This is Sam from the Masking Journey Podcast, and our goal with the podcast has helped you to try to find your way in this difficult world. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Together, we explore the stories of men and women who take what they love and let God turn their passion into kingdom pursuits. Now, live from the Truth Booth, your host, Robbie Dilmore. I am so delighted to tell you that something's back.
We've been missing it for a couple of years since COVID happened, and I was so disappointed year after year, because this is one of the things I look forward to every single year. Since I guess we've been doing it about nine years, haven't we, Salim? A little bit more. I think like 14. Like 14 years you've been doing this. Oh my goodness, I didn't realize it had been that long. So for 14 years, there has been something called the Arabic Christian Festival. Or actually the Middle Eastern Christian Festival. And I even could get it right, the Middle Eastern Christian Festival. That's right, it is the Middle Eastern Christian Festival, and it's been going on now for 14 years, and we were part of that live for years and years and years until COVID.
And so now it's back. It's coming September 10th, so we're just a month out of this exciting event, and there's no describing it in 30 seconds. So we have promos that are going to come tell you about it, but I want everybody to begin to mark their calendars. We're going to be there live on Saturday, September 10th, but then it goes on for church on Sunday as well.
And oh my goodness, your family needs to be part of this. What an event. It is just a spectacular thing, as it is the Christian voice of the Middle Eastern culture, like you've never experienced culture.
And all that God's done, it's so spectacular. But of course, you know, it's Kingdom Pursuit, Salim. And those people who are listening expect that Robbie's going to play some shenanigans.
Now the fun begins, cause now it's time to play shenanigans. So, you know, as you can imagine that, you know, part of the Middle Eastern Christian festival is that it's one big team. It's all the same team. And so speaking of team, you know, what are the Carolina Panthers team fans do after they win the Super Bowl?
Have you ever wondered about that Salim? Do you ever wonder what the Carolina Panthers fans do after they win the Super Bowl? Nobody would know cause they have never won.
Actually, they turn off the PlayStation and go to bed. There you go. And you may have heard this, I've heard some bosses, they tell you there's no I in team, but you can always mutter back to them.
There's not so much you in there either. So here's a tough one for you. Since we've mentioned COVID has gotten in the way of the team of the Middle Eastern Christian festival is why did the anti-vaxxer get cut from the basketball team? Why, Salim, did the anti-vaxxer get cut from the basketball team? I have no idea.
He refused the shot. And my personal favorite on this list, if this does not make you smile, I don't think you're a human being. Okay. So I just found out that the Kool-Aid man, you're familiar with him, the Kool-Aid man, he plays on a baseball team. Did you know that? You know why, Carmen? No, I don't know. Salim, you got any idea why the Kool-Aid man would play on a baseball team? I sure don't.
He's a pitcher. That tickles me. It really, really does. So a very unique riddle today on the kingdom pursuit. So if you can call and guess this, we have a special prize package for you. So in Isaiah is the only mention of the word teams. Did you know that in the King James Version of the Bible, the only place you'll find the word team or teams is in the King James Version of the Book of Isaiah in which they mention three animal teams, three different animal teams involved. And they sort of, in order to get you over the hump and not to make a donkey or a foal of yourself, if you can guess those three animal teams, you can win today on Kingdom Pursuits.
Again, I might have had a hint in there that said, you know, to help get you over the hump, not make a donkey of yourself or a foal of yourself, you know, we can help you out. 866-348-7884 is the number to call and win. And if they do that, Carmen, tell them what they'll win. They'll win one of our wonderful mystery prizes from the Kingdom Pursuits prize vault. So call in and let me know if you know.
Yes, you will. And all you have to do is call in at 866-348-7884 and tell us what animals are involved in these teams in the Book of Isaiah. I think it's in chapter 21 and he's talking about these animals can get you over the hump, you don't make a donkey or a foal of yourself.
866, come on now, it's not that hard, 866-348-7884 and so nobody makes a donkey or a foal of themselves. So when they come to the Middle Eastern Christian Festival on September 10th, right, it starts at what, like 10 o'clock? 10 o'clock, Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday and Sunday. So at 10 o'clock you come out there and have you seen the dancing where the people go around in circles? Like have you ever been involved in that?
Like how fun is that when you're doing that for Jesus? Like with all these people that are like, they're professional, they know what they're doing and so they've helped me a lot over the years to perform. And then there's the food, like there's no describing, I have no one, the one that is always my personal favorite, Salim, and I'm going to go off my diet like you are when we get there, and it looks like a long meatball. What is that thing called? We call it kafta. Kafta!
Oh, Carmen. It's a... Kafta is the stuff. Are you familiar with kafta? No I'm not, but it sounds really good and I'll try it. Oh, you can smell it from about 40 miles to Turnersville when they start cooking that kafta.
I don't know what all is in a kafta, but it is absolutely spectacular. And then you put that together where they got this hummus that only you guys have. I don't know where you get it. It's not like the hummus you get in the grocery store. This is a homemade hummus. Homemade hummus? Yes, and usually involves some garlic in it.
Oh, okay. It makes it tasty. It is very tasty. And then they have the pita bread, and then there's the kebab, right? Yeah, the shish tok, we call it, which is the chicken kebab with some spices that you will really enjoy. And we haven't even talked about the desserts.
We're going to wait till later to get our just desserts here in on this. But again, the idea is, like, can you imagine in your wildest dreams? Like, I realize there's other festivals around that you might have taken your family to to see some culture. But when you come to the Middle Eastern Christian festival, the unique part about it is there are all these cultures. So right next to the Israel tent is the tent for Syria. And right next to the tent for Syria is the tent for Jordan.
And right next to the tent for Jordan is the tent for Egypt. And like, wait a minute, I thought all these people, you know, they're Christians, all these, it's the Christian voice of the Middle East. Yes, we are united under the banner of Christ, and Christ unite us, even though there are a lot of enemies in the Middle East. And people really are fighting each other and don't, I mean, like each other. But under the banner of Christ, we are all loving each other.
And so very cool. If you've just listened to the Christian Car Guys show, one of my neat things I can point out now is my friend Salim is from Lebanon. Yes, I am from Lebanon. I was born in Lebanon of parents from northern Galilee, actually. Really? Palestinian parents.
Yes. And when did you come to the United States? I came in 1978. I came as a young man at 19 years old. I came to study, and I couldn't go back, actually.
Lebanon was in a civil war that I had to stay back, and this beautiful country welcomed me. And we're so very, very glad we're going to hear a lot more of that story, a lot more of what's coming on September 10. And if you're not hungry yet, you will be. And it's coming September 10. It's the Middle Eastern Christian Festival. We've got so much of that.
And somebody can call in and talk to us about these teams of animals that, you know, there was something about a hump and something about a donkey and a foal. Come on. You're listening to the Truth Network and TruthNetwork.com. Welcome back to Kingdom Pursuits, where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build the Kingdom and how fun – what a passion this one is. Like, oh my goodness, the Middle Eastern Christian Festival. If you've never come, oh, you've missed out. So we want to just spend some time, you know, talking about what is coming September 10, again, to Kernersville, North Carolina. If you're listening in Dayton, Ohio, this morning, or you're listening in Richmond, Virginia, or you may be listening in Raleigh or in Charlotte, wherever it is you are, I, to me, I've never experienced anything quite like it, because as we described, not only obviously there's food and dancing and culture and all these things, but here you can sit there and have a great discussion, an in-depth discussion, with somebody, a Christian from Israel, or a Christian from Jordan, or a Christian from Lebanon, or a Christian from Egypt, or a Christian from Syria, right?
All these different – That's true. And then, and see that, beautifully, they brought their culture with them, right? They didn't leave it in the Middle East, that they have an understanding of family that's very unique, right? Yes, we are a close community that love the family, and we get our strength from the family also, being together and caring for each other. And this could not be made more obvious than I just found out during the break, that during COVID, when most churches struggled, the Friendly Arabic Church, which we'll get to why that was named that a little bit later in the show, it's really cool, the story, but the Friendly Arabic Church baptized more people in 2020 than they ever had previously, and so share with our listeners, Salim, how that, you know, why that happened, do you feel like? We all know that during COVID, people stayed at home and didn't have much to do, but we put an effort to stay connected through internet, through Zoom, Skype, and phones, and made calls, and made visits, made meetings, spiritual meetings, Bible studies. You knocked on doors, you said, and stood outside so that people would say that?
Yes, we even visited each other, but we stayed like the visitor would stay on a porch while the people, you know, inside the house at the door or stayed away, away from each other. We connected together, and we built each other, and we wanted everyone to feel that they're not separate, they're not alone. And really, that made a difference in their hearts, in our hearts, all of us, and we really supported each other.
We have people that lost their jobs, we made sure that they are, you know, supported. Yeah, that's what a church is, right? Yes, sir. It's a family. A community.
It's completely brothers and sisters in the Lord, just spectacular. So getting back to your story, so you came to the United States as a young man. Yes. And then, so how in the world did you end up like at the friendly Arabic church? What was the story behind that? It's a long story, but we'll make it a little short. I came as a young man to LA, actually, California, stayed there. I mean, went to college and ended up coming to North Carolina with family. I followed family. My brother, older brother, got married and came to North Carolina, to Greensboro, North Carolina.
I came, followed, and finished my studies. And at that time, in 1985, things really got bad at home in Lebanon, and we couldn't go back. At the same time, there was a retired Baptist missionary coming back from the Middle East. His name was Bill Hearn, and he's the one that started our church, actually, in Greensboro. He started with a home Bible study in Arabic. He spoke Arabic very well and found us in town and gathered us.
And one of the family opened their home to start this meeting. And that's how the Arabic community or church started there. Were you a Christian when you came to the United States? I was in the Catholic faith, Catholic religion, but actually, inside, I was not a Christian. I didn't know why Christ died, even though I worshiped, one way or another, Christ, and went to church. But I didn't know why Christ died. Then, actually, at the Bible study, I learned from that missionary that Christ died for my own sins.
And really, I started learning the Bible, and actually, within one year, Friendly Avenue Baptist Church adopted this home Bible study to become their home mission, and we started meeting in their building. And that's where we get our name, Friendly. It's true that we are friendly Arabs, okay? We're different. We're not the Arabs that are portrayed on the news, you know, fighting and killing each other.
We are the Friendly Arabic Church. And oh, are they. You know, if you've been hugged in your life, there's nothing like a hug coming from the people from the Middle East. I don't know how to explain it other than I know, because I've been there. And these people like that, you know, I will not have seen them for three years, but I know it's coming. And as soon as they see me, they get a big smile on their face. And you know what it is?
It's grace, Salim. You know, like, I feel like I'm their favorite when I'm in their presence. And that's how you will feel if you bring your family out there. Like, they're going to be so glad that you came to find out their stories, to find out what is going on with their culture. And to ask them questions like, you know, what's that funny hat mean?
Robbie, you won't be surprised. Even on Sunday, every morning, every Sunday morning, we see people that they work together Saturday, but then Sunday morning, they hug. And I mean, as if they never met before. And they are connecting. They share their lives together and live together.
And so, yeah. And so it's really just a really cool opportunity to understand a whole lot of things about that area from the people that really, their faith in so many cases has really, really been tested to the point that, like, man, you know, they've been through some unbelievable persecution in order to make the journey to even be at your church, right? Actually, a couple of weeks ago, I was with a person that wasn't familiar with our group. He was also from, actually, he was from Iran, and he didn't speak Arabic, but we spoke English together. And he was surprised that we were, he was invited to one of our picnics, and he was invited, I mean, surprised to see that each person, each family was in the picnic has a different story. And they were all persecuted, every one of us, okay? One way or another, we are here in this country because we were driven out of the Middle East. And everyone have, every family, every person have a testimony how God moved them into this area to live our Christian faith here.
Right. And you know, in the 119 Psalm, you know, blessed are those who keep his testimonies, right? And seek him with their whole heart.
You know, that's the second line of the 119 Psalm. And throughout the 119 Psalm, it talks about the joy of testimonies because they are the rejoicing of my heart. Because when you hear these testimonies, how God worked in these people's lives, it increases your faith, it increases your love for God. And you can see, right, God living out what's going on through these people and every one of their stories.
And often stories of like unbelievable testing within their own families and illness, right, that they've gone through since they've been in the United States. Yes, here in the States, I thank God for the freedom we have to celebrate our faith and our testimonies and share our testimonies. We have the freedom, which is God bless this country for this freedom that we are celebrating. Actually, at the Middle Eastern Christian Festival, that's exactly what we're doing. We invite the whole community, the faith community and everyone to come and celebrate with us the common faith and the love of God through Christ Jesus together. Right, and to do that with dancing and the music and the sharing and of course, you know, the food. It's a big part. We get the wedding supper, the land, and from what I understand, they're offering kofta.
I'm just saying. Well, Psalm 150 says that we celebrate God with all musical instruments, singing, praising and dancing. Remember? Oh, yes. We can express our worship through dance also. And that dance is a circle dance for a reason, right? Right. It resembles unity and holding each other and God wants to be united. Remember when Jesus prayed in John 17, he prayed for our unity to be one. One circle.
Yes. It's really, really, really fun. You know, and it's a judgment free zone. Nobody looked at me because I couldn't keep step. Do you believe that, Carmen?
Not one person. They looked at me funny because, you know, and I was not a great circle dancer. Are you shocked?
I am. Usually people are not nice about that, but I guess they are the friendly arabids. Yeah, they're friendly.
We try not to embarrass anyone trying to learn the dance. But they have all sorts of stuff. Yeah, they have stuff for the kids too, right? You've got the big blow up castle. You've got all kinds of things for them. Yes. The festival is children friendly with inflated walls, with playground and face painting and all kinds of other activities.
Oh, yeah. The kids are having a blast. They're eating.
The parents are enjoying the culture. It's something to take part in and mark your calendars September 10th and 11th. How fun to go actually worship with them on Sunday morning, 10 o'clock. That's going to be going on under the tent. So we'll be right back with a lot more with Celine.
You're listening to The Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Welcome back to Kingdom Pursuits where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build the kingdom, which is an international kingdom by the way. And we're certainly seeing that today with my good friend Salim and Drawas. Is that how it's pronounced in Arabic?
I'm trying to do it right. And Drawas. And Drawas.
I love that. With the Middle Eastern Christian Festival, which again is coming up September 10th through the 11th. And if I haven't mentioned it already, let me mention that it's F-R-E-E free. There's no charge to get in, is there Salim?
Yes. Come enjoy the festival and the fellowship and fun and food. So there's no charge to park. There's no charge to come. Of course, the food is going to cost you something, but it's going to be worth every last penny that you pay.
There's no charge to dance. There's no charge to come spend time with the people in that tent in Israel that are going to show you all the different things about what it's like to be in Galilee or you can go over to Egypt and find out about the pyramids. And you're going to do this with people that are Christian from the area that understand how their country uniquely stands for Christ in spectacular ways. I've never had a conversation with anybody in any of those tents that I just wasn't wowed with what God had done right through that particular very unique culture. God is moving. God is moving not only in our midst, but everywhere. And the Middle Eastern Christian Festival is a testimony for what God has done and is doing. Like we started speaking about the multiple cultures that we have. We have like maybe nine countries represented in this festival, in our church, actually.
And we are all united, expressing the love of God. And let's go back to the food. It's not for money, but if you're hungry and you cannot afford it, we'll offer you a meal. Oh, yes, they will.
For free. We've seen that as well. And so we have to get to the just desserts, because we talked about the kofta and there's pita bread and then there's kebabs. Oh, my goodness, are there kebabs?
And there's hummus and these different things, which they may have something new and exciting this year, chicken. But what about the desserts? Oh, the desserts are sweet. The way that we say that on the radio, we have sweet homemade sweets and baklava. Baklava also. Oh, you've heard it, it's baklava when it's Greek, but how do you say it, baklava? Yeah, the Middle East also have baklava, baklava, not baklava. Ah ha, there you go. So there's this, yeah. And I've seen this, there's like cookies that are powdered sugar looking things, and I'm just saying. I'm not an expert. I just only eat, you know, I remember that.
I wish my wife was with me here, she would give you all the details. But again, you get the idea. This stuff is, I mean, you guys are going to be, and I love this, right? Your church family is beginning to make preparations to do the baking, to prepare these different foods and you're going to be smelling it all over Kernersville on September 10th, aren't they?
Yeah. All the food are prepared ahead of time and except the grilling, the fresh meat, and really it's a treat. And it's not about raising funds, the whole festival is about fellowship, to fellowship and celebrate our faith and the love of God together. And the food is sold, yes, at a minimum price, just to cut on the cost of the whole festival.
But it's not about raising funds at all. No, and you will get a sense of that. You'll get a sense that these people are so happy that you came, right? That they are so delighted to share their testimony with you, to share their culture, to share their life, and it's a beautiful experience.
Again, I've got to do it for all these years and I was so, so grateful when I heard from Salim this year, we're going to do it again. It's coming back, and again, September 10th and 11th, and then that worship service Sunday, right? And so when people come to your worship service Sunday, can you kind of share what that's like?
Well, yes. Well, actually we are a dual language ministry. We worship in English and we worship in Arabic. The Sunday mornings, we have two separate meetings, one in English and one in Arabic. But Sunday, the 11th of September, when we have a joint service under the tent and everyone is welcome, it will be mainly in English. There will be some Arabic songs, but the message and the sermon will be in English in order to honor our guests. So come experience the Arabic songs and worship how the people of God can be united, worship in Him. And so that's kind of critical, the Arabic aspect of it, right? Because you know, you could imagine maybe being an American, that if all of a sudden you found yourself in Lebanon or you found yourself in Egypt and you found a fellowship that spoke English, you would feel so much more like, okay, now I understand, I feel more at home, I guess, to some extent. And that's how your people feel, right? When they come to an Arabic, that was part of what brought you originally when you went with that Bible study.
Right. Actually, it's our purpose to make people newcomers at home, okay? And the church is not only to worship God, but also our center of fellowship, making home, making people comfortable and feeling welcome. So yes, the Arabic church is a center for people to come and feel comfortable and feel at home.
And that's it. That's, you know, because part of being a disciple, right, is to feel like you are the bride of Christ and that you are the sister bride. You are his family in every aspect of what that is to where they're going to support you if you're hungry. They're going to support you if you're persecuted, if you're needy, if you need a job, you know, and all that that happened during COVID to your community, you guys expanded, right? We grew. We grew in numbers. We grew spiritually and in numbers during COVID.
Yes. It's just a beautiful, beautiful thing. And again, we're just sharing that, you know, this happens once a year and what an opportunity coming in right here in Kernersville, North Carolina, you know, where you're coming from Raleigh or Charlotte, I guarantee you. And I've had lots of guests come from Charlotte over the years. Lots of guests come from Raleigh. And every one of them are like, Robbie, I just cannot tell you how much, even I had some people come from snow camp one time. That was fun.
Larry George and my friends at Sloan Missionary Homes came from snow camp, did their show live out there one year. And you know, it's just been fun, fun, fun, fun. Never had anybody say, man, this food, no, no, no, they're smelling the food and they're wanting the food because, you know, it's cooked on the grills right there. And so that smell is wafting over, you know, that delightful smell that I'm sure that the Lord is so pleased with the incense that's coming from the food and the prayers. And so you guys are even praying right now, big time about this, right? We are praying right now that God moves between us at the time of festival and God touches the heart of people. We have even testimonies that God touched people and called people into ministry and in the mission field.
Let me share one of the testimonies. We have a man that came in and a Christian, a man that was actually asking God where to go. God has burdened his heart for ministry, for mission work.
And when he came to the Christian festival, the Middle Eastern Christian festival, God spoke to him and he ended up going on mission to the Middle East, actually to Lebanon. Really? Yes. As a result of coming right there.
Actually, he was a policeman. Oh wow. From Greensboro. All right. Well, we've got one more segment coming from the Middle Eastern Christian Festival coming September 10th and 11th this year. That's just a month away. Stay tuned. You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Welcome back to Kingdom Pursuits, where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build the kingdom. Today, it was so much fun having with the Middle Eastern Christian Festival. It's coming to the Friendly Arabic Church there in Kernersville, North Carolina, which is on Wicker Road, by the way. Of course, that's all going to be really clear to you on their Facebook page and their website, all at the Friendly Arabic Christian Church there in Kernersville on Wicker Road.
And it's coming September 10th and the 11th. We have Pastor Salim Andrawis with us, who is from Lebanon. What an amazing story. But let me just say, or maybe let you share, how encouraging is it to your church when people come to visit? Well, you see, we love people. We are, the Middle Eastern people love fellowship.
And really, the whole celebration is to celebrate and fellowship with people around us. And it's so encouraging to know that people are interested, whether to come to explore who we are. We have people just had curiosity who we are. And they were surprised.
They were friendly. And many people really, you know, come to worship with us and welcome us. And we express our gratitude to this land that opened their heart, I mean, its heart and the people, loving people that welcome us into their midst and neighborhoods.
And we want to fellowship together and express our love. And it's really, really, how cool is it that you, right, I don't know, you were grafted in, if you're listening today, and you're in Christ, you are grafted in to the body of Christ. And by the way, that's, you know, Jewish in original nature, came from the Middle East, right? And quite often, I'm not sure if I was Jewish in the beginning. I don't know where our ancestries go back to northern Galilee, were we Jewish? We came from Jewish background? I don't know. Actually, I did some DNA testing, it didn't go that far. It just told me that I was partly from that area apart from the northern side of like Turkey and Syria and southern Europe.
That's why my DNA actually. But you were saying, you know, during the break, how critical what it says in Acts chapter two is about the five aspects of the church that was the original church there in the book of Acts. Yes, the book of Acts tells us that in chapter two and verse 42, it says, and they continued steadfastly in the Apostle doctrine, and the teachings, that's what the church does. And then it says fellowship. And that's where I want to stress some more on fellowship. Fellowship is not only just a gathering one meal together, where the church people, the people of God come together and share a meal. Fellowship is living life together, having fun together, crying together, I mean, doing life together, sharing each other. Right, and the isolation is the exact opposite of church.
Well, it is, it is. And when it continues, it says fellowship in the breaking of bread and in prayers, and then it says they were praising God together. And these five aspects of our Christian life make who we are. But usually fellowship is misunderstood.
Fellowship is living life together, daily life, staying connected. And again, it's just an opportunity that is re-unique, comes once a year and it's in this area to really, you know, get out of your Lebanon, so to speak, your comfort zone, whatever that may be, and come on a mountaintop experience to see what it's like in other cultures, right, to see what it's like in Iran, right? To meet an Iranian that's friendly, that's true. To meet, you know, a Syrian that's friendly, right?
Because you don't necessarily picture these, but when you meet that Iranian that's friendly, like you won't forget them as being friendly, you won't, will they? Yes, we are friendly. We are the friendly Arabic church, okay? And the friendly Middle Eastern Christian festival.
Come and fellowship with us. It is at Wicker Road, and again, you know, it's a neat way, like, you know, spend an afternoon exploring some things that you just never would have imagined were that way, that what is heaven going to be like when literally all these countries together are all like, you know, in their tents, and they will all bring their cultures with them, won't they? And people that come and visit us, visit with us, can bring the whole family, enjoy a couple three hours with us, explore the different cultures, we have different cultural tents representing each country that we come from. I still have a picture where I had on the whole Turkish, I think I was sitting on a camel saddle or something, you know, they got all these different ways that they can engage you in each tent.
It's really cool how much work they put into it, and you don't want to miss it. It's coming September 10th and 11th, again, the Arabic Christian friendly Arabic church in Cornersville on Wicker Road. It's the Middle Eastern Christian festival. Thank you. Salim, how much fun was that? Thank you for hosting me.
Oh, it's one of my good friends. And don't forget the kofta. We will be eating kofta. And for you, you're going to be eating kofta when you listen to us encouraging prayers coming up, and then it's followed by the masculine journey starts here now, followed by it's time to man up with Nikita Kolov. So much truth coming at you on the Truth Network. Thanks for listening.
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