Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 2, 2009

In the Back Alleys

   30 April 2009 | Kashmir

   The government-ordered hartal is still in effect today. Security is high and travel on certain streets is forbidden. Shops are closed and there are only a few cars on the streets. We took a shikara (a small boat) from our houseboat hotel on Dal Lake to the main road where we met our hosts. Ours was one of the few cars on the road. We avoided the main part of town because of anticipated demonstrations and instead skirted around the lake to the home of a Muslim-background believer. As we approached his home, our friend met us on the road where we parked and then walked through back alleys to his modest home. This was another God-ordained meeting with a Christian who has suffered much for his faith. It’s hard for us to imagine the loneliness that often suffocates Christ-followers here. Our visit was indeed a breath of fresh air to this dear brother. Looking into his eyes, I felt ashamed because of how easily we dismiss the multiple opportunities we have to worship and interact with other believers.

   We enjoyed a hot cup of tea and delicious cookies with our new friend and then spent time together in prayer. Our visit and prayers revived him and reminded each of us that we are part of the same family of faith. Before we departed, we promised to remember him and his family in prayer, knowing the challenges they face living as Christ-followers in a Muslim neighborhood. After our prayer time, we walked down the dark stairway in his home and out into the alley that leads back to the main road where we said our good-byes.

   Lee and I then joined our host for an afternoon walk through Srinagar’s back alleys and streets, the places where tourists don’t venture. The houses here are at least three or more stories high and built to survive tough winters. These tall houses cast dark shadows on the narrow streets below where women buy bread and meat from local vendors and men sit smoking and discussing the current elections. Curious looks, whispers, nervous smiles, and giggling children greeted us everywhere we walked. With the exception of some boys who threw rocks at us, the people were generally happy to see us and to talk with us.

   We spoke with one man who screamed about all that is wrong with America. He finally calmed down and we turned the tide of conversation to Jesus. He was open to listening when he learned that we have read the Qu’ran. We challenged him with passages from the Qu’ran that talk of Jesus and tell Muslims that they should read the “before books.” He said that he did not have a copy of the Bible but promised to read the Gospels. Our host will later return with copies of the Bible for this man and the others we spoke with. This is a small but important step because the Psalmist said, “The entrance of Thy words gives light” (Ps. 119:130).

kashmiri-woman   As we waked through the littered alleys and by-ways I was moved by the faces of the people who call these streets home. They have no access to the Scripture and will not hear the message of Jesus unless Christ-followers venture to these inconvenient places and walk slowly among the people. Jesus expressed concern for the people on street corners (Matt. 22:9). We should be concerned about them, too. Please pray for the people who live in back alleys in inconvenient places around the planet. Remember those who live in the shadows and are so easily overlooked and neglected. Dare to go beyond the main roads and into the back alleys to tell those who live there that God loves them.

• • • • •

Note | For more on Kashmir, please read Kelly Isenberger’s blog.


  1. Great blog, O. We are praying for your mission and sounds like a great place for ministry. Hope we get to visit one day.

  2. Thanks for inviting people of Kashmir, into the Jesus! Great evangelisms among the Muslims! The end of the day, these people will be able to answered that, “we heard Jesus”

    Thanks once again.

  3. I am so thankful that you have been able to keep in touch through your blogs. We are praying for you all.

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