International (MNN) — For many Muslims, all they know about Christianity comes from television. They have never been inside a Christian home to see the way Christian families live and to learn what they really believe. The Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful opportunity to extend hospitality to Muslims and get to know them.
"Thanksgiving is a time to open up our homes to neighbors," says Fouad Masri of the Crescent Project. "Jesus says, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' And this is a great week to invite people over – maybe to have pie, or some food or coffee or tea, and just share with them why we're thankful."
Muslims are usually very open to reading the New Testament and learning about the teachings of the Bible. They are hungry for spiritual truth. Many of them have looked for satisfaction in religious devotion, or in secularism. Often, they know the truth is something more.
"We are thankful that many Muslims today are interested in the Bible,"Masri says. "Many Muslims are readingt he Bible, and that is great news because there is a hunger and spiritual thirst for the teachings of Jesus."
The Quran encourages the reading of the New Testament, or the Injil. Giving a New Testament as a gift is a great way to reach out to Muslims you may know. For $10, you can also fund the gift of a Bible for a Muslim in another location.
The Crescent Project also offers resources and training to help you be prepared to build relationships and share the Gospel with Muslims. In 2011, it will offer two of its week-long Sahara Challenge intensives. The first Sahara Challenge will be in Europe in February, and the second will be in Chicago, United States, in June of 2011.
"Whenever we prepare for anything, we want to spend the time and effort. But when it comes to building bridges with our neighbors, building bridges with people from different faiths,we don't take the time," Masri explains. "And that's why we designed a one-week intensive training where people can take time out, look in the Word of God, and study and learn from other experiences about how to build bridges with Muslims."
Christians in the western world ought to see the immigration of Muslims to their countries as an opportunity from God. Masri personally knows a man who became a Christian after coming to live in another country.
"He decided for the first time to visit a church," Masri recounts. "And he was shocked that Christians were nice people, so he decided to pick up a Bible.A year and a half later he became a follower of Christ. And the number one reason was: he saw the teachings of Christ for himself, he read them for himself. Number two, he saw the love of the believers in Jesus."
Masri encourages Christians not to face the future with fear. God is working among the Muslim people, and He will accomplish His purposes in the world.
"God is on the move. I believe He's been on the move, and I believe that God is sovereign. He is seeking His sheep."