to participate in the saving of the world.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Baby Shower for Ben's Friends!

Our son is an orphan for only 18 more days but his friends at Morning Star and Jiao Zuo City Childrens Welfare Institute remain in the care of the PR of China. He will come home to his sailing themed nursery,  a playroom full of toys, an art closet full of fun supplies and most importantly a family who loves him but his friends will remain. His friends at Morning Star have been like family to Ben and we want to leave them with some new toys and items that can just make the daily routine for his caregivers easier.  Morning Star does an amazing job with their resources making their house a home for these children but they still have many needs because they put the majority of their money toward expensive, wonderful workers, heart surgeries and long hospital stays. Because these children are medically fragile many of them are developmentally delayed so we would love to bring new learning toys!  Our family has already collected a bunch of Melissa and Doug toys for them but we would love to add more to the suitcase.  We also received an email from Jiao Zuo City Children's Welfare institute where Ben lived the first 6 months of his life highlighting some fo the items they need, including clothes, cleft pallet bottles, bibs,hand towels and toys.  It is a huge orphanage housing hundred of children so our items may not make a big dent but every item helps. So, in honor of Ben's upcoming adoption we are throwing Ben's friends a shower Amazon Style! We have created a Baby Registry with items you can buy and have shipped straight to our house. We will host this baby shower for 3 days and then need to close it, so we can assess what we have and pack up for China! Thank you for considering helping us shower these children with love!! 
PS There are 2 or 3 things we will add to our items we are bringing for Ben mixed in the registry list, so don't worry he is not completely left out of the shower fun! HAPPY SHOPPING! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Repent for Orlando

“Oh, this was the great ploy of Satan in that kingdom of his: to display such blatant evil one could almost believe one's own secret sin didn't matter.”-Corrie Ten-Boom

In recent years when I have heard the news of mass shootings, statistics on abortion, hate crimes toward  minorities or homosexuals, terrorism, human trafficking, crimes against children and other evils the spirit has been leading me to a place of repentance even before I pray for the comfort of the victims. It might seem a strange thing to ask forgiveness from God for something someone else has done but it has proven to deepen my understanding of Gods grace and love.  In western cultural we view the world as an individual, when evil occurs we point to the person obviously culpable but we often disregard where we as a society may be at fault. Our connectedness is real and our responsibility for evil in this world is real. We are all children of Adam and Eve and we participate unknowingly and sometimes knowingly in the greater evils of this world. If you have viewed pornography you have personally offended God, violating yourself and the person you are viewing but have you considered that you also have contributed to the culture that created human trafficking? When you click on that website you might feel guilty but do you think about your responsibility for a child enslaved and  forced to do unspeakable things?  When a Islamic extremist goes on a shooting spree you might cry out about the injustice of an evil religion but have you reached out to Muslims in your community in friendship or prayed for ISIS and those who seek your destruction? If not then is there a place for you to repent? When you hear people justify the murder of 53 people created in the image of God because they disagree with the lifestyle of these people and you do not defend them is your silence contributing to the hate which caused their blood to be shed?  
Millard Erickson said this, 
"On the personal level, a healthy and honest look at any corporate sin promises healing and transformation if repentance is involved. Our gracious Father who sent His Son to die for the sins of the world (I Tim 2:6) desires us to repent from our sins and depend on Him (Jn 15:5). A healthy understanding of the horrid and deep extents of sin will help us to recognize sin and deal with it. Ignorance and naiveté of corporate sin will only limit the depths of our transforming relationship with our Savior. To ignore and disregard the weight of corporate sin is in itself a sin, the sin of omission and self justification."

Let us not miss our responsibility no matter how small in this massacre in Orlando, let each of us repent.  And may repentance come with action and change,  ask God how he might want you to reach out to the homosexual community and the Muslim community in light of this tragedy.  
O Lord be gracious to me; heal my soul for I have sinned against you.  Psalm 41:4
You have shown me what is good and what is required of me but to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you my God. -Micah 6:8

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Party on the Porch! Beauty +Dignity

A little over a month ago I visited the Fashion and Compassion boutique, office and studio where I had the incredible privilege of having lunch and talking about the word of God with some of the brave and beautiful local artisans. This is what I wrote after leaving the lunch and Bible Study that day.  "Today I went to church but there were no stain glass windows or baptismal fonts yet we broke bread, read the word together and met with our Jesus. Our church building was a jewelry boutique, hands busied at work making jewelry before they stopped to pray and break bread together. It was a group of women loved by Jesus, black, white, brown, American, Rwandan, Ecuadorian, Indian, rich, poor, middle class, skinny, full figured, uneducated, educated, young, middle age, older, broken, forgiven, beautiful and dignified. It was breathtaking. There are moments on earth where you taste heaven and today was one of those. I was invited into the Fashion and Compassion's sweet fellowship to witness a miracle which happens every Wednesday. Women coming out of trafficking, addictions, or abuse sitting around a table of dignity, making jewelry. And this table of dignity in Charlotte extends to five countries where hope is made with each necklace, purpose is created with every earring and love is built with each bracelet. Fashion and Compassion is not simply jewelry it is freedom and dignity for those made in His image."

This first impression had me asking myself, "Rachel, what can you do to support this mission?" After 37 years of life I have learned a few things about myself and one of them is as much as I would like to be the business owner, the missionary, the ministry leader God usually says no but instead  asks me to be the people gatherer.  I gather people together and rally them toward Jesus and the things Jesus love, its what I have been doing since I was a young. I don't know if its a spiritual gift but its what I do, so I started contacting blogger friends I had in Charlotte and asked them to help me tell the story of Fashion and Compassion by throwing a party.

We knew most of you could not come to the party because you don't live in Charlotte but we brought in my friend Christy to take photo's so you could feel like you were there with us!

It didn't take much convincing to gather these beautiful women behind this cause. I pretty much had to say where and when and they were in!  
This Gathered Nest, At Home With Natalie,  Rachel BaxterNourish CltRenee SwopeA Mustard Seed Journey,
Kate and BraunMultiple BlessingsA Beautiful Exchange.

I couldn't have asked for a better group to hostess with me. When you bring a bunch of passionate women together it is electric and that is exactly how it felt as you walked around the boutique during the party. I loved hearing ladies sharing the vision of Fashion and Compassion as I walked from room to room. Sure we were holding up jewelry to see what look best on one another but we were also holding up women, children and their communities with each piece.
Each piece of jewelry represented hope, dignity, freedom, peace, restoration, community and unity for women in Charlotte and around the world.
A few of us ladies who had "older" little girls invited them to join us for the evening. We wanted them to see their mothers doing something fun but with a greater purpose. The girls were giddy when they found out they were allowed to pick out something to wear for the night. I wore the strands of hope necklace and it sold off my neck 3 times! 

We even wanted our food to have purpose at this party so we catered our cupcakes from the amazing Neet Sweets. Antonia or "Neet" the owner and head baker is a trafficking survivor and employees other survivor and happens to make the most delicious strawberry cupcakes!

We had a few local companies donate some yummy treats and drinks including Duck Donuts, Sun Flour Bakery and Chick-Fil-a on Independence in Matthews. We love local business who care!

My Favorite part of the evening was walking around sharing the story of this beautiful ministry.  We talked about the beauty and dignity of work and the freedom it brings to the women who sit right here in the Charlotte studio creating Jewelry. We spoke of women rescued from slavery in Ecuador finding hope through creating bracelets and necklaces out of acai seeds, tagua nuts & orange peel. We discussed community preservation happening in Mexico through beautiful metal jewelry handcrafted in a rural village deep in the heart of Mexico where families remain intact because of work available through a local metal workshop.
It was clear through these stories that

when people are given the dignity of a hand up instead of always a hand out something beautiful takes place, they start to see who they really are, who God created them to be. 

I was so thankful for all who came out to shop and to learn! It helped that Mothers day was just two days away. I think a few mom's took the liberty of purchasing their own present, I know I did. 

One of the sweet bonuses of the night was having our daughters attend and set up with us. I loved sharing with my girls in age appropriate ways how Fashion and Compassion is bringing beauty and dignity to women through jewelry making. The little girls ran around together laughing and giggling, trying on necklaces, sitting in the artisans chairs and hearing their mamas share their hearts for why they love what happens through the ministry of @fashionandCompassion. We hope and pray our girls will be a new generation of compassionate women who recognize their own brokenness and link arms with other broken women to find healing. When our girls see their own need for the gospel they will be gospel spreaders through word and deed, it is the way the gospel always goes forward, one needy person to the next. There is only one Savior and his name is Jesus.

Now head to Fashion and Compassion and purchase some beauty and dignity for women just like you!

Thank you all who attended this virtual party, now hop on over to these other wonderful ladies blogs and read their perspectives on the party! This Gathered NestAt Home With Natalie,  Rachel BaxterNourish CltRenee SwopeA Mustard Seed Journey,
Kate and BraunMultiple BlessingsA Beautiful Exchange.
Thank you ladies for hosting with me, it was an honor, I hope you are up for doing it again next year!

Also don't forget to head to my instagram to enter to win this amazing prize package worth $145 donated By Caroline Simas, the artist behind Multiple Blessings an art studio which shares space with Fashion and Compassion! All you have to do is follow @carolinesimas and @fashionandcompassion to be entered!

Watch this video but grab some tissues first!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Introducing Benjamin David Baxter!

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”-Jesus

     An idea was impressed on me as a child, family was more than blood, family was as big as your heart could grow to make room for others. I have always known I would adopt, I just didn't know when or more importantly who. When Dave and I made a family together eleven years ago, we knew one day we would grow our family through adoption.  Through the years of waiting to start the adoption process we wondered if the child would be a boy or girl,  what color eyes and hair would she have, where would he come from, how old would she be, what would his name be? And at last two weeks ago our long awaited questions were answered when we received the phone call that the adoption file for the baby we had been pursuing for 11 months was waiting in our inbox to see if we would say yes.  Our baby is a chubby, precious boy, with deep brown eyes and dark brown hair. He is from Henan province in China, he is two years old and his name is Da Yuan, his new name is Ben. 

     Last spring Dave and I went on our 10 year wedding anniversary trip to the beach and spent a lot of time praying about moving forward towards adoption. In the month that followed we researched and landed on adopting from China which was funny because it was a country I had never really considered adopting from but God was making it clear. One afternoon after we had chosen China I remembered that I followed a young woman on Instagram named Meredith who worked for an orphan ministry named Morning Star in China. I also thought I remembered a little boy with Down Syndrome who lived at her home - a boy who was around the age we were interested in adopting.  I got on IG and started looking at her feed and that is when I saw this photo of Ben.

I was immediately in love with this chubby boy and started looking up all his photos.  I sent a picture to my husband and asked if I could email to ask about him. He said yes but cautioned me not to get my hopes up. We began the long search to find this specific child's file. Through a series of miracles we ended up on the path to our boy. Through the entire 11 months we never knew for sure he would be ours. When you search for a file in this way you can never be certain you will obtain it. We stepped out in faith that one day he would be ours but trusted the Lord he may be using this little boy to lead us to another child.  

A few weeks into the process we discovered a lot more photos of our boy when we realized speaker and author Jen Hatmaker was one of his sponsors. She clearly loved him and was a big advocate for Morning Star. The photos we saw on Meredith's and Jen's feeds were our life line through the year as we waited to hear if we would be able to get his file. Even though we couldn't tell anyone about him all year and we had no guarantees,  he had already become ours in our hearts.  So we pushed forward with our paperwork and prayed nightly that the door would be opened for Ben to be our son.

And then two weeks ago all the waiting and unknowns came to an end.  I was in the grocery store when I missed a call from our adoption agency.  Then an email popped up which said, "please give us a call we have good news." I flew through the store to purchase my items because I was already late to pick up Henry from school. We got to the school and the little kids and I jumped out and yelled to Henry the adoption agency just called. They all stood around me as I called them back and then I heard the words we had been praying to hear for 11 months, "We have Ma, Da Yuan's file!" I immediately started crying happy tears and thanking my agency profusely for the hard work and after getting a few questions answered I hung up and called Dave.  He was blown away, excited and in shock like I was. We then ran into the school to tell Ellie. She was in the middle of class and the whole classroom stood up cheering. It was the sweetest celebration! I opened the long awaited file and read the few but beautiful details it provided about our baby with such joy. We immediately wrote our letter of intent to China to be chosen as the family for Ma, Da Yuan and this Thursday China said Yes. We are now 9-12 weeks until we travel to bring our boy home. It has been a sweet two weeks telling close friends and family that Ben is ours but after two weeks of holding the news close we were ready to announce to the world, Ben is our baby!
The Baxter's are proud to announce 
the newest member of our family, 
Benjamin David Baxter. 
Officially becoming a Baxter Summer 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Are the Muslims our Ninevites?

 Do you remember that flannel-graph Jesus from Sunday school? Well, that’s at least what I grew up with. I learned about various Bible heroes through their 2-dimensional paper cut outs that seemed to magically stick to the flannel board. While these lessons in my childhood did a great job of introducing me to various Bible stories and characters, they somehow fell as flat as their 2-dimensional representations. These stories gave a tame and sometimes inaccurate view of what was actually happening with these various Bible heroes and an even tamer view of the God orchestrating all the lives described in these books. Take Jonah for instance. His story is often made uncomplicated because of the childhood illustrations of storms, whales and ships. I always pictured Jonah as this grumpy prophet who disobeyed God, but then got a big kick in the pants and was sent back on his way. But it was far more complicated.

      Jonah was God's prophet. He was God’s chosen voice to Israel.  He was called to protect them, to help build Israel, to warn them of danger within and without. In fact, during the time he was instructed to go preach to Nineveh, he had recently participated in a great victory for Israel. In an article, Steve Collins said this about Jonah:
"Being a prophet with a good message about the kingdom would have made Jonah popular at the king’s court and Jonah would surely have felt he had a role in Israel’s resurgence. Jonah would have had every right to feel a patriotic pride in Israel’s restoration and he likely looked forward to Israel become steadily stronger." 
 You can understand a little better his reaction when God tells him to go and preach warning and repentance to one of Israel’s enemies. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire and was a great threat to Israel. They were not just a threat they were straight up violent and evil. In the Veggie Tales rendition of this story, the Ninevites are depicted as mean people who slap each other with fish. While this version of the story does a great job of engaging its young audience, it is far from the reality of what happened in Assyria at this time. They were a violent kingdom that boasted of its evil. They did not just behead their enemies, they made their heads pillars around the city. They skinned their enemies and laid the skins over the wall, cut off limbs of those who rebelled, burned captives alive, displayed the bodies of their enemies throughout the city as examples and were an excessively violent enemy of Israel. 

       As I study and read about the Ninevites, my mind can not help but drift to modern photos of blindfolded men executed on beaches, bombers pushing explosives hidden in suitcase carts into airports, gunman walking into Christmas parties shooting anyone moving, men strapping bombs to themselves and getting in line next to women and children waiting to ride a carousel, men hijacking planes and flying them into towers.  Nineveh was very much like modern Muslim extremism. As I see the comparison, I can't help but relate to Jonah's response. He has been charged with protecting and building the Kingdom of Israel and now God was asking him to preach a message of hope to his enemies. He knew his God was merciful. He had seen it displayed over and over again to Israel. He probably wondered, "What if God is merciful to the Ninevite? What will this mean for Israel? Would Israel be able to remain stronger than Nineveh if God himself would forgive and bless this enemy?" There has not been an enemy to America and Western civilization like Islamic terrorism since the Cold War and others would argue since World War II. With images as I described before of children being blown up and towers tumbling to the ground full of human souls, it is hard to be sympathetic to the Muslim. It is hard to hear God's message to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all I have commanded you." The violent atrocities make you want to choose which nations God is referring to. It makes you want to hop on a ship like Jonah and go the other way. 

       Recently, I was speaking with a Christian friend I respect and I was telling him about four Wycliffe Bible translators who were recently killed in Iraq by ISIS and his response was, "Not the right place to be right now." But is it really not the right place to be? Isn't it exactly where we should be? When I hear the Islamaphobia coming from conservative politicians, evangelical Christian leaders and those who say they love Christ, I can't help but wonder if we are not Jonah and the Muslims are our Ninevites.  Are we afraid America will be weakened if God displays mercy on Muslims? Are we like Jonah hiding in the hold of a ship, hoping this terrorism culture will just miss us?  Is our self-protection out weighing our desire to see Muslims hear the gospel?

     When Jonah ran from God's plan, he was disciplined in the belly of a big fish. God's mission, despite Jonah's disobedience, was still accomplished. In fact, God used his disobedience to grow rapport with the Ninevites. When people saw this man turned white from his time in the fish preaching repentance on his enemies streets, they took notice. God will have mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and we have a choice if we are going to participate in their deliverance or run the other way. Never has there been a time in history where more Muslims are coming to Christ than now. The refugee crisis is sending thousands into the welcoming arms of Christians on the shores of Greece and Italy, and into other nations with freedom of religion.  The people of the Church are starting to pray consistently and regularly for the Muslim to come to know Christ. Jesus is appearing to Muslim people in their dreams and visions. More Muslims are getting access to the Bible than any other time in history. Terrorism itself is turning Muslims away from their religion because despite what the Quran says, their conscience says it is wrong. Christians are befriending their Muslim neighbors right in their own communities and building a bridge for the message of grace to reach them. 
 Jesus didn't need Jonah to save Nineveh, but he wanted to use him. Jesus doesn't need us to save Muslims, but he wants to use us. God loves the Muslim people and he wants all to come to repentance, even the most evil of them all.

        The end of the book of Jonah has always made me sad. And it’s not something the flannel-graph version of the story ever covered. Even after surviving three days in the belly of a whale and being spit out on the very shore he had avoided, he still didn't get it. In the end, Jonah did participate in God's redemptive plan for the Ninevites, but he missed out on the joy. He obeyed God, but then sat on the hill outside the city, hoping they would not repent and God would  withhold his mercy.  We have a choice to be like Jonah and run from his command to share the hope of the gospel with the Muslim people or participate in the miracle of Muslim's changing from death to life. I am pretty certain that even if we run the other way, God will go to great lengths to bring his children to Himself in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Oman, Nigeria and in every country Islam has a hold. And if we don’t get on mission, we will be the ones who miss out on the joy. His mercy will extend into the deepest pit, to his most wretched enemies and even to his most disobedient prophets. Here's the thing; of all the prophets in the Old Testament, Jesus only compares himself to one: Jonah. Our God is so merciful that he even extends it to Jonah by hiding hints of the gospel in his very life and story, and comparing him to himself before the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 12. This is the merciful God we serve. Let us not allow fear and judgment steal the joy to be had in preaching hope and repentance to our Muslim neighbors. The sacrifice has already been made for these lost brothers and sisters. May we proclaim, like Jonah, "Salvation belongs to the Lord," and may God spit us out on the shores of our enemies until all have heard of his great love and mercy. 

If you feel the call to reach our modern-day Ninevites with the gospel, but don't know where to start here  our my suggestions:

Pray: Start praying regularly for Muslims to come to know Jesus. Every Friday Muslims go to the mosque at noon. Set your alarm to have you pray for them during this time.  Pray for visions and dreams. Pray for them to access to the Word for God. Pray for Christians in Muslim communities to bravely share the hope they have. Ask God to put Muslim's in your path for you to share with. 
If you need some prayer prompts, sign-up to receive prayer updates every other Fridayfrom Crescent Project. 

Research: Learn and read more about Islam Crescent Project.   
Read some books about Islam.

Reach out: Introduce yourself to Muslim's at the supermarket or the park. Invite a Muslim family over for dinner or coffee. Support ministries seeking to reach Muslim's for Christ.