Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? For me: Veterinarian, pastor, rock star. The ship has sailed on two of those and, had I known as a kid what the middle one entailed, I may have dreamed in a different direction!
Some kids, of course, want to be astronauts. It seems a more likely aspiration today than 50 years ago - certainly than 150 years ago!
But almost unbelievably on May 21, Rayyanah Barnawi, a Saudi Arabian woman, will launch with Axiom Space to the International Space Station. She’s a biomedical researcher who will focus “her attention on stem cell and breast cancer research” during her eight day stint aboard the ISS.
In addition to two Americans, Barnawi will be joined by fellow Saudi, Ali Alqarni, as part of the Kingdom’s fledgling space program. Barnawi says, “I am so proud to take with me the dreams of Saudi and Arab women to space.”
I love this for a few reasons:
- It’s fun to see women boldly go where only men used to be allowed.
- Perhaps Barnawi’s experience will give hope to Muslim girls and women who struggle to dream beyond their circumstances.
- It’s refreshing to see Muslims in the news for doing good things, cool things.
- I’d like to think this may be a step toward civility, shining light on areas in which the Arab Kingdom struggles.
Perhaps you’ve seen another Saudi women who’s in the news recently: Salma al-Shehab recently began a hunger strike in her prison cell. She’s serving a 34-year sentence for what she said and retweeted on Twitter.May al-Shehab find freedom. May Barnawi find success. And may they and women throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world find their place in God’s good kingdom as it grows in Saudi and beyond.
Check out the new Muslim Connect video on the role of intercessor. It was shot in the Denver Airport! I'd be grateful for you to subscribe and help get this fledgling channel going. Thank you.