When a Muslim family moved next to our house, we felt pretty “alarmed”. Who were they and where did they move from? The only thing we knew was they were a family of a couple and three boys, and the hijab of the lady indicated they were Muslims.
When we saw the boys climb on the roof of their vehicle and play with the steering wheel, we immediately had this typical stereotyped middle east kid mindset we saw on the TV!
The real impact finally landed on us when the boys played soccer and used the fence for their goal. So, the panels kept falling, and I kept nailing them back until a point I gave up and put the panels aside by the shed.
One afternoon, the doorbell rang, and I was surprised to find the father with the boys standing at the entrance. He asked me to let them in to fix the fence. He quickly nailed the panels back and uttered some Arabic to the boys. Then, with his head down, he whispered sorry to me. We have had no more issues with the fence since then.
A few months later, my doorbell rang again. This time it was the eldest boy, O, and he asked me to show him how to make a tie knot because his father was invited to a Christmas party.
Our relationship grew, not just in more frequent interactions, but with comfort level.
When I needed to do an assignment for the perspective course, I was welcomed to their home, sitting for over 2 hours to interview them, and shared the thoughts of our faith.
When I organized a Kairos course at my church, this family prepared some dishes for our cultural meal.
I had the most interaction with O. We could not come to an agreement of the identity of Jesus, but we respected each other. When the Syrian family sponsored by our church attended our service, I asked O if he could interpret for us. He said yes. O had never been in a Christian church but this day he sat on the pew, listening to a gospel message preached in English, and interpreted to our Syrian friends. He also stayed behind to have lunch with us.
Do we call this hospitality? Absolutely, an unexpected one, and I would even call it a divine one!
Alfred Chui practiced physical therapy for over 25 years before he joined North Edmonton Alliance Church in 2009, first as the English Pastor & then in 2013 as the Senior Pastor. In 2019, Alfred & his wife Charis relocated to Richmond, B.C. and Alfred joined Outreach Canada in July 2019 as the Simply Mobilizing (SM) Canada Chinese Language Coordinator - implementing, maintaining and expanding the Kairos and other SM courses to mobilize Canadian Chinese diaspora Christians and their next generations to reach and disciple all nations.