I met her in an airport lineup. Farah was a grieving young widow, a university art instructor, whose husband had passed away unexpectedly 5 months earlier when they were travelling to her North African country of origin for a visit. She was returning to his country in the Mideast, to what had been their home for the past 5 years. She felt terribly alone; her grief was unbearable and she did not know how she would manage to face the empty apartment alone.
On the airplane she was seated beside a pastor who was travelling from Canada with a group of pastors, leaders, and workers who were joining us on a vision trip to a potential new field. He spent the duration of the trip simply being Jesus to this grieving woman, listening appropriately, and praying with her.
Over the next year and a half, I had periodic e-mail contact with Farah as we prepared ourselves for our new field of ministry. She invited me to call her as soon as I arrived and offered to help me settle in. What a joy it was to see her again! She told me more about her life journey over coffees. I learned that her closest friend and colleague was also a believer in Jesus and had been crying and praying with her and supporting her as she worked through her grief.
God seemed to be surrounding Farah with followers of Jesus who were able to share His love with her at a time that she needed it most.
Farah’s friend and I both share an interest in art, so we began a weekly oil pastel class with Farah as our instructor. This brought a few more Jesus followers into her life—the group became something much more than just lessons. This was clearly illustrated on the second anniversary of Farah’s husband’s death, which fell on an art day. She did not want to be alone so, on her request, we met as usual. We shared love and flowers with her, and both tears and laughter. She was very touched. “We are more than friends, we are family,” she said.
This Easter Farah came to a women’s event at our local Arabic church where two of our team members shared some insights into Easter from Scripture as well as personal stories. Following the meeting, Farah thanked my teammate for talking about some of her challenges and shared that this was an area of challenge for her as well. My teammate responded, saying, “For this, ultimately you need Jesus to set you free. God is inviting you and is waiting for you.” Farah replied, “Yes! You have an interesting and beautiful religion. I want to know more about it.”
May Farah continue to see the face of Jesus in the faces around her, and may He continue to lead her in her journey to Him.