Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Not Exactly Like Us

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio and Terri Lister of FriendsBeyondBorders

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"I never thought of myself as being told to "go" but more being told to open my heart." ~Terri
My friend Terri posted the following on my personal facebook page and I wanted you to get in on what she shared. Its almost a guest blog so I am treating her like a guest writer. Her comments were in response to my post All Over The World
 I will put her words in bold italic. All the photos in this post are from Terri's personal facebook page.

In Cairo, Al Qahirah.
Children from this village in Pakistan tried to give me a goat. They were all so very wonderful.
"You always lift me up when I am wondering these things myself. This week I put another one of my International children back on the plane for Pakistan. Each time it breaks my heart. I never thought of myself as being told to "go" but more being told to open my heart. Sometimes we put up the largest barriers without even realizing they are there, our own expectations of what we believe people should be in our lives. Especially in America we expect 2 + 2 to always equal 4. Some things are not so easily defined nor even logical with our way of measurement.

When my Pakistani son came into my life I was quite surprised and honestly a bit aghast wondering what a middle American Christian woman was supposed to do with a college aged Muslim student from Pakistan. I prayed much about it before Sulman came into my life. My answer from God was "to love". The verse in Corinthians 13:1 always comes back to me:

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

How can you do good in this world if you do not have love for another? To often in this world and in Christian circles we have allowed the media and our own fears to make walls so thick we never look beyond them. I did not "go" .... God brought them to me and all I had to do was the simple part of loving them. In the process not only did I have the opportunity to learn about another part of the world but I learned more about what love truly looks like.

We have so much as Americans. The very poorest of us has so much more than most people in this world. My trip to Pakistan and to Egypt has helped me to grow and see how blessed we are as a nation. I posted some photos today of one of my students, Sajeel. He has returned to Pakistan a short time ago and is working with a tiny small church there that barely has a single room to use. They have so little, yet still they have great faith that God is with them. I sometimes wonder how that is possible and yet here we are with so much more and a nation whose faith is sometimes more like a quest to love those who fit into our mold.

Terri with two of her international students.
I encourage everyone to step forward out of your comfort and reach out to those who are not exactly like us, to see the world from different angles... oh and next time you think of Pakistan, consider my International students and their struggle to have the most simple things like clean water, education and a way to take care of their families. Please keep them in your prayers and also pray for this tiny church in Islamabad. There is a young man there who calls me mom."

Dear Lord, Today we are going to pray beyond our own personal needs and lift Pakistan up to you. We call to your remembrance the tiny church in Islamabad and the young man who calls Terri mom. We pray that you would use that young man and give him great boldness to share your love and your truth. I pray for his protection and hand upon him as he follows your Holy Spirit. 

Todays questions are open for discussion over on our new facebook page 
1. How can you do good in this world if you do not have love for another?
2. How are you reaching out of your comfort zone to those who are not exactly like you?  
Hope you will join the conversation. I know Terri and I would love to hear your insights. 


  1. Dear mom,

    I am so blessed to read your beautiful comments about us. Your comments have touched my heart and make me feel that I am not alone in this war against evil in this world.

    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

    I am doing what God has told me to do. I have hadn't wait for help come from outside but I put my complete faith in God and stepped out in faith with very few resources I have. This is God's mission and even though I don’t have job yet but He is supplying all things I need. God is blessing us for having faith on Him. And this is also a new learning for me. I love you and I so blessed by having you in my life. May God bless you and prosper you more. Amen

    Your Pakistani Son,
    Sajeel with family (working with small churches)

    1. Sajeel,
      Thank you for posting your comment here. I will be praying for you and I hope many of my blog followers will as well. I will talk to mom about putting together a story with more about what you are doing with pictures of your small church.

      Praying for you,

  2. You are never alone Sajeel. I know your heart is to serve Jesus and where ever you are in this world that faith will give you strength and courage to continue to move forward. You are in the prayers of many. Please tell the people of the church there that they are in our thoughts and prayers.




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