Loving Our Neighbors Requires Putting Forth Effort

by Nichole Anderson

This past week at Kairos Minneapolis, we had the honor of being taught by Rahim Agayev, a native of Baku, Azerbaijan, and a former Muslim. From him, we learned about his conversion from Islam to Christianity. Including the transition from the Islamic worldview to our Christian worldview, and how we can best love and build relationships with our Muslim neighbors.
 
Rahim began the first day by having a student read Matthew 22:35-40, which reads, “One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him [Jesus] with this question. “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
 
Rahim continued with “We are called by God to first love Him, and then love our neighbors! Muslims are our neighbors! We ought to love them as such. We have that responsibility!”
 


But how do we love people well when we don’t know them or understand anything about them? How do we break down barriers? One way to break down barriers is to learn and find common ground. We did this was learning about the Islamic worldview and what our similarities and differences are! For instance, did you know that in Islam, they pray, tithe, and fast? When you take those three similarities and build a conversation around them, it opens up a safe environment for conversation and learning. When we engage strictly in arguments with people, especially people we don’t know, the argument is not going to touch their hearts. The presence of Jesus and his love in us is what will move others.
 
After the week was through, it was time to take what we learned and put it into practice! We headed over to the Karmel Square Somali Mall to grab some lunch and hopefully experience Somali culture. A few of my friends and I were roaming around looking for food, and stumbled across a shop that appeared to be selling potato wedges. This sounded amazing to us. Turns out, what we thought were potato wedges were actually spicy mangos! I said I would have some, but the men in the shop started laughing and shaking their heads. They said, “They’re too spicy! Do you like spicy foods?” I told them that I could definitely handle it and took a bite. They waited expectantly, their eyes glued to my face. They were definitely spicy, but the mango balanced out the spice really well! I smiled and said I’d take it! They laughed and gave me the rest of them.
 
After that, two Kairos students, Nate and Amy-Jo joined me in finding some more filling food. After some wandering, we found a sit-down restaurant that was serving goat! I’ve had goat a couple times in my life, but Nate and Amy-Jo were excited to try it for the first time. The cook came out and gave us our food and offered us a banana to go with it. He must have thought our facial expressions were funny because he started laughing and told us to wait a second. After a moment, he came out with three bananas. “In our culture,” he said, “we eat the banana along with our food. We start dinner together by opening our bananas.” He handed us our bananas. “You should try it!” We looked at each other, bananas in hand, and counted backwards from three. On three, we peeled them, and oddly, it felt very similar to a toast at a wedding. I would have had no idea peeling a banana could be so fun if it wasn’t for that kind cook at the Somali Mall!
 
Going to the Somali Mall was the highlight of last week. It felt like I was overseas again, engaging in a different culture and people group! What I love about Minneapolis is that you don’t have to go overseas to do these things! You can have amazing interactions with people right next door to you if you only put forth the effort. I have a newfound conviction to love my neighbors like this more often.

Lexi VanLeuven
Kairos Minneapolis Class of 2017


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Costa Rica // Honduras ’17 Recap

by Corin Mchargue

Here is a little peek into what Kairos Seattle did on their trip to Costa Rica as well as what Kairos Minneapolis did on their trip to Honduras.
 

 


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Meet Joanna!

by Corin Mchargue

Kairos’ Student Highlight – Meet Joanna Weber (Seattle)!

Meet Jo Jo

Why Kairos? Why dedicate an 8-month season of your life to doing Kairos?

I didn’t want to be stuck in a place where I wasn’t growing. I knew something had to change. I wanted to have my foundation with God grow deeper before potentially pursuing any further education.

 

What has been your favorite aspect of Kairos?

The community. It’s been a really sweet season of “growing up” with my friends here! Also, our camping trips are always a great time.

 

What has God taught you about community through Kairos?

It’s hard, but always worth it. It has been such a joy spending these past months with my kairos family. Seeing how God has changed and grown us since September has been really cool.

 

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you choose to be, and why?

Definitely Jimmy Fallon. He’s such a class act and has a beautiful child like spirit.

 

Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?

My friend’s kitchen. It’s where all the conversations happen over coffee and a beautiful place of community. Also Leavenworth, WA. It’s gorgeous, in the mountains, and I have a lot of fun memories there.


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Meet Mary!

by Travis Carr

Kairos’ Student Highlight of the Month is Mary (Minneapolis)!

Meet Mary (3)
 
Are you glad you took this year to be a part of Kairos?
 
“Yes. There were three things that I wanted when I was deciding what to do with my next few years. That was to grow deeper in my relationship with God, to learn and know more about the Bible, and to travel. I think God took those wants, and said, ‘You need to be here.’ He’s taught me even more about what I actually needed this year. Not only those three things but also how to have a deeper more meaningful community. I’ve had it before, but it took a lot more work and years to develop. Even then, it was never really perfect. I think He has taught me more about myself and how I need to grow spiritually and not necessarily in the ways that I thought I needed to.”
 
What is a memorable teaching or experience that God has used in your life this year?
 
“Nate Kemper’s teaching on the Old Testament has been foundational for the rest of the teachings and how much I’ve learned. I knew the Old Testament and yet not really at the same time. There’s so much more history and back story to it that I had never been interested in until learning about it.”
 
What do you think someone considering Kairos needs to know?
 
“Come into Kairos with expectations of what you want to learn and what you want God to teach you, but at the same time, allow Him to change that thought and what He’s actually going to teach you. At the beginning of the year I was so wrapped up with what I wanted to learn and wanted to do, and God was like, ‘No, you actually need to learn more about this, about yourself, and where you need to grow in your relationships with people — how you communicate with them rather than just traveling to foreign countries.’ Yes, that’s great, and I love other cultures, but you can learn that at any time and still not hone in on what God actually wants to teach you. Just be open to Him.”
 


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Meet Amy-Jo!

by Nichole Anderson

Kairos’ Student Highlight of the Month is Amy-Jo (Minneapolis)!

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How did you initially hear about Kairos?
 
“I was originally a student on a Royal Servants trip and my small group leader, Hannah, was from Kairos. She was one of the first people that I met who … just this peace about her and this total trust in God, and it really inspired me [and made me think], ‘Wow I really like that. How do I get that?’ Then Kairos ended up being an option for me. God was just like, go and do Kairos.”
 
What has been the most challenging thing about Kairos this year?
 
“Throughout all of Kairos, you’re growing drastically. It’s like you are on a graph, and you are just going straight up, but then you go home [during a break], and nobody was there with you when you were growing. You go back home, and people are putting you in box because they have an idea of who you are, but you’ve changed because God has changed you, and you’ve learned more about who God is, and that has totally changed your whole outlook on life. [My challenge has been] going home and maintaining the disciplines that I’ve created here at Kairos and the relationship that I have with God and maintaining how that affects my life with others.”
 
Is Kairos worth having those challenges?
 
“Definitely worth it! I don’t want to be my old self. I want to be who God intended me to be and know more about God.”
 
What is the most important thing that you are taking away from Kairos?
 
“To constantly be in relation with God. That’s the one thing that I’m just going to hold on to for the rest of my life because without reading my Bible every day, without praying, without consulting with God, and without living life with Him, my life would be totally different, and it would not be for the better. The disciplines that are practiced and instilled in us here at Kairos are also things I want to carry with me throughout the rest of life. I’m going to keep those because I want to constantly know where God is and know where I am.”
 
What would you say to someone who is considering Kairos?
 
“Jump! Leap! Come! It doesn’t really matter if there is a fire in your way. You should just jump over the fire because if you come to Kairos you WILL grow, and you’re going to change. It’s going to be scary, and there may be people or things that will try to prevent you from coming, but your relationship with God is going to grow. Your priority is to grow in Christ. We’re called to be in relation with God, and Kairos definitely helps you figure out how to do that. And so, Come! Jump! Leap!”


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