A Muslim, a Hindu, and a Preacher

A Muslim, a Hindu, and a Preacher meet in a gas station parking lot… this is a true story, not the setup for a comedy routine.  In our day to day lives at Nashville World Outreach, we meet many different people from many different countries who have settled in Nashville, along Nolensville Road.

While some may find this unsettling because of all the differences we have in culture, taste in food, clothing, etc. I find it to be very educational, interesting, and a great opportunity to make new friends. I also get to see that we are really not that different.  I have had the honor of helping an immigrant, who works two full time jobs and relies on Uber daily, to find a family car. We have become friends just by chatting while I stop for gas or snacks at one of the stations where he works.

Because of our friendship, he called me and asked if I would come look at a car that his Uber driver was wanting to sell. I was glad to meet with him and look it over (my son is a mechanic, so I usually get him to show me everything wrong with a car and if it has been wrecked). Before long, I found myself in the parking lot trying to negotiate between a heavy Indian accent and a heavy Iranian accent, and my Southern accent. I looked the car over and said we should go for a ride.

I got behind the wheel, Mr. Ali (the Iranian) sat in the passenger seat, and Mr. Purab (the Indian) went back to work. I found myself driving through South Nashville with someone I had never met, speaking a language I could barely understand, trying to buy a car for a man who wasn’t even there.  I started with small talk about the car, then asked where he was from, how long he had been here, about his family, and what he thought about Nashville. I then asked, “If you don’t mind me asking you a personal question, what is your religious background?” We then discussed our beliefs and I shared about our church, our Arabic services and invited him to attend sometime. He took no offense, and soon after, we returned to the gas station and started discussing price.

There was a small misunderstanding on price, so no deal was made, but I made a new friend and who knows where that may lead one day. I am learning so much from our refugee and immigrant families, but the main thing is how much we are alike.  Most all men like cars, most all men want to work hard to provide for their families, and most want to give their children a better life than they had.

– Terry H.