David and my Near-Death Experience

David is a 22-year-old translator, student of English, and constant tester of my patience. Never have I met anyone quite like him. With his outgoing personality, persistence, and broken English, he is both endearing to me and overwhelmingly aggravating. 

David began our friendship one day on a bus. I heard a “Hello” behind me, and before I could even turn around, he was at my side, full of questions.

Very early in our friendship, I realized two things. First, David is a devout Muslim and loves to share his belief with others. Second, giving him my mobile number was a bad idea. After about the fiftieth call, I realized I had a problem. Here is how our phone conversations typically go: 

“Hello.”

“Hello,” I reply.

“Hello.”

“Hi David.”

“You come to my house today?”

“Sorry, I can’t come to your house today. I’m very busy.”

“Okay, you come to my house in one hour.”

“No David, I’m not coming to your house.”

“Okay, I will see you in one hour.”

“No, I said I can’t come today.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Okay, good. I will call you later this week.”

“Okay, I will see you in one hour.”

“Wait . . . no! I said I’m not coming!”

“I will be waiting for you. See you soon.”

I quickly learned not to answer his calls unless I had time to spend with him.

One day, I got a taste of David’s evangelistic side when he invited me to his brother’s home the next day for a religious holiday. He informed me that we would meet with a religious scholar who would convert me to Islam. 

I spent the hours leading up to our meeting worrying about what I was going to say. I didn’t want to dishonor God or paint a bad picture of His character. I prayed that He would speak through me and reveal Himself. I prayed for courage, but, truth be told, I strongly considered just turning off my phone and hiding in my room.

The following morning, I worked up enough courage to board the bus. As the bus approached my stop, we passed two pious-looking men dressed in traditional Islamic garments. One sported a very imposing beard. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I wasn’t meeting with those guys. 

David greeted me as I stepped off the bus. Then he looked past me and yelled, “My friends! Over here!” Guess which two men were coming to dinner to beat the Christianity out of me. 

We greeted each other and started walking up a gloomy alleyway as my sense of foreboding deepened. David ushered us into a dark, damp, windowless room. Up until this point, I had thought death was only a strong possibility. But now I knew I was about to die. David disappeared, and I could feel the men behind me inching closer. My heart nearly stopped. Then a single light bulb clicked on, revealing a beautifully set table. We all sat down and began to eat. I helped myself to generous portions—terror makes me hungry.

As we talked, it quickly became clear that these men were not there to kill me. They were actually studying medicine at a local university. They turned out to be some of the nicest guys I have ever met, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. There was no talk of my conversion. In fact, they were very interested in learning about my beliefs. 

In his quirky way, David led me into a situation where I should have trusted God and clung to His promises, but I let my imagination and prejudice get the best of me. I obviously still have some growing to do. I thank God for the learning opportunities He sends my way, and for David’s friendship, as much as he frustrates me. I know God put him in my life for a reason, and I look forward to seeing what He has planned.

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