By Liz Adair
This is my son Clay's second year at BYU. He transferred there as a junior, after attending the local community college. It was his second choice, but the University of Washington had a moratorium on transfer students, so off he went to BYU. Though I was pulling for UW, I'm glad that Clay went to BYU, and this is the reason why:
Clay has a new set of roommates this year, and it's been an interesting experience for him. Clay really likes the young man he shares a room with. He's bright, articulate, and funny. Though far from home and with a difficult family situation, yet he remains devout. He and Clay have established such a tight bond that he invited Clay to fast with him a couple of months ago.
His hame is Hani, and he's Muslim. His difficult family situation is that he is from Gaza, and even if he could afford the ticket, he couldn't go home to see them because of the near impossibility of getting through the checkpoints into Gaza. His family are all educated or skilled artisans, but few are working, and of the ones still working, few of those are being paid because of the political and economic situation, which becomes increasingly dire.
Hani attends BYU on a scholarship from BYU. He has been there six years. He is in charge of the Arabic house and is the native speaking resident in an apartment where only Arabic is to be spoken. (This really limits conversation at the beginning of the year.) That is how Clay came to be his roomie, and how Clay was invited to fast with Hani during the last week of Ramadan.
Hani came to see us during the Christmas holiday. He rode the bus becasue, as a carrier of a Palestinian passport, flying can be a scary experience. He called us Brother and Sister Adair, and it was interesting to see that he studies the LDS religion in the same way that Clay is studying Islam: from the outside looking in. That's okay. It made for some great discussions.
I would invite you to visit Hani's blog at http://hanistan.blogspot.com
Hani's current posting is about his last trip home to see his family and what he went through just to arrive at his front door in Gaza. Read further, and you'll find lots of interesting, illuminating information. You'll also see into the heart of this wonderful young man.
I also would invite you to join with the Adairs in adding Gaza and Hani's family to your nightly prayers as you pray for the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and other places where innocent people are in difficult situations. There is a glimmer of hope in Gaza for the beginnings of a process that could lead to a better situation. Let's all join together to pray that that glimmer will become a bright and shining light.