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A Shave: The Beauty of Trust

By Raleigh,* RMM worker in North Africa

A part of living life here is entrusting my life—and the life of my family—into the hands of others. Most of these hands belong to Muslim men and women and they are most often very capable hands, worthy of my trust.

My favorite opportunity to practice this trust is to go for a haircut and shave. I walk a few blocks to find a young man I met about seven months ago.

After cutting my hair, Khalid* attaches a headrest to my chair and I lean back, exposing my neck to him so he can give me a shave the old-fashioned way. He lathers up my neck and puts the straight razor to it. As he shaves beneath my chin, my head is tilted so that I am looking directly at some religious script above his huge mirror; the only word I can make out is “الله“—“God.”

“I am happy to be in this vulnerable position and simultaneously thinking about (and sorry for) my poor friends who are afraid of this man and of everyone who shares his religion.”I’m sure I always smile while he does this. I am happy to be in this vulnerable position and simultaneously thinking about (and sorry for) my poor friends who are afraid of this man and of everyone who shares his religion.

If only they could have the next shave…

They would see my barber’s friendly demeanor; hear his patience with my start-stop, oft-wrong-tense Arabic. They would see his humanity; hear him dreaming of future things and greeting friends who stop by to see him every day simply because they walk this way.

Trusting in strangers is also imperative if we are to move about in this country: small-taxi drivers, big-taxi drivers, bus drivers, and train engineers all take us from place to place, navigating what once seemed like chaos and now seems, increasingly, like organized chaos.

But there is another person who may not come quickly to your mind but is often on ours: the person who stamps our passport when we come to re-enter every three months. What if they say, “No, not this time. You have to leave.” This is a real possibility, and it is a chance every three months to pray again: “We are trusting YOU with this. Please let us continue to live in this amazing place with these amazing people.”

Please keep lifting us up as we keep entrusting our lives into the hands of others. Because, after all, it’s just like the old kids’ song says: “He’s got the Muslims and their families, in his hands…”


Please pray for this family as they raise two young children and are expecting a third in August. Pray for healthy growth for all of their children, clear minds to continue studying the local language, and meaningful relationships with friends and neighbors.

To receive monthly updates from this family, email info@rmmoffice.org and ask to receive Raleigh and Opal’s newsletter


* Names changed for security reasons.