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Witnessing 101

The Muslim and the Seattle Mug

Rudy Harnisch


While waiting for my next flight in Seattle, I decided to engage with folks at nearby kiosks. I walked over to a lady at a nearby till, who was wearing a hijab. I greeted her, “as-salamu alaykum” (may peace be upon you, in Arabic). This is the greeting most Muslims use with each other. I often receive an Arabic greeting in return, but all I received from this woman were giggles—yes giggles. I could almost read her thoughts: “Who is this Caucasian guy greeting me in Arabic?”

But someone nearby did not giggle. What happened next I would not forget for a long time. Listening close by was a young man on a step ladder stocking shelves. As he overheard the Arabic greeting, he burst forth with excitement, “I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim!” he said as he instantly leaped off the step ladder and came to where I was.

He vigorously shook my hand and began to excitedly relate to me that he was a refugee from the Middle East. He explained that no one cares to talk to Muslims, especially refugees. When he overheard the sound of Arabic, it was sweet music to his ears. Someone cared to speak his language! He continued, saying that in a new land, it is a very lonely life. He left behind culture, friends, family, loved ones, as well as memories of war and bloodshed. But this day, he heard his mother tongue!

Our discussion was very lively. To share his gratitude, the young man quickly turned to grab the closest thing he could set his eyes on, which happened to be a mug—a Seattle mug. “I have to buy you something,” he insisted. It had meant so much to him that I would communicate with him, even with a simple phrase.

I later pondered what had happened. In less than five minutes, a refugee and a total stranger spent his hard-earned income to purchase a gift for me, all because I cared to reach out to make friends. He very eagerly accepted the tracts I offered him, and I will long cherish the “Seattle mug” I received.
For Seventh-day Adventist Christians, it is so easy to connect with Muslims because we have a lot in common. We don’t eat pork, drink alcohol, or worship with images. Talk about these commonalities next time you meet a Muslim, and you might just make a new friend like I did.

For a limited time, August–October, 2018, we will send you free “Jesus in the Qur’an” tracts and bookmarks to share with Muslims. These are positive bridge-building materials you can share with any Muslim you meet.

Call 888-402-6070 toll free and ask for the special free offer: “Sharing Jesus with Muslims.” We will send you a small packet with instructions.
Direct Muslims to our website:

If you are desiring a weekend Adventist Muslim Relations seminar at your church, please contact Rudy Harnisch at the above phone number.