Omar: The Muslim who walked from Somalia to attend my Christian son’s funeral

1472236706099(an astonishingly profound interfaith article  from Fox News. . . Miracles sometimes do happen).

I’ll never forget the day my son died.

I rushed Tim, out to the car—leaving Ruth with the other boys—and drove as quickly as I could to the nearest hospital. Halfway there Tim went into cardiac arrest. His sudden asthma attack was taking his life, and we were desperate.

The dark streets of Nairobi were deserted.

All I could see was a lone man, walking in the darkness from a shopping center. I quickly blocked his car with mine, and I demanded that he drive my car to the hospital while I climbed into the back seat and frantically administered CPR on my son.

In a passing moment of hope, Tim’s heart began beating and he started breathing again. When we reached the hospital, the medical staff began emergency treatment for Tim. Our son was unconscious, but breathing. As Ruth, my oldest son Shane, and some friends began to arrive, we huddled to pray.

When we next saw the doctors, their eyes told us what had happened even before they spoke a word. Tim was gone. He was sixteen years old.

We have never wept as we wept in that moment.  In the five years we had lived as missionaries in the Horn of Africa and its surrounding countries, we had experienced heartbreak and stared the evil of terrorism straight in the face; but nothing had prepared us for this.

We had devoted our lives to serving the poor, and yet God had allowed our son to be a casualty of our sacrifice. We couldn’t help but ask ourselves: is all of this really worth it?

Later that morning, we sat with our other sons and talked about what had happened. I said, “We did not choose this horrible thing that has happened. And I don’t know how we are going to live through it. But we are going to make sure that we don’t waste Tim’s death. Somehow, we will do our best to honor God through even this.”

I don’t even know where those words came from. There was something profoundly supernatural about it. It was as if God was sitting right there with us in our pain.

Knowing Tim didn’t want to go back to America for college, but wanted to remain in Africa and become a teacher—Africa was truly his home—we decided to bury Tim at his school in Nairobi.

The funeral was scheduled for the following Saturday.

During that week, our home was filled with people every hour of every day. Neighbors, Tim’s fellow students, colleagues and friends from our Kenyan church enveloped us in their love and care.

Yet the biggest surprise of the week came on Thursday when “Omar” appeared at the front door and said to me, “I have walked here from Somalia. I had to come to help bury our son, Timothy.”



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