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On Saturday, I visited a Sikh temple, a Muslim mosque, a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple in Houston. They were less than an hour from my house and all within a few minutes of each other.
I was with a group that offers temple tours to explain how to build bridges with our international neighbors. Through our work with refugees in Houston at Mercy House Global, I sit in the homes of women from different cultures every month and I want to know them better and understand what they believe. It was eye-opening, fascinating, intriguing and very educational. It also made me love my city even more.
Stop - Thing - Guru - Priest - Imam
Every stop we made had one thing in common, which is also what I loved best and surprised me most: every guru, priest, imam, and leader I met was extremely welcoming, wildly hospitable and obviously eager for us to understand what they believe and why. We were offered tea and donuts, bottles of water and “Please come back for the free lunch that we offer to the community!” These leaders were kind, intelligent and opened the door wide for us to take steps to understanding each other. I felt so comfortable that I would consider see going back by myself.
I met an imam who had gotten his PHD in Islamic studies from Liberia, I watched a Sikh prostrate himself on the ground in his temple to worship. I couldn’t help but smile back at the lovely Hindu woman was so happy to share with our group about higher enlightenment. These were people who dress differently than I do, men who don’t cut their hair their entire lives, women who cover their heads with a hijab or shave it off completely like the beautiful elderly Buddhist woman arranging flowers at an alter.
There were moments, I...
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