For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened—or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)
I’m returning to Egypt in just a few weeks! Actually, I leave November 1 and return on November 12, so it’s coming fast. I’ll be traveling with the Outreach Foundation, a ministry committed to helping churches around the United States partner with churches around the globe.
The purpose of partnership is to be mutually encouraged, much like Paul talks about in his letter to the Romans. That means the church in Egypt has something to learn from us AND we have something to learn from the church in Egypt. As I reflect on my past travels to Egypt, I recall lessons in perseverance and patience, endurance and steadfastness, hope and love. And I have always returned home encouraged in my faith, and ready to continue serving the church in this time and place (even when it feels strange and unfamiliar).
But this isn’t your traditional mission trip.
Along the way, I’ll meet up with a team of nine people, from Washington, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. Together, we’ll visit multiple churches throughout Egypt. We’ll spend time in Egypt’s capital, Cairo and its surrounding suburbs, as well as travel south to Aswan, to meet churches there. Every church visit will look a little bit different, but generally we’ll meet the pastors and church leaders, hear the stories of how God worked to start the church and how God continues to be at work through the church, and we’ll probably eat too (I will eat well on this trip).
Along the way, we’ll also have a chance to see some of the great wonders of the ancient Egyptian world. And there’s a very real possibility that I will stand on a camel (at this point, it’s tradition).
For me, parts of this trip will be familiar, and I’ll have a chance to reconnect with friends and see what God has been doing in those churches over the last five or more years. And other parts will be completely new! I’m excited for it all!
My hope for the trip is rebuild my friendships and connections, so that we can launch an intentional and meaningful partnership with a particular, local church in Egypt. I don’t know exactly what this will look like, but one of the gifts of technology is the ability to stay connected across the miles. And I also hope to one day take a group of people with me to see firsthand the incredible things God is doing in and through the church in Egypt.
While we’re travelling, I would appreciate your prayers for travel safety, team relationships (most of us have never met each other), and for rich experiences and conversations as we meet with churches and pastors throughout Egypt.
Before I leave, I’ll share the link to the blog we’ll keep updated and while I’m gone, I’ll try to get some pictures to social media. But you can also expect to hear more about my trip when I get home!