Monday, August 16, 2010

KFC in Egypt is amazing!

Lets start out by saying, this was an amazing day. It started out with us waking up at 8:00 am, which is about 3 hours early for all egyptians. We all got together and read through Isaiah 58 and discussed the significance of fasting. This was important to us because we are in a culture that is fasting from sunset until sundown everyday. The interesting thing about it is that the muslims are fasting because they believe that this month of fasting will take away their sins that they have committed that year. The Islamic faith has become fascinating to me and I cannot explain how much I have learned on this trip that I would love to share with anyone who asks. (So give me a call when I get back and we will definitely get coffee!)

After this, we got into the van and set off toward the city. Bouncing up and down in the van talking and laughing about nothing is one of the best feelings I know. We pulled up to the unmarked building and walked inside. Up the stairs we saw the same widows that we had met last week and with them were more women we had the opportunity to get to know. We watched as the pastor preached and Papa walked up to us. He said, "We need 2 people to give testimonies and one person to teach a 10-15 minute teaching." I had yet to share on this trip and I really felt that this was the time. So I told Papa I would do it. I got nervous a little but realized that there is nothing to be nervous about because God will be glorified either way. I spoke about how there will always be storms in this life, and even if they are daily storms like you getting frustrated about someone or something or if they are having to deal with death and illness. We can't loose sight of God in those moments. Its hard and sometimes we question why certain things happen to us, but we cannot loose sight of the fact that God is in control and that He has a purpose for everything. I told them a story about an experience I had in Mexico where God showed up in an amazing way. I then brought them back to the story of Jesus in the boat with the disciples during a terrible storm and how they were loosing sight of Jesus' power and mission. They knew Christ was powerful and yet they were fearful. They knew Christ was right there and yet they questioned him. We do this so many times, but we cannot loose sight in the fact that it isn't about us. It is about God being glorified. Even in our troubles, it is about God being glorified, it has nothing to do with us.

After this I the women started to leave but I saw a few women standing in line for prayer. I walked up to an elderly woman who was about 4 inches shorter than me (which is really short. lol.). She saw me and came right up to me. I laid my hands on her and just started praying. I prayed for her strength and that her heart would not yearn for anything but God's love. I felt compelled to pray for her family and that God would keep her family together even in the hard times. I don't know why I felt that this was important to pray for but I did. I gave her a kiss on both cheeks as is tradition here in Egypt. She smiled and said something in arabic as she raised her hands to the ceiling. I smiled and laughed and told her "Shukran" which means thank you. She walked up to one of our translators and pointed to me and our translator told me, "She said she wants you to pray for her husband who suffers from many sicknesses. She is having a hard time and cannot take care of him like he needs." I smiled and knew that was the reason why I wanted to pray for her family. It turns out her husband is bed bound because of many diseases and seeing that she was probably in her 70s and crippled herself, I cannot imagine the strength it must take to do that day in and day out.

We then said our goodbyes and jumped into the "stallion." We made our way back to the apartment where Papa took us into the basement area. He has a ministry with some of the Sudanese refugees where he gets donations and brings it to them. The bad part about Egypt is that EVERYTHING gets dusty with sand. . . like everything. So we took the opportunity then to hose down rugs, bins, suitcases, lamps, everything we could hose down and we organized everything afterward. We had a lot of glasses we had to wipe down and put in boxes, medical supplies to move, clothing to put in boxes, and other things. We worked so hard and finished so fast that Papa was very impressed : ) We then went into the boys room where we watched Papa's ministry videos. These videos are about the Christianity and Islam tension. It is really insightful and interesting to see the way the Islam religion portrays Christianity and visa versa. Please please please ask me to coffee and I will explain all of it to you! Its an important topic to talk about as well! These videos are iMN videos on : )

We again all climbed into the big white stallion and drove away. This time we were going to a place that we had passed many many times, but never got a chance to actually go inside. This place is called, "Trash City." Most of the city's garbage is collected by an unofficial labor force which has been acting out of its own volition for about 100 years. The trash people live at the foot of the Muqqattam Mountains. They collect, sell, and reuse Cairo's trash. The business of selling trash to China has actually become the reason why most of these people stay in this situation. The streets are filled with trash, the cars are filled with trash, the apartment building are filled with trash, there is trash on top of the apartment buildings. We passed what looked to be a 10 year old driving a truck through these narrow roads. The smell is also a disheartening thing because while your in trash city, it smells like you have entered into a trash can. Being in such a strange community made me feel like I was in Peter Pan. It felt like part of the Lost Boys. It was very strange. We could see wooden tree house looking things stacked up on top of the apartment buildings as we drove up Moqqattam mountain.

As we made our way up the mountain we came to the cave churches. These churches are carved out of the caves in he Moqqattam mountain. It is incredible. When you walk into this cave, all you can think about is the glory of God and how amazing this experience has been. The congregation of this church is 66,000 and the amount of people that come to a given sunday is 14,000. It blows my mind though that this amazing church sits right at the top of the Trash city. You have to drive through trash city to get to the cave churches. It is ironic though because 65% of the people in Trash City are christian because of a man in the 1960s who decided to tell them about the Gospel. Sitting by the cave church looking out onto the Trash City just makes me think of how amazing God is and how in the midst of everything God is glorified. There are more christians living in Trash City and yet they are perfectly fine because they have Christ. . . It blows my mind.

We made our way back to the great stallion where Papa had water for us : ) He's so good. We headed down out of Trash city where we ended up at the most glorious sight we could have ever imagined. . . We jumped out out of car and all looked up toward the red sign that said, KFC! It also said it in arabic. haha. Anyways, a great day ended with a great meal! I miss american food so much! haha. We then went to a shopping place in Cairo where I got the cutest things for my sisters, mom, and friends. . . and myself : )

All in all, today was amazing. . . I am SOO blessed to be able to see this culture and to see the needs it has. I am so blessed that I have people reading this and who are doing this with me. Thank you all so much!! Miss you and love you!!

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you 
cannot tell where it comes from or where its going. So it is with
everyone born of the Spirit." - John 3:8

Friday, August 13, 2010

Staying Home with Egyptians : )

So, yesterday I still felt terrible. I woke up at 7 am with a slight fever and took some more Tylenol. I went back to sleep but my throat felt so swollen and like it was on fire. I started to break down because I just felt so bad. CJ is such a sweetheart and told me that I should just stay home while they went to the farm. I knew that is what I had to do but I didn't want to, I wanted to feel better. So we then made our way to Papa's house where we had lunch. I couldn't eat hardly anything because I was feeling nauseous, but I tried to eat as much as I could. Watching the team leave was really hard, but I knew that there was no way I could go with them and work. I then got a great opportunity to spend the night with an amazing egyptian family. We watched egyptian TV. haha. The language here sounds like a mixture of german and greek, and I sometimes hear some spanish words in there. lol. Needless to say, I fell asleep at 10:00 pm. At 11 Mama, who is such a sweet sweet woman, woke me up and gave me a sandwich and some water. I then went back to bed where until 11 am when I woke up. I prayed that my throat would feel better. The left side of my throat wasn't as swollen, but the right side seemed huge. haha. but only the right side hurt today which is a huge improvement. I took a shower and then sat and talked with the kids. We had breakfast which consisted of a huge pan of shredded wheat with raisens and nuts. You pour warm milk over it so it kind of tastes like warm shredded wheat cereal. I talked with Mama a lot about the culture here and how it is amazing to see God working in the hearts of people here in egypt just like he is working in the hearts of people in the US. One thing I learned was that the islamic religion is not a relationship driven religion at all. The muslims can do all the prayers and go through the motions of the religion and then do what ever they like after they have checked all the boxes of their religion. Ramadan is a month where all their sins are forgiven. So, if they fast, then they can have all their sins forgiven then still sin whenever they want to because they have fasted. Drugs and alcohol are okay in the Islamic faith, as long as they partake in Ramadan or go to Mecca (which forgives all their sins and makes them like a baby). These are just a few things I picked up in our conversation this morning. Mama told me, "We have such a treasure. We find our strength and joy in Jesus. Even though we may go through a hard time, we still give it all to God so that he is in control. We don't have to worry about it because he has it all under control." I feel like that is a truth that we take for granted. The Islamic culture knows no relationship with God, they just think that if I can do all these prayers and check off the boxes, than I will get to heaven, but they lack the relationship with God that will help them through the everyday things.

It is 1:40 pm on friday, and I THANK all of you who have prayed for my health. I am so excited about the things God is doing in Egypt and you guys are such a huge part of it in prayer. I know these next 8 days will be vital in what we are going to do here, and I ask you guys for prayer in our health and our journey here. Love you!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Kirsten got it on the first try."

So today started off pretty poor. I woke up feeling terrible and decided to take my temperature with the thermometer that Papa gave me. It read 38.7 degrees Celcius, which I then converted on my computer to 102 degrees. That sucked. So I took 3 Ibuprofen and put a huge ice bag on my head and prayed that I would feel better. I called Papa who gave me some tylenol and some azithromycin, which is a broad spectrum antibiotic. Its funny though because the package is half arabic and half english. I took my medicine and went to bed as fast as I could. We were supposed to get picked up at 12 for lunch, but 12 past, then 1 past, then 2 past. . . we were wondering what was going on. lol. But Egyptian time says to never be on time. Then finally at 4 I woke up from my deep sleep and we all decided to go onto the roof (this was 6:00 pm). On the roof I looked down to find our ride. So we all packed up and headed to the church.

At the church, there was a praise and worship band consisting of 1 singer, 1 piano player, and 1 bongo player. The music was actually really good and exactly what you would think egyptian music would sound like. After music, CJ told her testimony. This group of teenagers are teens that struggle with a lot of drugs, alcohol, and sexual struggles. After CJ's testimony, we split it up into boys and girls. The 5 girls on the team all shared something that was on our hearts. At the end of the teaching, a girl looked up to me and Marlie and said "How know God voice?" We didn't quite understand her, but then she said, "How hear God voice?" We finally knew that she was asking us how do we know when God is talking to us. We turned to a wonderful woman who can speak both arabic and english and asked her to translate. She told us to "Sit down, this is a good question." We answered her by saying that when you have the holy spirit inside of you, God moves you toward and away certain things, but you have to be aware of God and praying to him constantly to finally get the encouragement to go a certain direction. She then told us how she has different talents and wants to use them for God. She asked us how does she know which one is the right one. We told her that she should first pray about it and then when an opportunity arises she should go for it and the times you know that you are doing the right thing are the times that you see the fruits of the spirit shine and that God is in what you are doing. She was talking to the translator and started crying so hard. I asked what was wrong and the translator said, "She loves God so much, she has such strong feelings towards him and all she wants to do is serve him. But in this culture, a woman, especially a very young woman is not encouraged to do much. She wants to serve, but can't because no one is helping her." We all started to pray for her that she would get an opportunity to serve in her church or that she would find a new church. I talked to her saying that she is enough for God. Her desire broke my heart. I take it for granted that I can serve in my church in the US. I can't imagine having this deep desire to serve my God and not being allowed to or not having the means to do so. I told her that I would be praying for her, and that Gods timing is the right timing and when she sees an opportunity to take it. I also told her that she should even put herself out there and maybe invite her friends over and do worship with them or something. All in all, it was a great night. : ) Alhamdulillah = Praise God. lol. 

We headed back to Papas house where I talked with my moomy : ) We also had an amazing dinner of sandwiches, cream of mushroom soup, and baklava. It was good, especially because we hadn't had any lunch. haha. Egyptian time is very strange because everyone eats dinner at 12:00 am which means you don't even go to bed till around 2:30, which is what time it is right now. 

Okay, tomorrow were leaving after lunch and traveling to some very old caves. Were going to go exploring in the caves all day long and spend some time taking pictures. : ) We will then travel to "The farm" I am not sure what that means exactly. haha. But I know that it is a farm 2 hours outside of Cairo that the people we are working with now have worked with a lot. Then we are going to watch the sunset as we have a campfire,  sing praise and worship songs, and have a great time. At 8:00 pm is when we will start working. We are going to have sand sifters to sift out the rocks that the farmers will be using. This will help them save a lot of money. We will also be working there on friday. I am not sure what we will be doing then, but I am sure that it will be interesting and wonderful : ) 

Prayers: Please pray for this stupid sickness to go away : ( It sucks to feel like crap when your trying your hardest to work for God. Thank you guys so much for praying for our service today!! It went so good! 

Good night~!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Egyptian Siestas are the best!

Today was an interesting day. . . I definitely woke up with my throat hurting sooo bad. It turns out that I felt like I had a fever as well. You could call today the day of sickness for sure. The guys came up to the apartment where I still had my head under a pillow, but they had breakfast. Then I decided to take some medicine, drink some gatorade, and try to get through the day. Papa told us that we had to read Acts ch. 17 to figure out Paul's testimony to the greeks and apply it to our own testimony. It was very interesting because it corresponds with the islamic people. I guess it really applies to all people: idolizing the world instead of worshiping God. We talked about how different it is telling our testimony to a non-believer than a believer. It is hard being in a region where Christianity is looked down upon. Tomorrow starts Ramadan and it is interesting because all the mosques, all the apartments are decorated in what we would call Christmas lights. I kind of understand now how other religions feel when we have Christmas Break or Easter break, because right now the entire city shuts down from dawn until dusk (around 7:00 pm). It doesn't matter if your Christian or not, but the entire city will be shut down. Once we talked for a while, Taylor prayed for my sickness to go away. It was really strange because about 3 minutes later I felt 100% better. I really thought I wasn't going to make it today, but after praying/drinking lots of gatorade, I felt better. Even though I started to feel better, Scott started to feel nauseous. (The calm before the storm).

We made our way to one of the poorest areas of Cairo. As we drove around, there were donkeys, horses, and goats tied up in the middle of the road. There was trash everywhere and many people out walking. It is crazy because there would be boys on bicycles carrying huge blocks of ice on their bike, women carrying huge baskets and bags on top of their heads, and men sitting down on the side smoking. It is a very different culture, but in this particular area the chaos seemed to reach out in every direction. We pulled up to the church where Papa told us, "Guys, now, I need to ask you something. Get out of the car, don't look around, and go straight into the building. We want to not show ourselves to anyone. This is the protection of the building and not the protection of us necessarily." I looked at him and internally said, "Well, okay. That is a little nerve racking, but sounds good." I was the first out and I walked silently and quickly into the building. I walked up to the first floor where I heard music playing. We walked into the room and sat down in the back. (There was wonderful air conditioning!) We listened to the passion in the pastor's words even though we couldn't understand what he was saying. We ended up being moved behind the stage (stage left? lol) where we could listen to the music and service. During this time Papa brought a shot of B6 for Scott because he was feeling so nauseous. Scott then got the opportunity to share his testimony which was really awesome to hear. After the service ended, we were told by the lead pastor that he wanted to make us lunch and if we would like tea or a "bebsi." We all said bebsi because we are americans. haha. We walked up the narrowest stairs I have ever seen to an apartment that had wonderful couches in it. The door to the balcony was open where we could hear the sounds coming from the streets. Taylor has a film camera and headed toward the window. We were stopped by one of the egyptians who told us we should not put ourselves in such a place in fear of someone seeing us. We stayed in the living room while Papa talked to us about part of his testimony. We all at that time looked terrible and felt useless. I think that the pastor of the church saw this and said, "It is 1:30 and lunch will not be ready for about another hour. You go into the rooms and sleep till that time." It was such a blessing because I really did not feel good, and I knew that I needed a nap. Typing this right now, it is crazy to me that he let us go and sleep in their beds. haha. They are such loving people. Needless to say that nap with Joy was amazing. : ) I woke up an hour and a half later, and as with the egyptian timing lunch was late.

Lunch was very interesting. haha. First they brought out the rice. The rice looked and smelled SO good. Next, I found a man carrying up a tray with something black on it. I looked, and there were about 15 fish that had been cooked. Not the normal fillet fish, but the whole fish. So we sat down at the table, and one of our translators told us that he was going to give a lesson on how to eat fish. He proceeded to put his hand inside of the fish and pull it open. Then his other hand wrapped around the whole head. While he pulled the head up, the spine and some of the ribs came with the head. . haha. It was very funny because I felt like I was on indiana jones or something. However odd it felt to pull a fish's head off, the fish itself tasted so good. The rice also had a pumpkin spice flavor? haha. It turns out they cook their rice by first melting down sugar in a pan, adding oil and garlic into a sauce. Then they put in the rice and add Indian's 7 spices. It tasted like pumpkin pie though. lol. It was really good. : )

After this, two of the Egyptians we had been with shared their testimonies. I love hearing their testimonies because it seems like the Lord brings these people to Himself by showing them certain things. Being Christian is such an americanized thing now, that most people miss out in the true meaning of it. But in Egypt, it is illegal for a muslim to convert to christianity and if they are found out to now be christian, they will be killed. This is something that blows my mind. I ask myself the question that if I was in this country to begin with would I give up literally everything and my safety to follow Christ? I can't say, because I know God put me in the US for a reason. I know now that he has me in Egypt for a reason.

After spending more time with these people, we headed to this crazy Ice Cream place. . . which was very interesting. haha. Mine was a mango smoothie, topped with bananas, topped off again with ice cream and other mango sauce. The ice cream here though tastes like frozen whipped cream. haha. It was good, but I started feeling really bad again : (. We ended up going back to Papas house where we worshiped with one of our translators for about an hour. He sang American songs in Arabic and it sounded so awesome! Its so crazy to me that Chris Tomlin's songs are being used in Egypt! haha. I want to tell him that. . . if I ever meet him again. I took my temperature then and found that I had a low grade fever, which I took some Ibuprofen for and feel much better now. Papa made us all frappaccino's (egyptian style with cinnamon, sugar, and milk) and then we had dinner which consisted of a backed pasta and egg casserole with cinnamon (cinnamon is a major spice here). It was surprisingly good. Then we had cake for dinner. . . as you can see Egyptians love to eat!! haha. It is crazy.

We made our way back to the apartment and many things started to go wrong: Scott and I were really sick today, CJ didn't know that the tuition date had passed and was dropped from a very important class, Marlie found out that the job she applied for didn't get a huge part of the application which took her forever to type up, and Scott's friend in Austin apparently got in a really bad mugging situation. All of these things kind of brought us down and so Joy said, "Guys, we need to pray right now and make sure that our focus is not coming off of Christ." We sat down together and prayed for all of these things, and we knew that we have God on our side and that he was going to use us.

Tomorrow we have a daunting task. We are going back to the same church but this service is the student ministry you could say. We are running the whole service which means we will have worship, 2 testimonies, and a message. These kids though are kids from very broken families that are into sex, drugs, and everything else of the world. They have been coming to this church, but most of them are not saved. We have the opportunity to bridge the gap between what they think about christianity and what it really is. CJ is going to be sharing her testimony, which is very hard to speak in front of a large group of people. Prayers for her are much needed. I ask you guys to pray for all of us as we go into this task tomorrow that God will move many and that more of these lost children of God will find the peace and love of Christ so that they may be saved.

*** *** This is a good website, however, it doesn't touch the bases on many things that are very odd about Islam. I will try to get the details to you later.

Ramadan starts tomorrow!!! So, I have a challenge for you. In the muslim tradition, they fast from food and drink from dawn till dusk. I really feel called tomorrow, as it is the beginning of Ramadan to fast for these people. To have their hearts be broken that this is not everything in life, that their religion is missing something and that is Christ's sacrificial love. I challenge you to fast tomorrow for all the muslims in the world that God would pull them towards Christ. Pray for them hourly and really seek Christ and the truth in all of this. Do your research about the Islamic faith.

THANK YOU GUYS!! I can't do this without your prayers! Please pray for our health that we will all feel as good as we can do do God's work here! Love you : )

Monday, August 9, 2010

Shcott the Lamb slayer, Italian coffee, and Night lights-

Today started off with my plane's neck pillow under my head. I initially woke up at around 5:00 am to the sound of people singing, which is because we are very close to a mosque and their call to prayer is very early. At 7:45 I woke up to dogs barking and got ready for the day. Our breakfast consisted of toast, jam, and tea. The boys made their way up to the apartment where we talked about the day and I read over a few verses in the bible- 1 Timothy 5, and Proverbs 31. We were told to read over these chapters because they had to deal with God's widows and how to serve them and also serve God. We have been lead very well throughout this 1 day of being here in Cairo! It is crazy that it has been only 1 day. It seems as if we've been here a week already. We made our way into the actual city of Cairo. Cairo driving compares to nothing that I have ever seen. There is a "honking" language, 3 honks = Im coming, 2 honks = move, 1 long honk = im mad, and get out of my way. haha. There are also flashing of lights that are involved, but I haven't got that one down yet. We finally made it to the widows ministry.

We walked in to see about 60 women and some small kids sitting down looking at a woman speaking. It is so difficult being in a country that you absolutely have no idea what people are saying. At least in Mexico I can pick a few words here and there. . .but arabic. . theres no way! Last night I prepared some songs for the worship music by writing down the chords and lyrics in my journal. When we got there, the first thing we did was break up and pray for the widows. I was drawn toward these two women sitting next to each other. I laid my hands on them and began praying. As my eyes were closed and my prayers were being heard, I felt another hand touch mine, a shoulder fitting under my arm, and a cheeck against my arm as well. A woman decided that she wanted me to pray for her and nuzzled her shoulder under and kept her cheek on my arm. It was so amazing praying for the women who couldn't even understand my prayers. After that another woman made a signal for me to come over. I came over and smiled, she grabbed my hand and placed it on her knee. She made a fist with her hand and I realized she was asking me to pray for her because her knees were hurting very badly. I prayed for her and some other women as well. After the woman preached a little, it was our turn to sing a couple of worship songs. Before going on we explained the songs and what they meant. We did stronger by hillsong and our God by chris tomlin. It is so awesome to think that our american songs are making their way all the way to egypt. After that one of the guy members of the trip gave his amazing testimony! Such an amazing story of Gods glory through all things, even death and suffering. We got to spend a lot of time playing with the kids who were all wanting our camera's to take pictures. I had to let some kids down though and wouldn't let them use mine. haha. A woman walked up to me with a very very small baby. It had to have been only weeks old. I held that baby so tight and rocked it back and forth and it never cried : ) I loved him. haha. After that we said our goodbyes (which consist of a very european kiss on both cheeks) and made our way off to lunch. (This was 1:30 pm).

We ended up at a Shawarma place. haha. It is crazy. They have meat on a giant vertical rotisserie where they slice off the meet (chicken or beef) and place it in a pita bread, wrap it like a burrito, and grill it. Since there weren't any places to sit, we decided to sit down on the ground, right across from a butcher's shop where he had 2 slaughtered lambs, hanging on a hook, and still bleeding. . it was a great sight to see while we ate our Shawarma. haha. This lunch was very filling, however, my stomach didn't necessarily like it too much. We made our way back into the van where we drove around a little bit for some Italian Coffee, which is quite big in Cairo. The only funny thing is that it is all iced coffee. I of course had a diet Bebsi (Egyptians can't say the letter "p" like "puh" sound, so they use a "b" instead so park is bark, push is bush, and pepsi is bebsi). After this we were all passed out in the car because we were all so tired.

We made our way back to the house where we sat and talked for a short while. The awesome and intimidating part of this was that our "papa" (the man we are staying with) told us that we must tell everyone our testimony in 2 minutes or less and they would critique them. I sat there and was really confused. . . critique my testimony? Okay, I guess so. So of course I was the second one chosen. My testimony is so long, because it seems like I have had a lot of struggles. When I was done, the one part they said that they felt a strong connection with was not a struggle that I had, or a depressing event in my life, but it was one of the moments where I felt God move me in Mexico, and confirming it in moving a little girl to silence and stillness (I can explain later if you want) But I realized then, that our testimonies are not about us, they are about God. And the moment we start making them about us, is the moment that we take God out of the picture. It was hard for me to get a critique, but it humbled me very much in knowing that the moments I share with people must be the moments that are consumed by God.

After that we all prayed that our bags would get here!!! (8:00 pm now) Because we are definitely on day 3, and its getting a litttllee nashty. Three team members and I had to take a taxi to our next destination because our van's muffler is apparently broken in half? We ended up at the big park which about a square mile. It is amazing because it overlooks the city of Cairo and all you can see for miles and miles is lights of the city. There were a whole lot of people at the park just walking around and enjoying the night's breeze. We called this the Cairo's Mount Bonnell because all we saw were couples, couples and more couples. It was very strange though to see the culture of the Egyptians while they date. They are not stand offish at all which is what my first thought would be. There was no kissing though. haha. We ended up at the top of the giant hill where we overlooked the lights. Then we hear the call to prayer. This was insane because all we heard were all the mosques in Cairo having speakers of sounds that sound like monks singing. It was so loud it actually made me have some anxiety because I felt so small. It is very strange being in a culture where the christian is the second class citizen. It is humbling but also very intimidating. Anyway, we moved on and I felt like we needed to talk with some people. Me and two others went off and these girls actually came up ant talked to us. Needless to say we spent 2 hours with them walking around the park laughing at each other because we couldn't understand, talking about food and boys and other girly things. It was  nice to see that we could make friends so far away. Hopefully we get to see them again.

All in all, it was a huge long day, and I got to see a lot of things. It is 2:00 am and I am writing so I apologize if nothing made sense. haha. Miss you guys a whole lot, but keep us in your prayers!!

Thank you for whoever prayed for our bags! lol.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First Day in Cairo!

I never became nervous for this trip until my mom and sister dropped me off at the Delta entrance of the Austin airport. Talking to my friend Jim (we worked together in Mexico) definitely calmed me down in knowing I would be safe and everything is in His hands. Meeting my team was an exciting experience! All 7 of us (5 girls and 2 guys) packed our extra suitcases for the man we are staying with in Cairo. That makes 15 suitcases in all. . . we had a lot of stuff. We were on our way to Detroit, and suddenly we discovered we were surrounded by babies! They were really cute, but one of them did not like flying. . . at all. It was exciting to get to detroit, however, we landed at 4:55 and our next flight was departing at 5:15. All 7 of us were running as fast as we could go down the Detroit airport, and we actually ran past a group singing praise and worship songs. As I was breathing really heavy, I walked up to the woman at the kiosk. Scott asked her to make sure our bags made it on the plane. Her response was, "They will. Don't worry about it." . . . later we would know she had no idea what she was talking about. We made it to New York! Seeing the skyline was really exciting. . and me and half the team were now in the mood for pizza. As we landed we got the chance to get to know each other because we had a 2 hour layover. We ate good pizza and laughed a whole lot. On the plane to Cairo, I was really nervous! haha. It was kind of funny to listen to the Arabic translation of the English. I will never be able to pick out words. We took off, and 30 minutes later I took 2 benadryl. . . and 9 hours later I woke up. haha. I woke up with only 1 hour to go, which was a great thing. 

As we landed in Cairo, it was definitely a landscape I had never seen before. It is dusky, sandy, and city as far as the eye can see. It almost looks like mars in the future! haha. The sounds and the hustle and bustle definitely reminded me of Mexico though. Now. . the fun part. 5 minutes into the trip, I had a man walk up to me and introduce himself. I remember that he sat 3 rows in front of me on the plane. He handed me a piece of paper with his phone number and e-mail. I looked at him and said, "No thank you, I'm sorry." He insisted that I add it to my contacts. Again, I told him I was sorry. Sooo, within 5 minutes of being in Cairo, I got hit on. Oh man, I was so nervous then. haha. We got through customs (where again I was pretty nervous). Then we waited for our bags. . .and waited. . and waited. . until finally the belt stopped. We all looked at each other, and I had to laugh. Of course they would leave our bags back in Detroit. We ended up meeting this very nice man who took all of our identification numbers for our luggage and told us that they would have our bags in the next couple of days. Hesitantly we left, hoping that one day soon we would be reunited with our belongings. We then met the man we would be working with the whole time we were here. He introduced himself and we made our way out of the airport. Everything looks so different here. It seems that everything is has a little yellowish tint to it. We walked toward the "stallion" as they call it. This is the van that we drive everywhere. We actually had parts for the car in our suitcases. haha. I am not sure what those parts were, but we ended up getting to the house we needed to get through. Driving through the streets there are sounds of horns honking, kids playing, and the wind blowing in my face. I miss so much being on mission, and I love what God does in the hearts of the people that are trying hard to follow his plan. As we made our way into the air conditioning living room, we were exhausted. We ended up watching this Beyonce movie on their TV. The arabic subtitles added just a little flare. The house is very open and sits on the second floor of a multiple floor apartment building. We were all excited when one of the girls brought in this huge bowl of grapes! They were really good. We sat down and talked about what we were going to do for the next couple of days. We will be working with widows and helping them out with different things. Leading in song and telling stories of our lives will be one of the ways we can speak to these widows. After discussing the love languages of Middle Eastern people (physical touch- as a pat on the shoulder, going to their home, and then having a meal with them), we were able to have an amazing dinner cooked for us. Potatoe pie topped with coconut, pita bread with butter and honey, and salad. It was all SO good! We cleaned up our plates and that is when I got the nickname "Cure"isten. Haha, the man we are staying with cannot say my name at all, and so he said he would call me Cureisten, because I am going to be a nurse. He is a really funny man. He tells us that we have 12 surprises throughout the trip, which gets me excited. We also had 5 options for our lack of clothes situation: 1. We could find some extra clothes in his house to sleep in and him and his wife would wash them for us, 2. We could sleep in what we have and then wear the clothes we have found out tomorrow. 3. There wasn't a 3rd option, 4. Mummification, 5. None of the above. haha. So knowing these 5 options we took number 1. We are now in our apartment down the street. We went on top of the roof where there was a wonderful breeze and all the lights seemed to light up the sky. This trip is going to be something I have never experienced before but I am so excited to get started. 

Tuesday starts the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. This is the month of fasting from dawn until dusk where muslims practice patience, modesty and spirituality throughout this time. We will get the chance to fast for the people of Egypt, so that they may come to know the truth. I am excited to fast for the people while their biggest holiday festivities are taking place. We will see God move in glorious ways these next two weeks. Keep us in your prayers!

1 Peter 1:8-9
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."