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

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