Two months after his first visit to the clinic, Shuja walked through our doors for a second time. As our front desk greeted him and asked how we could serve him, he looked beyond them into the area our nurses sit and pointed avidly. “Her!” He exclaimed. “I need to talk to her! I have something to tell her!” Shuja was referring to Paige, our charge nurse and Operations Manager. At his first visit to our clinic the two of them had a chance to talk about more than medicine and he wanted to revisit the conversation.
Shuja is the son of an Imam and grew up in a country that does not allow men or women to convert from Islam. But early on, he developed frustrations with his family’s faith. He did not like how followers of Mohammed treated women and saw the hurt those who follow the Quran cause. As a teen, he became vocal about his grievances and it cost him. At the age of 19 he was thrown in jail for his statements.
After three weeks in jail, Shuja was allowed to leave and soon fled the country on refugee status. His journey through Turkey, the Pacific Northwest, and Amarillo finally landed him in Dallas. As a student at Richland College, a school nurse referred him to QuestCare to help with his cold.
At his first visit, Paige and Shuja became fast friends. A spiritual conversation began and they talked about Jesus and His Good News as Paige drew the bridge illustration on the table paper in the exam room. During that visit, Shuja knew he had heard the truth, and was drawn to the message Paige was sharing but wanted to learn more before responding. He chose to leave with a New Testament in hand and a promise to keep investigating.
When he walked back in our building that second time ,he had kept his promise. He was excited to share with our staff and volunteers that he had continued to research the Christian faith after leaving his first visit. Not only had he finished the New Testament, but had also read the entire Old Testament and had gotten more books about Christianity on his own. As he sat with Paige that second time, his research had left him one conclusion.
“It’s Jesus,” he said. “It has to be Jesus.”
Shuja asked if he needed to get dressed up and go to church to formally convert to follow the God he had come to know through the New Testament. Paige explained Romans 10:9-10 and told Shuja that responding to Jesus’ message was possible no matter what he was wearing or where he was. So Shuja decided to pray to receive Christ that day.
“I guess it’s fitting that I do that here.” He said. “This is where I met Jesus, after all.”
For more stories of the multitudes we saw this year, continue to follow this blog series, or view our full 2017 Year in Review report here. Want to serve and meet people like Shuja in our clinic? Find out your next step here.