When Matt spent a year in language study before starting his tentmaking career in China, he made some interesting friends among his classmates—the son of a North Korean diplomat, an Egyptian businessman, and several zealous young Muslims from Yemen.
The North Korean and Matt talked about world politics and the Christian faith. The Egyptian inquired about the Bible, and explained to Matt the difference between Sunni and Sh’ia beliefs. With his Yemeni classmates, Matt regularly debated late into the night as both sides were equally eager to convert the other. The Muslims respected Matt for being a serious Christ follower and defender of his faith.
When Matt went to attend Abu’s wedding, Abu thanked him in front of his bride: “I have learned so much from our friendship about business, management, and religion—both Christianity and Islam. The questions you asked me made me investigate my own faith.” Together with a Syrian doctor, they had long discussions on the trustworthiness of the Bible, the deity of Jesus and whether Christians and Muslims worshiped the same God. At the end of Matt’s visit in Yemen, his friends encouraged him to return, saying: “We are open to all religions, you can have church here.”
Matt never dreamed of entering Abu’s world. But China’s megacities make it possible because they draw people from around the globe. Matt hopes to serve in China for the next 10-15 years. But he is also seeking God about the Middle East for his next assignment.