It Starts With "Shukran"

Perhaps learning a new language is your next discipleship move.

"I'd like a green tea, please."

The cashier swiped my card as her co-worker put the ingredients into my cup, snapped on the lid, and handed it over the counter without much eye contact; she had already turned to tend to the next customer.


She turned back to my direction and I repeated myself—in English this time. "Thank you."

As my tea steeped, I began to panic. Did her nametag really say she was from Egypt? Did I use the correct form of "thank you" for her as an Egyptian woman? Did I use someone else's "thank you" and offend her? Did I even say "thank you"?! Oh no. Here she comes...

When she asked if I spoke Arabic, I told her I was learning to read the Qur’an but had been practicing conversational phrases for about a week. She seemed delighted and told me how important she thought it was for people to learn Arabic since many Middle Easterners were moving to the city. We went back in forth with basic phrases and she even taught me some new ones

"Allah mahaba. Allah is love,” she said.

She opened the door; all I had to do was walk through it.


Personally speaking, I simply like culture and over the years God has stirred my heart for the Arab world. The culture I’ve experienced alongside my Middle Eastern neighbors captivates me. The sights. The sounds. The tastes. The people.

The Arabic language particularly delights my ears and feels interesting on the tongue; I just like it. So, when I had the opportunity to formally study it in a classroom setting, I jumped at the chance.

Though the adventurer in me wanted to learn, the American in me needed to learn. Recent Census data show that Arabic is the fastest growing language ...

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