I live in the downtown St. Cloud area. All my neighbors are white and Christian. I am white and Christian. Around the corner, and a few houses down, a Muslim family recently moved in. I don’t know what country they are from, but, as I’ve seen them outside, I have stopped to say hello. We’ve briefly chatted a few times, mainly about our kids.
This last Christmas, our neighborhood was getting together to do a cookie exchange and Christmas caroling. Everyone loves cookies and a cookie exchange is a great way to get to know others!
I walked over to my neighbor (who just moved in) with a sample of cookies I had made and explained what we were going to do and invited them to join in. My neighbor’s daughter asked if she could bring cookies from her culture. Um, yeah! Yum….
After we had talked about the details like time, date, place, etc, the mother walked closer to me at the door and said nicely, “Do you know I’m Muslim and don’t believe in your Christ?” I said, “I’ve heard that.” She looked at me kind of confused. I said, “My Jesus would love you no matter if you believe in Him or not, and so will I. This isn’t about religion, it’s about cookies and being neighbors.”
She smiled. I returned her smile. She didn’t say anything else except that they would love to join us for the cookie exchange and needed to check their calendar.
This family is always nice to me and the diversity enriches my neighborhood.