When we were in far west China last April we had time to walk around and explore the Muslim quarter.
Apparently they were a conglomeration of the several Chinese Muslim people groups, as we started a conversation with a vendor about the different hats and the culture behind them. Interestingly, every minority group has a distinct hat. As we were talking, we made our way to introducing and sharing a bit about ourselves and discovered that we all shared a common surname, 马 "ma" which, also coincidentally, is exclusively a Muslim surname. It's also my surname only because of the similarity to my English name, but we bonded over it none the less. They opened up and shared a fair bit of their background, heritage, and beliefs. In the end they even gifted me a bright colored Muslim styled hat which we called Muslim Maroon, that I dawned proudly.
Our schedule saw us on our way, but thanks to the hat and my convenient surname almost every Tibetan Muslim inquired as to whether I was a follower of Islam. As a team we then shared who we are, what we were doing, and that we were followers of Jesus. The responses varied from confusion to laughter, but it was still exciting to have as strange an opportunity as that to share the Gospel.
Our time was limited so we didn't get to see any fruitful conversations, but hopefully they'll remember the Muslim Maroon foreign boy who loved Jesus!
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