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“Unlocking Hearts"
By F. Edgar Nunes


On a recent Sabbath, two Syrian refugees attended the worship services at the Kingston Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Canadian province of Ontario. As the church’s pastor, I rejoice at the sight of any visitor, but to be able to welcome a mother and daughter who belong to another world religion was an unexpected privilege. How did they hear about us? Who invited them to our worship service?

It turned out that long before they set foot in our church, the Syrian “refugees had been befriended by one of the church members, Shirley.

 

Shirley has a big heart for strangers, especially refugees, and she greets people with a warm smile that melts barriers away. She loves to help in any way she can, and people are moved by her kindness and compassion. They readily accept her invitations to family dinners and summer picnics. The Syrian mother and daughter, Eman and Heba, accepted Shirley’s invitation to come to church on Sabbath.

After the worship service, we visited outside the sanctuary. Eman and Heba seemed happy to talk and readily accepted my offer to pray for them. Afterward, I asked if they would be interested in a copy of the Gospel of John in Arabic, printed by the Canadian Bible Society.

“I won’t be offended if you say, ‘No,’ ” I said.

The mother accepted the book.

“We believe Jesus is a prophet, so we will read the book,” she said.

“A few days later, Shirley called to ask if I spoke “Sudanese.”

“I have another family from Africa that I would like you to visit,” she said.

 

Shirley’s genuine love and warmth for strangers keeps unlocking hearts. Her example inspires us to follow Christ’s method. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching “the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ ”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143.

 

Shirley mingles with people, listening, serving, and showing disinterested love and acceptance, thereby breaking down the most formidable barriers. We also can go from heart to heart as Shirley does every day.

 

Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NKJV). The love that reveals we are His disciples is the same power that opens the hearts of strangers and moves them to consider becoming His disciples.”
 

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