Last Friday, I was thankful for the opportunity to go the Islamic Center in University Place and to be with worshippers during their time of noon prayer. I also enjoyed meeting the new Imam, who invited me to give a greeting to the whole group after the prayers concluded. The sermon that day was all about the gracious nature of God, so I shared my joy in hearing something that sounded so familiar. I also told the group that we are very happy to have them as neighbors in this little corner of the world. I wish I could adequately convey how welcoming and gracious they all were with me. It was very heart-warming. The highlight, though, was being reunited with a member of the refugee family that we sponsored several years ago. His name is Muganga, and he has found a home among the people of that Muslim community who treat him with love and dignity. Before leaving, I was given a big plate of wonderfully spiced rice, salad, and roasted lamb to feast on with others. Like our own faith community, it really is a place for God’s grace, and I look forward to many more encounters in the weeks and months ahead.

Pastor Jan Ruud