Today marks the beginning of Ramadan. For the next 30 or so days, Muslims will fast all things pleasurable during the daylight hours. As soon as the sun sets, then all is permissible again until it rises the next day. The main items that the Muslims I work with here are talking about are food and cigarettes as access to "pleasurable" things are pretty limited here.
I've felt convicted to follow the 30 day fast as well for two reasons. First, I'm really starting to sense some major life changes after this time in Iraq. So, I'll be praying during my fasting time for direction and confirmation. I also look forward to taking another step closer in intimacy with God as this will not be easy and will produce more reliance on Him. Fasting is one very important spiritual discipline that Christians unfortunately have for a large part lost. I for one have definitely learned and experienced its many benefits to my Christian walk and look forward to looking back on this experience down the road to see where God takes me.
Second, I see it as a witnessing tool to be able to relate to Muslims. One that I work with was blown away that me and Mimi are waiting until marriage for sex. He said I was the first Christian he has met that is living what Christians say they believe. As sad as the truth of that statement is, it has opened the door of respect to allow me to have spiritual conversations with him. When I told him that I was planning on doing the Ramadan fast, he said I couldn't do it because I'm not Muslim, meaning that I would not have Allah's help so no way I could do it. I replied that Christ will give me the strength to do it being He is calling me to do it. I look forward to giving Christ glory throughout this time.