Hope and Joy in Egypt
Day One in Cairo
Greetings from Cairo. We left on Tuesday, and today is Thursday. What happened to Wednesday?! It does rather seem like that given we left on Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Cairo on Wednesday night. We're all here despite a Lufthansa strike that rerouted half our team.
After a much needed night's sleep, we had a terrific day today at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC). This school is a long time and important partner of The Outreach Foundation and recently celebrated 125 years of service to God's kingdom. There are more than 320 students here studying for masters degrees in divinity and theology and a unique program in organizational leadership. They prepare and send pastors all over Egypt and beyond.
We met Joseph today. Joseph will graduate next spring with a DMin. Last summer he served an internship in a small church in Upper Egypt. It was small because they haven't had a regular pastor for 100 years! Joseph went and began knocking on the doors of Christians in the village of Jarf, telling them he was starting services at this old church. By the end of the summer, more than 70 people were regularly attending services, sometimes as many as 100. We asked him where he will go after he graduates, and he said "Probably back to the church at Jarf." He is committed to bringing the church to this small, dusty village. He said the two scriptures he follows are Romans 5 and 8 where Paul speaks of hope. Joseph has hope for the church in Egypt – you can see it in the joy of his face and his words. This is the type of pastor that ETSC is preparing.
As only God can do, shortly afterward we went to Chapel where Deena gave a very meaningful message on the subject of hope from Isaiah 40. Much has happened here in the last few years, particularly since the 2011 Arab Spring. But seminary President, Dr. Atef Gendy, shared that since then, he has seen more people come to Christ than ever before. Hope. There's plenty of reason for it here in Egypt.
Many more stories, too numerous to tell in this space, came from the day. But ask us about them when we return.
Could we offer several prayer requests?
- that the barking dogs at the police academy behind our dorm might go silent at night, allowing restful sleep!
- that Russ and Tom's lost luggage would show up so they don't have to wear the same clothes each day
- that we would be an encouragement to those we meet, just as they are such encouragers to us
- that our last two team members, John and Roger, will arrive safely on Saturday
- that God will open our eyes and hearts to what He wants us to see and feel
Blessings from the team.