Got one of those “8 years ago today” messages in Facebook today. Wow wow wow. It was the week I met Safi Kaskas and Mark Braverman at a week long conference in Denver. It was June 2011. So much has happened since then. A lot of Arabic coffee with my Muslim friends from Syria. Half-a-dozen trips to the Holy Land with extended stays of up to 3 months in the West Bank. Two movies. Lots and lots of conversations with friends in the work of peacemaking. Meeting my best friend, Cari Conklin, who shares this passion and then marrying her. I remember asking Mark Braverman how to talk to my Christian tribe about the Holy Land. He said something like “read Jesus and Paul. It’s clear that God did not instruct his people to focus on real estate!” And Mark is a self described blue blood Jew. His advise came providentially a few months before I left to serve in Hebron. Safi’s story of learning to know Christians who loved Muslims, and his work on a modern translation of the Qu’ran with references to the Bible (that he wrote with a Christian brother) still is a beacon to me in my own bridge building work with Muslims. I remain deeply indebted to both of these friends, for their deep passion, insight and spirituality. Both are godly men, one Muslim, another Jewish. We share a conviction to love God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves. Such great partners in the subversive work of true peacemaking where we look at our “other” as fellow human beings with similar needs and longings, made in the image of God and worthy of our respect and love.