As you may or may not know during the month of August the Islamic faith celebrates their Ramazan holiday! Some of you may know the holiday as Ramadan. Ramazan is marked by the ninth month of the calendar and for that month participants fast from eating, drinking, and sexual activity during the day to develop patience, humility, and submissiveness to God (Allah). I am not Muslim however I work in a school that is 90% Muslim which means that everyone I am trying to build a relationship with is a participant of Ramazan and fast. After doing some research and learning the meaning behind this holiday, I felt that patience, humility, and submissiveness to God are all things that I need to work on as well, and I asked myself what I have done for my God lately? So I’ve decided to fast! Not as a participant of Ramazan but as a young Christian wanting to build a better relationship with God. I am following a model from Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. I tried this fast before but didn’t do as well towards the end. This time I am making a commitment and sticking to it. What I realized is that everyone has to do the fast that is right for them. Fasting is about sacrifice but it’s also about developing yourself so there’s no need to set unrealistic expectations. No matter how big or small your sacrifice, it is still a sacrifice, and for me it’s still a start.
On August 1st I began my 31 days of a partial fast. Each day I pray for something or someone ranging from my purpose in life to the fruits of the spirit. I read relevant passages from the Bible and write in my journal to God. I am only on day 7 and I feel that I have already been tested. The biggest lesson I have learned thus far is to allow God to take all your fears, doubts, worries, and insecurities away. This has been difficult for me because being in a new country is nothing but fear, doubt, worry, and insecurity. I have found myself fearing for my life during the night, doubting my purpose in my program, worrying about my health, and being insecure about who I am and what I can offer. I will be honest and say that I am struggling and most times I have no one to talk to about how I feel. Let me be clear and say that it is not because I am alone, but it is because you truly cannot understand unless you are here with me. The good news is that I am learning to fight fear with faith and that I have blessed with a “Hydrabestie” named Malika who makes me feel like everything is ok. She still say’s I’m crazy but she knows that I’m not that crazy!
I went to church for the first time here and met every person of African origin in Hyderabad and saw almost every other expat in the city. The choir was replaced by a soft rock band and by the end of the service I felt like I was at a concert! Different but refreshing! I’m excited to see how many lessons I will learn and how many amazing people I will meet along my spiritual journey. I already have three new friends and seven lessons and I’m so ready for more!