Where to begin…
I joined a club on campus called Prison Outreach Club. It partners with Prison Education Project (PEP), an organization that seeks to provide inmates with information and knowledge to prepare and equip them for their return to society. They implement this by inviting college students to a rehabilitation facility to share experiences in their respective learning environments. Prior to setting foot on the rehab center, we fill out an application and wait for the background check to be processed. The application process in itself was a whole ‘nother story, lemme tellya, but I digress.
I got a phone call saying I was cleared yesterday and I drove out to Norco this afternoon. The whole experience was… eye-opening and good. Haha but that’s not why I had to sit my butt down and write this when I have so much to do and study. I will definitely talk about it as the weeks progress but there’s something else.
After the session, I got to talk with the director as we were leaving. Earlier in the classroom, when I introduced myself, I shared that I had a religious experience, encounter of faith a few years back and my life was completely changed. I didn’t expand on it but the director caught it and afterward, he brought it up in conversation, encouraging me to share on it in later weeks. It wasn’t really about the faith itself but it was to show that change is possible, be it by a spiritual experience or not. Anyway.
I could tell he knew a little something something about faith by the way he talked. I mentioned that it seemed like he had his own encounter with God and asked if he went to church. A teeny bit wary, he shared that he was Muslim. Oh cool. I didn’t expect that. We started talking, well, actually he talked and I listened haha and he began to open up about his faith, his view of God. I was so freaking floored yo.
I don’t think I’ve ever met such a lowkey spiritual person. He was so full of grace and wisdom and goodness. He spoke about his life and experiences in a way I could only nod and smile in agreement because I couldn’t deny the presence and love of God in his heart. I know, I know, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life but there was no way I could tell him that he lacked something. This man knew, knows God. The peace, the joy, the wisdom, the compassion, hope, gratitude, generosity, worship within this man exuded from his words, demeanor, even his movements. No doubt, he glorified God with his simple existence. As I stood there listening, I just received. I simply enjoyed the fellowship of this man who called me his sister. How could I not?
As I walked away, I was overflowing. Before I reached my car, I was praying in tongues (sounds scary hahah) and I blessed him and his expecting wife, who is a Protestant Christian. I do not understand the work of God, why and how he does what he does, but I know he was so very present in that conversation.
I was reminded of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch heading to Jerusalem in Acts 8. I laughed because I felt like the Ethiopian who had been searching and was already aware of God but encountered him in a whole new way through Philip’s ministry. I felt like jumping and shouting and giggling because of the vastness of God, the goodness of him who created the earth and all that is in it. Because of this man, I worshiped. My world and heart for God grew bigger in those fifteen minutes.
In terms of Jesus and salvation, I have no idea of what is right. All I know is what I know to be true for me and I will live with that. What is true for him is true for him. But whatever is good, whatever is eternal and perfect is what I will pray for when I think of this man and his family.
“…and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.”