A family from Syria welcomes Nazarene woman into their home – and finds some unexpected things in common.

While many times women in the Middle East seem more open to the voice of the Holy Spirit than men, sometimes the unexpected happens. *Genesis shared this story:

A friend asked me to do a house visit with her. The family she wanted to visit is from Syria. We went to see them on a Friday afternoon about 3 p.m. The person we went to see was a young woman around our age, but her mom was there, too. Later one of the older sons came and joined us.

They asked if we wanted coffee or maté. My eyes lit up when they said “maté.”  If you are not familiar with it, it’s a loose-tea herbal drink served in a specific cup and matching straw. It is a central part of our social culture in Argentina, but also in some other South American countries. Three years ago, however, I found out that it’s also popular in Syria and Lebanon.

So, they prepared maté for us. The way they served it is a bit different from our tradition in Argentina, in which we would all drink from the same cup and straw, passing it around the circle of gathered friends. However, since there was a man with us, he had his own cup.

They are a very welcoming family. Next time we visit I’m hoping to take my maté equipment and share with them other flavors of yerba (the tea).

After we shared the maté, the young woman’s mother asked, “Would you stay for dinner?” We did. We helped cook and then had dinner together with the women of the house. We ended up leaving after 9 p.m.

As we were about to leave, since we were in a neighborhood not familiar to us, the daughter said that her dad could walk with us until we found a taxi. We hadn’t spoken to her dad all day; he only came in and greeted us once.

As we started walking down the street, he said, “I believe in the same [Jesus] you do. Please keep visiting my daughter and my family. They don’t understand.”

Normally stories are the other way around: Women are more open to hearing about our faith, and eventually accepting it for their own. But it’s exciting to see how God works! Please keep this family in your prayers.

*Full name and location omitted for security reasons

This article was previously published in the February 2020 edition of Where Worlds Meet.