“For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning - not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.” 
~ Frederick Buechner
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A Note from a Dear Muslim Friend
Personal note: Here is a note written to my fiancee from a friend. Yes, I'm engaged!! More on that below. But please listen in to what our Muslim friend told her:

"Thought of you tonight as I headed to a holiday party, full knowing I would be not only the only Muslim in attendance, but the only person of color, everyone else was Caucasian. It can be daunting sometimes to walk into a space like that. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive about going solo knowing that I may be the first Muslim that someone has ever encountered and would be only inches apart from someone who has never talked to, let alone been in such physical proximity to a Muslim and not knowing the preconceived notions, stereotypes or judgment I might face. I thought about how you are trying to humanize my faith community by honoring our humanity in introducing people of other faiths, especially Christians to simply meet a Muslim.

I went with this mission in mind, to simply be a human in the midst of other humans, yet who happens to "look different" and all of what that entails in our current climate. There were two very vocal Christians in attendance that seemed especially uncomfortable by my attendance and made some religious references and inferences even though I never once uttered anything religious or spoke on religious matters. I could feel their discomfort by my mere presence, it was palpable. There was one woman who literally kept staring at me throughout the evening even while others were speaking to us and we weren't in direct conversation at the time. It was so uncomfortable that when I glanced back at her I thought she would look away, but it was a constant stare like I have never experienced before. I think she was genuinely bewildered by my existence—someone seemingly normal, yet clearly Muslim (as though that is an oxymoron). Nonetheless I persevered with the hope that simply being myself, they may for a moment, for a faint memory remember that they once met a Muslim who seemed "okay" who seemed to have things in common with them, who seemed just like anyone else.

That is what I hope for and you my friend give me hope in the bridge that you built in your heart and and the bridges you try to build in your service to humanity. Please keep doing what you're doing, I can't emphasize it enough; we fear what we do not know; we live in a bubble; our faith is not confined in a mosque or in a church; it is in our hearts in knowing and loving others and treating others the way we would like to be treated. I don't believe in tolerance, I believe in knowing and honoring each other. I am blessed to know you, I honor you and I love you friend! ❤  

(please don't post this on social media)
Pick Up Your Copy of This Year's Calendar--Visio Divina

This lovely man asked me to marry him and with happy tears I said YES!! 😍

I can’t believe, at 49-ish, I am dancing around and giggling like a schoolgirl at the thought of spending my life with my best friend, my partner in crime, my co-conspirator in peacemaking, the one that sees the best in me and others and loves God with his life. Baby, I love your ways!!

Please consider generously supporting what God is doing in peacemaking as a regular monthly commitment. While my work has expanded, I'm presently underfunded. That means I'm not yet able to fully function in this ministry. I need to raise a substantial amount to keep advancing this work. Your support will help me do more bridge building with Muslims as told above. It will release me to have greater impact. I will continue advancing ministry in North America but will now also reach into North Africa and the Middle East with the new MENA team of Serve Globally of the Covenant Church. Please write me for more information. Thanks for joining me in this important journey. Here's more information on what I do. 

To support Andy in his on-going work in peacemaking,
Click this pink link to contribute electronically
Send a check payable to the “Evangelical Covenant Church”
with Andy Larsen in the memo line and mail to:

Evangelical Covenant Church
8303 W Higgins Rd.
Chicago, IL 60631

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