My name is Barchin and I am a Muslim
Barchin, economist, Kyrgyzstan
January 28, 2009
Because of all this my husband and I made friends with Carlos, one of the lawyers in the practice, and Isabel, his wife, both of whom are Supernumeraries of Opus Dei. Although we belong to a different culture and a different religion, we agree on fundamentals about the family and about raising children.
In 2001 we moved to Barcelona. My husband had trained as a sculptor, and he obtained a license from the city council to paint portraits on Las Ramblas. I worked as a home help for some time and later on as secretary in the same lawyers’ practice, as more and more Russian-speakers are coming in for legal advice.
We decided to enroll our children, Isan and Aida, in Xaloc and Pineda schools respectively, both corporate works of Opus Dei. What we most value in them are the human and spiritual training and formation that our children receive.
My encounter with The Way
In Pineda I met Pepita. She runs a bookstall at the school entrance with publications about the family, education and child-raising, and one day I stopped to look at it and we made friends. Pepita always used to read me some point from The Way by St Josemaria Escriva, and she obtained ten copies of it in Russian for me.
As I explored The Way, I began to think how much it could help my family in Kyrgyzstan too, and so I decided to translate some points and pass them on by letter or telephone. I translated the points that I thought could do them most good at a given moment. I also talk about it to other friends I’ve made here in Madrid, like a Korean neighbor who is a Christian, and a Chinese friend of mine.
Sometimes I read the Gospels to learn about Jesus Christ, and also other things by the author of The Way, such as Friends of God.
As we are Muslims we are not used to having much contact with Christians. I am really struck by the way my Supernumerary friends put their Christian beliefs into practice in their personal and family life, the way they try to work hard, and pray, and go to Mass every day, and educate their children in values. We have great confidence in each other. My husband Musa, who comes from a very devout Muslim family, and I, found that their attitude is the same as our own: loving one’s neighbor, being respectful in the way one looks at people, not despising people… In the culture we come from, it is important to cultivate the life of the soul, respect the elderly, practice great care with everything concerning sexuality… And in our new country we often find the very opposite values.
What I most value in the Catholic religion is their faith in the Eucharist, and their respect and love for our Lady. And I like the way women are free to go to church.
In 2002 we learned the date of St Josemaria’s forthcoming canonization.
As I already had a deep admiration for the author of The Way, I thought this was something we couldn’t miss. We were delighted at the thought of going with the families from Pineda School and our friends Carlos and Isabel. We also wanted to meet Pope John Paul II, because we thought he was such a great person. We decided to put our names down for the trip with other parents from Pineda, and so began all the arrangements, a string of extra jobs to raise the money, the instalments… In the end both families got to the Canonization.
We followed the ceremonies very attentively and devoutly, praying hard all the time. I did my utmost to get to see the Pope, and succeeded. What I found most impressive of all was the solemnity of the ceremony and the respect for freedom, and the joy and family atmosphere. Everyone was praying, and helping each other, and everyone was really happy.
Lots of things struck me; above all, the silence at the moment of the Consecration, so that we could really see that Catholics do believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacred Host.
Opus Dei in Kyrgyzstan
When I went to Kyrgyzstan I took with me nine copies of The Way and one of Friends of God, all in Russian, for our families. I also found a Catholic church and talked to the priest there about Opus Dei.
I often ask when Opus Dei is going to Kyrgyzstan. And when the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria, went to Barcelona in September 2004 I took the opportunity to ask him if Opus Dei could go to work in my country soon.
The Father answered that he was praying for me, my family and all Muslims, and he encouraged me to continue passing on to my family in Kyrgyzstan what I found so helpful – the message of St Josemaria.
When I heard that Bishop Javier had lived with St Josemaria, we decided to make him a gift of a portrait of this Saint, which my husband had in his booth on Las Ramblas. At the same time I pray for Opus Dei, and I think that if it went to my country, as it is open to all people and respects them… many people would come to appreciate Catholicism or even be converted.
List of Contents
- Defending Life in Public Opinion
- The change in my husband
- Preparing dinner acquires infinite value
- I try to finish my jobs on time so I can spend longer with my family
- The Church’s social teaching will get across when people practice it
- Unite, understand, forgive
- Like a safe port for our little boat
- I’m a husband and a father. I have a vocation, too
- My name is Barchin and I am a Muslim
- "The Way of Escrivá"
- Giovanni Trapattoni, Soccer coach, Italy
- Selecting the right partner