So today's blog post isn't about food or travel or cooking or anything like that. It's about waking up and realizing there are some amazing freaking people in this world and thanking God when you're lucky enough to meet one of them.
If you're not a "God-person" - I hope that you won't just delete this post. I'm not trying to be preachy or anything here - just want to share the story of a pretty amazing person and give you something to think about.
Over the weekend, we drove a van-load of 13 Chinese people to Niagara Falls (insert punch line here). It was a volunteer opportunity with International Friendship. It's a group that promotes friendship with international students and faculty.
While on the trip (which was AMAZING), I met Rasheed Akhtar and wow - life changing.
Rasheed is from Pakistan and grew up a Christian - his parents and grandparents were Christian. Rasheed was working as a missionary in Pakistan and teaching people about God.
Well - as you can imagine - there were a lot of people that didn't love that so much. He was attacked by Muslim extremists with a hand grenade and lost the sight in his right eye.
After coming to the US for surgery, he returned to Pakistan. There, he was beaten and threatened by more extremists. Rasheed then left his family and fled to the US for safety - that was 7 years ago. (there's so much more to the story - but trying to keep it short for the blog)
After moving around and trying to find "his place", he met the folks from International Students and told them his story. As it turns out, they had been praying for someone to work with South Asian students for three years - and here was Rasheed!
Now Rasheed is working with ISI and has finally gotten his wife and three children here in the United States and is back doing the missionary work he loves.
But that's not all - when I was talking to Rasheed - I asked him how he got through it. He said that rather than asking "Why me?" - he asked God to show him his purpose. He now realizes he's been able to help far more students with this role here in the US than he could in Pakistan. He feels privileged that God put this challenge in front of him because God knew he could handle it.
How many of us can say the same? When I'm challenged with something difficult, do I say "Thanks God!" - um no.
I also think - what do I believe in that I'd be willing to die for? I really don't know. I'm sure there's something - but I can't concretely tell you what it is while I type away on my laptop.
With that, take a moment and thank God for the freedom you have from being a US citizen and think about what your purpose is and what can you do to work toward that.