Leam worked at the backpackers/bed and breakfast where we stayed in Kuta, Lombok. I say bed and breakfast because every morning as part of our accommodations, we were treated to a delicious breakfast. There were a few choices, but I almost always chose one of the varieties of pancakes- banana, pineapple, cheese- and they were all great. Leam seemed to worked odd jobs there, but among other things, he was our cook- he often made our breakfast, as well as our dinners when we chose to sup there. Lem was a quiet fellow, and a man more humble and willing to serve I have rarely met. He seemed glad to spend his free time with Dom and I, and never asked for anything in return.
Mori was our driver in Kuta. We needed a driver because the surf breaks were several miles down the road- a bit too far to walk. Mori was the first local there to invite us to his home for a meal. I think we had mentioned we would be interested in having some local food, and he volunteered- and fulfilled his offer with some of the spiciest chicken I ever ate. I think he laughed when he saw us turning red and profusely perspiring from heat. We were invited to several other homes during our time there, and each time were treated to large, multi-course meals.
On one of the mornings that we surfed, we wandered around the village where we’d catch a boat to the break. We stumbled upon a young couple who lived a block or two up from the water. I don’t remember exactly how the events unfolded, but we were invited to take a seat in their yard while they prepared a number of delicious snacks. They fried slices of a vegetable that looked like but wasn’t quite a potato, and they shared with us some fish crisps- about the size of a minnow, they were split down the middle and dried in the sun. The potatoes were nice, and the fish a lot better than I expected. Sweetest, however, was to be invited to this minor feast by complete strangers who we could barely communicate with- a show of hospitality the likes of which I have rarely seen.
We met Ari in a slum in Jakarta, where he lived in a small one room home with his family. After seeing and talking with him a few times, he invited us into his home. He and his family offered us food, and Ari showed us some of his artwork. He was learning Islamic calligraphy, and also had the makings of a small business, selling miniature athletic jersey keychains he made partially, and sometimes entirely, by hand. We were honored to be his guest.
Windu had noticed a couple members of our group looking for an ATM near our accommodations in the city. He offered his help, and quickly became a fixture in our home. Soon, he was taking part in almost everything we were doing- he saw something in us, and in Jesus, that he wanted in his life, and we were glad to share. He remains a friend to this day.
I can’t be sure that all of these individuals were practicing Muslims, but it is likely that most of them were. They were kind, generous, and welcoming, and doing the best they could with their circumstances- character traits that I hope we would all pursue. I am honored to have been a small part of their lives, and I welcome the more visible presence of Muslims in my own nation. I hope that we can show them a small measure of the hospitality they have shown to me.