Monthly Archives: January 2022

Hat Trick of Hope

[A hat trick is when a hockey player scores three goals in one game. Or, in my parlance, any set of three related things!] 

Could you use some good, hopeful news?

  1. Our Muslim Connect tribe has passed the 2500 subscriber threshold! I’m not really sure what that means, but it feels like a milestone. Celebrating another milestone, the Five Year Anniversary give away ends this week. If you click here, you’ll be entered to win one of five books, two sets of Apple AirPods and a Kindle e-reader.
  2. Amazing Perspectives classes are starting up all over the U.S. If you’ve not been, check here to find the nearest class. You’re welcome to visit. Not only will you be encouraged and informed, Perspectives classes are also a great way to connect with your people. If you’re wondering who in your town cares about refugees and are building friendships with Muslims, you’ll find them there.
  3. It’s happening. Afghans are being welcomed around the country by Sponsor Circles. I was honored to meet some intrepid believers this week whose family arrives on Saturday! They’ve worked hard, prayed like crazy, raised a ton of money and now it’s happening. Their effort and location (A town of 100K in the middle of nowhere!) has made me reconsider the possibility of launching an effort where I live. How about you? Could we find five families to band together? Is there a house for free or low cost? What about jobs? Dari speakers? And could we raise the $12,000 required for a family of five?I don’t know, but God does, and none of us wants to miss an opportunity he’s placing before us. Let me know if I can help you.

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Special 5th Anniversary Give Away!🎁

The very first Muslim Connect recalled my reassurance to an Indiana church that, “She’s not going to blow up the Walmart!” That was back when Saudi students were arriving in the U.S. in the tens of thousands and most of us, me included, had never met a for real Saudi Arabian.

Today, we have 50-60 thousand Afghans moving into the neighborhood and last week’s news that the refugee pipeline is re-opening means upwards of 165,000 more new comers. I wonder if Muslim Connect is needed now more than ever.

There’s also a special subset of humanity who’ve been on my heart in recent months: Around 422 Muslim people groups could be classified as unengaged, meaning no one is living among them, working in local languages to catalyze movements of disciples. They’re most likely not coming here. Some of us from somewhere need to figure out how to go live among them, to share the good news that Jesus died for them and God has great, abundant life dreams for them.

Because of this, I’m grateful God has seen fit to keep this little email going and our intrepid tribe alive. I’m grateful for the many of you who have donated, some year after year, to keep Muslim Connect growing. I celebrate those of you have been here from early on, even those who were among the brave 29 who subscribed to read the very first ever Muslim Connect. Thank you.

This started with simple premise:

God loves Muslims and wants to enfold them into his kingdom.
God chooses to use the likes of you and me toward that end.
If we’re going to be used, we need to increasingly learn how to think about Muslims the way God does and love them like Jesus.

Let’s do it! 

As a way of saying thank you for reading and to celebrate this anniversary, I’m giving away some prizes: Five copies of the super cool Loving Your MuslimNeighbor book, two sets of Apple AirPods and one Kindle Paperwhite e-reader! All I ask is you forward this email to two or three friends then ping me here to enter.

Thank you for reading, sharing and for all you do for God’s glory among Muslims. May he greatly multiply your kingdom success in the coming year.

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Proactive Prayer Grab! 🙏

You know what’s really cool? A pleasantly surprised pastor. Of course, pastors get surprised all the time: “A long term member has died. Can you do the funeral tomorrow?” “Did I tell you the kids are singing this morning so your sermon will need to be shorter!” And the ever popular, “We were going to give you a cost of living increase, but we decided to switch to fair trade organic coffee in the cafe instead!”

Here’s a challenge for the Muslim Connect tribe: Let’s pleasantly surprise our pastors by requesting this week three prayer times for Muslims over the coming months. However your church arranges to pray for special issues, either in a bulletin, from the front, or in a newsletter, ask for three of those slots. Tell your pastor you’ll provide great content for prayer, including the exact word count requested, a couple really nice slides and even a short video.

Here are four occasions to choose from. My approach is, “Ask for three, settle for two!”

Ramadan begins on April 2. Maybe your pastor would spring for a prayer guide for everyone. Maybe you could provide some prayer prompts on Sunday April 3, the second day of Ramadan. It goes for a month, so there’s wiggle room with this one!

Eid al-Fitr marks the celebratory end of Ramadan and happens on Monday, May 2-3. Let’s request a church-wide prayer slot on Sunday May 1st as Muslims end Ramadan and begin the Eid celebration.

Eid al-Adha, honoring Abraham’s obedience in offering his son for sacrifice, happens on Saturday, July 9th through Sunday the 10th. Let’s pray that Sunday morning for Muslims to understand the full symbolic weight of that story.

Finally, Sunday, June 5th is the International Day For The Unreached. Maybe go ahead and ask to preach that Sunday! If (when?) you get a “no,” settle for an all church prayer emphasis.

Let me know which of these slots you secure and maybe we can share ideas for killer content.

I’m recording a fun training talk with the head of GFM Ministries tomorrow. If you register here, you’ll be sent the link when the talk goes live later in the day. Thanks for giving it a shot.

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Bungling to Blessing

Please see the special note at the end of this email.

When my Lyft driver’s name popped up as “Noor,” I was pretty excited and a little surprised! I was aware that the name means “light,” but had only known it as a girl’s name and the driver was clearly a dude! Well, lesson number one.

We hopped in and headed out. Like a good driver, Noor asked where we’re from. In my mind that gives me a free pass to ask him back.

“I’m from here, but you mean where my family is from? From Afghanistan.”

To which I replied, “Ah, wonderful. I really wish I knew some Dari.”

Well, that uncorked some emotion. And lesson number two!

It was an honest blunder for me. I was trying to show that I at least knew the name of a language in Afghanistan, trying to establish some rapport. Showing off!

Noor gave me a quick overview of the history of Afghanistan, the influence of Wahhabism, and the importance of calling the language by its real name, Farsi.

While I lack sufficient background to put his words into proper context, it was fascinating to hear Noor’s views and to sense the passion that accompanied them. I also got confirmation that Farsi-speaking Afghans celebrate Nowruz. That’s motivating me to help host a party come late March!

The conversation had to end when we reached our destination. As we piled out of the minivan, Noor leaned over and said, “Not one in a hundred people care to hear about Afghanistan. Thank you.”

Here’s the point, God used my bumbling, self-aggrandizing efforts to accomplish at least two things: Increasing my understanding of the Afghan immigrant world and blessing one dear representative of it. Yay for God, Noor and me!

This is the last week of my semi-annual invitation to give to help Muslim Connect grow and go forward (I’m aiming for 5000 subscribers this year!). If you’ve found value in Muslim Connect please consider donating here (under “Staff” and choose “Shane Bennett”). Half of the funds that come in from this invitation will be passed on to help Afghans as they resettle in the U.S. Thank you.

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