Harrison is down to one week of classes left, then he's off to Israel then home to Utah!! Finally! He has really enjoyed his time in Amman, Jordan, although he's anxious to get back to the U.S. I have really loved hearing his stories and the neat experiences he's had this summer. Some of the people he has met there have really impressed me, and have opened my eyes to what the Middle East can really be like, despite the negative reputation. Here are some stories Harrison was kind enough to type up for us:
I am surrounded everyday by Arabs, and most the time Arab Muslims. I think many times in America, Arabs and Muslims are a people misunderstood because of the media, silly stereotypes, and sometimes just from people who are hateful. Despite all these things, I have had just some wonderful experiences this summer. One of the first things that has impressed me is how open this society is. Everyday I have an assignment to go speak Arabic for 2 hours. Essentially if I wanted to I could sit down with a stranger everyday, and just chat about anything for a few hours, and by the end of the conversation we would be friends. I would be intimidated to sit down next to really any stranger in Provo with the intentions of just wanting to chat. It really is wonderful how open everyone is here.
An example of this is about 3 weeks ago I was on a bus and I sat in the back of the bus, and before I knew it I was jammed between two Arab men. As I was squished between these 2 guys we had a very pleasant conversation as we took our 45 min bus ride. I have come to realize people are so interesting and it really is fun to get to know people, try to understand them, and see where they are coming from. Well soon it was my turn to get off the bus, and we said our goodbyes, and a little after I got off the bus I realized I left my cell phone on the bus. I figured, Oh Well, I am leaving in a about a month and a half, no worries. Well about 2 weeks after this, people who were listed in my phone started to receive calls, and I ended up talking with a man from a city about 30 mins outside of Amman who found my phone. He called about everyone of my friends until he finally got a hold of me. He really went through a lot of trouble to find me, and he was so nice, but I figured I wouldn't be able to meet up with this guy since he was so far away. Then about a week after this I got a call from one of my Arab friends who said I am going to get your phone, and that he would meet me in a few days to give it to me. My friends name is Nasser. What a good man. I honestly have only had maybe 3 or 4 conversations with Nasser, but we have became good friends in this time. Well when he couldn't get a hold of me, because my phone was lost, he kept calling and calling. Eventually he talked with this man who had my phone. So he went all the way out there to this mans house, I'm sure, and he got my cheap little cell phone, but not only did he do that, he gave this man a gift for being so kind. Then when I met up with him, and he gave me my phone, he also gave me a gift. Let me say Nasser is not a rich man, but a poor man, who just lost his mediocre job. He is so good, and I am still impressed about all he did to just get my phone for me. It really wasn't a big deal, but he did it anyway. Me and Nasser do not see eye to eye on every issue, but he is a good man and he has love and kindness within him.
Well one last experience about my Muslim friends. Today I was chatting a little about Islam with another one of my good friends, named Osama. I asked him a simple question: How do you feel when you read the Quran? He told me of the feelings of peace, calmness, and how sometimes he wants to cry when he reads it. I believe that Christians or Mormons do not have a monopoly on receiving light from God. It is just a wonderful experience to be able to relate with people on the fact that we have both experienced receiving light from God. I know that those Muslims who live with goodness and live by the light they have received, receive blessings and peace in their life. There are so many good people in the world. I look forward to meeting more.
3 days ago