Posts in Egypt 2017
Egypt: Where Our Feet Took Us

by Marilyn Borst

I have a favorite quote from Frederick Buechner (a Presbyterian pastor and a prolific writer) and it is not “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet” – although that is a really good one! It is this: “If you want to know who you are, as opposed to who you think you are, pay attention to where your feet take you.” At the end of the day, no matter how often we pray for the Global Church or send funds to support the work and witness of the Global Church, there is much to be said for a willingness to actually be present to the Global Church. 

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Egypt Day 7: Habu Temple, Deir al-Medina and Faith

by Carson Crochet for the team

For the second morning in a row, the day began with an impressive never-ending selection of breakfast foods. After many sips of the savory French pressed coffee, the group loaded itself onto the coach bus. 

Our tour guide, Mourad, prepped us for the adventure ahead as we drove 45 minutes out of Luxor to the Habu Temple. While strolling through the temple's courtyard, we learned about the symbolic meaning behind almost every hieroglyphic (the pattern on the king's chair represented the sacred temple, for example). The Egyptians also used a very long lasting paint; colors in the paintings stayed vivid after 3,000 years! 

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Egypt Day 6: Adiama

by Andrew Dickinson for the team

Our morning began with our first meal at the Winter Palace hotel. It was a most comprehensive offering, complete with date juice and “om ali,” a form of Egyptian bread pudding with milk and crushed nuts.

After breakfast, we gathered for a morning devotion. Rev. Bryan Wilson led the devotion with a mediation on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan women at the well, from the fourth chapter of Luke’s gospel.

Bryan began by saying that Jesus does the unexpected. Due to the social tensions existing between Jews and Samaritans, he would have been expected to walk around Samaria, but instead he deliberately takes his disciples into a place that would have been uncomfortable for them.

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Egypt Day 5: Living Out Their Faith and Letting Christ's Light Shine

by Patti Gatzke for the team
Luxor, Egypt

Early this morning we said goodbye to Cairo and flew south to Luxor in Upper Egypt. It is "Upper Egypt" because it is up river from Cairo - the Nile flows north. It is a beautiful area with many flowers and palm trees. It is my vision of an oasis in the desert. Luxor was the capital of the late Egyptian Empire and there are still many reminders of that great empire here.

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Egypt Day 4: Moassat

by Kimmy Briggs for the team

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”   Isaiah 43:19

Today the group broke into three groups to visit churches for worship. I had the opportunity to visit the Moassat Church, just outside of Cairo. This was my third visit to Moassat and today, I hardly recognized it when we arrived. The building looks nothing like it once did.

There is now a structure for four floors with much of the first floor nearing completion including a “small” chapel (it was still larger than their rented space, but smaller than the new worship space will be), which is being used for worship, two clinic rooms with some basic equipment, a sanctuary that will eventually seat 500 people, and the beginning of a nursery. 

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Egypt Day 3: A Day of Culture in Cairo

by Susan Barrow for the team

After an early breakfast, our group journeyed across Cairo on a wonderful city tour. Our city tour ended at the Ancient Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. With our photographs made and a camel trek in the desert completed; we headed to Old Coptic Cairo. Here we visited the Church of the Virgin Mary also known as the Hanging Church and the Church of St. Sergius and Baacus (the one pictured below). After a delightful lunch on a boat on the Nile, we spent our afternoon exploring the Egyptian Museum. 

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Egypt Day 2: A Big Vision

by Brian Wilson for the team

With the remaining members of our team arriving safely last night, our now full team embarked to Zagazig, a town north of Cairo located in the Eastern part of the Nile Delta. We spent the day visiting, worshipping and hearing stories of God’s amazing love from Pastor Wael and his team at Zagazig Evangelical Church.

We saw videos of a sports program that serves many children and youth by providing them a place to connect and play. Another team shared about the church’s compassion ministry. It currently offers financial assistance, building repairs, and medical aid and relief to over 70 families in the community.

The driving force behind the renewal of this historic church is the bold, passionate and vibrant vision of Pastor Wael. “Our neighbors know we love them, and we know they love us,” he shared. “We have a vision not only for our church, but our society. We live in a land where God visited once with Jesus, and we know he will visit again!”

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Egypt Day 1: Drinking from a Fire Hose

by Tom Widmer for the team

Greetings from Cairo. The team arrived safely last evening, a bit travel weary but full of excitement for the journey. We eagerly await the arrival of our final three team members later today. 

Our day was spent at the seminary, the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary of Cairo. Started in 1863 by Presbyterian missionaries from America, it has been educating pastors and other church leaders for 150+ years. Our day here was a full one – full of new friends, encouraging stories, shared laughter and tears, and testimonies of God's faithfulness. We met with seminary leaders, professors, students, Synod staff and pastors of large and small churches. We heard stories about established churches growing, new churches starting and visions for the future. As one team member said, "it was like drinking from a fire hose!" But what a delightful fire hose. 

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What in the world is God doing in Egypt?

Outreach Foundation colleagues Marilyn Borst and Tom Widmer and their team of 13 look forward to eight inspiring days experiencing the Faithful Church in Egypt! Despite the upheaval and uncertainty of the region, the Presbyterian Church of Egypt is hard at work. They are planting churches and revitalizing congregations which have been faithful for well over a hundred years. The team will visit some of those initiatives and see how God is working.  

While in Cairo, they will stay at the Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETSC), where leaders are trained for congregations throughout the Middle East. They will have opportunity to meet students there and hear inspiring stories of their calls and aspirations for ministry. They will visit exciting new church developments in the city and in satellite cities and will also discuss establishing ongoing church-to-church partnerships.

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