Monday, January 4, 2010

Faith Discussions over IndoItalian Food

Over Christmas break a few friends and I spent some time trekking in the Usambara Mountains, where we met a well-traveled backpacking Swiss couple. Seriously, on their vacations they’ve traveled to South America, Central America, North America, Asia, Europe, and now finally Africa. They make Americans who rarely venture out of their state look unadventurous.

After several days my housemate, Marie, and I continued on with the twosome to Moshi to view East Africa’s largest free standing mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. It was worth the hot, tedious trip. After our jam-packed bus ride on a chicken bus (“there’s always room for one more!”) from Lushoto we were relieved to find an “IndoItalian Restaurant” where we were able to relax and chill over pasta and cold drinks. Yet our conversation soon turned to deeper topics as it turned out the couple were spiritually searching and very interested in our missionary work in Tanzania. They professed to be unimpressed with the traditions and rigidity of the two Christian sects in Switzerland, Protestants and Catholics. Yet, they claimed everyone needed something to believe in, something to have faith in. I agreed wholeheartedly that if I did not have my faith I would commit suicide because my life would lack meaning. This shook them up, and they were deeply interested in hearing our views. One thing I emphasized was that I don’t judge people of other religions, just love like the Bible encourages.

At the end of the long discussion we’d shared our faith with them and encouraged them over and over not to take anyone’s word on religion, but to seek out the truth for themselves. The man admitted to owning a Swiss German Bible, but not to ever reading it for lack of time or interest. At the end of the meal they readily gave us their e-mails and I promised them a follow up on “bite sized” scripture to read.

Obviously God had a dual purpose in bringing me to Moshi: Mt. Kili and two seekers. Pray for the two Swiss seekers!