When I returned from Egypt in mid-November, I had grand plans of immediately sharing all the details and joy of the trip with you all. But between Advent and Christmas fast approaching, and a personal need to process the trip more fully, I held off sharing more details until now.
I first traveled to Egypt in 2015, and the country immediately captured my heart. The people, the hospitality, the Church. After that first trip, I couldn’t wait to return, and I would return in both 2016 and 2017. Over those three years I built relationships with pastors, seminary students, professors, and church members.
But even more than the relationships, my faith grew because of my experiences in Egypt. I learned about perseverance through the stories of churches and individuals struggling through years of persecution. I learned about patience through the stories of churches waiting for approval to build buildings or to begin worship services. I learned about love through the actions of churches striving to serve their neighbors, regardless of who their neighbor was. I learned about urgency as I watched churches barely established themselves, likely with a building still under construction, step out in faith to plant yet another church.
When I said good-bye to my first call in Atlanta, in some sense I also said good-bye to Egypt. While a piece of my heart would always be with Egypt, I was unsure if I would ever have the chance to return in a professional capacity.
I tucked away a dream of returning deep in my heart, unsure if it would ever come to fruition. I stayed in touch with friends through social media and followed other people’s trips closely, always hoping I could return some day. My return to Egypt in November was the fulfillment of that tucked away dream.
But it was also the beginning of a new dream. A dream of connecting First Presbyterian Church in Lewistown with a church in Egypt, of building relationships across miles that strengthen, support, and encourage one another. Of making another trip, this time with church members.
That’s my dream.
But first, it’s time to share more. I hope you’ll make plans to join me this Sunday, January 29 following worship. Enjoy coffee hour, then we’ll gather around noon with pictures and stories. I’ll share with you a glimpse not just of my trip, and the great wonders of the country, but of the story of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt, the story of God’s work in an unlikely place.
And then, we’ll see. We’ll see what God does and how we might be being called into something new.