Our first ministry trip into Egypt was amazing. We were able to visit three major cities: Alexandria, Cairo and Luxor (Luxor was the site of ancient Thebes). We enjoyed ministering four times for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, and also working in a medical clinic in the heart of Cairo, in view of the pyramids at Giza! This was an incredible opportunity to interact with the Egyptian people. We found them to be kind and generous, and many have become our friends. It was great to be able to work in some practical ways in the clinic. This site is built, literally, in the garbage-dump area, because the people’s lively-hood comes from separating the garbage by hand. They had pigs living in between the apartment buildings, doing their part of consuming all the food from the garbage. No it is not an ideal lifestyle, but that is where they are and we were so pleased to have the opportunity to join with our friends in ministering to them in their need.
Christi worked as a hairdresser washing children’s hair and treating for lice. There were lots of pretty bows, headbands, and tiaras for the girls, and golden paper crowns, and combs for the boys, as well as shampoo, balloons and candy for all. Ron worked in the optometry department checking eyes and supplying glasses. As unusual as it appears, it was a refreshing experience to serve on a personal level, and we both learned lots.
We traveled from city to city by going on trains along the Nile River. What an education — traveling on dusty old African trains along the fertile Nile against the backdrop of the desert and mountains in the distance! Besides the ministry side, we did some touring as well, and it was great to see sites we have only read about in the Bible. The authorities tend to get disappointed if you don’t show enough interest in local monuments, so we were very conscientious about meeting our sightseeing quota. It’s hard to explain how enriching it is to wander through 5,000 years of sand and civilization.
God did so many fantastic things for us on this trip. In one case, Christi and I had ventured out into the city of Alexandria by ourselves. We had no cell phones, or means of contacting anyone we knew. We became quite lost, but we were enjoying ourselves anyways. We had planned to meet up with our hosts, and had difficulty figuring out how to get back with them. Finally, I went into a very nice looking hotel to ask for a phone or directions. It turned out to be a club especially for the medical profession and we were able to contact our host and he, being a Doctor, was a member of that club! In no time at all he met us on the veranda. The Lord has a way of sorting out even logistical problems like this. This proved to be a serendipity for us. Now, Alexandria is a large and extremely crowded city, so this was absolutely a case of God’s divine providence. It wasn’t for our protection or medical healing or anything huge, it was just our Heavenly Father letting us know He’s looking out for us.