Friday, September 30, 2011

Saqqara Pyramids

Thankfully Lori was feeling better today and went with Ali and I to the pyramids at Saqqara (the step pyramids).  We went through some of the tombs- the tomb of Tetti... loved the stars on the ceiling.

Interesting facts for the day:
  • The palm trees are date trees instead of coconuts.
  • someone tried to buy my hand in marriage for a horse... Lori decided I was worth more than 2 camels... so no deal!
  • Camera got dropped and put out of commission
  • The stone structures at the base of the pyramid were made like the temple mentioned in the Old Testament.
  • These dig sites are amazingly big
  • Did you know that Joseph and Jacob (old testament) were mummified?
Tried to go to Hard Rock Cafe in Cairo for lunch but realized it was closed... ended up going to an Egyptian restaurant for kabobs.  Very yummy!  Then went shopping for food for the conference.  Went to Sally's Sweets and picked up lots of cookies for the conference.  Headed home to drop off everything and turned right around and headed off to church.

Yes... church on Friday evening... weekends in Egypt are Friday and Saturday.  Their work week goes Sunday through Thursday.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coptic Cairo and Fish Night

After the trip to the Egyptian Museum, Ali took me to the Citadel showing me the aquaducts that took water from the Nile River up to the Citadel.  While at the Citadel, I went in a couple of the mosques.  Very interesting!  Women had to be covered but absolutely no shoes on the rug!

On to Coptic Cairo- the Christian area of Egypt.  Explored the churches and cemeteries.  This is the area known to be the stopping spot for Joseph, Mary and Jesus while they were escaping from King Herod.

Ended up heading back to Maadi in time to help Lori get ready for fish night.  John, the Scottish guy with the fish, dropped off a rather large sea bass (not from the Nile!).  Came home to find a giant fish in the sink.  Soon John came by to prepare the fish. 

There were about 15 people, from all different backgrounds, that came up for fish night.  Rene, the Texan, catered the meal.  The majority of the people in attendance were Muslim.  It is a very cool outreach that Lori and Joe have.  There were groups playing Wii, a group out on the porch talking story, and a group stuffing folders for the conference.

It was a fabulous evening!


Do I really want to be know as obese with bad teeth???

As I was walking through the Egyptian Museum, in the Royal Mummies Hall, this is what was written about Queen Hatsheput!  I find it very interesting that this is all she is known by.

One of the queens (Queen Henettawy) wanted to look good even after death... her face was packed with soda and fat during the mummification process to give the appearance of life.  However it caused her cheeks to burst!

The Egyptians loved life and believed that it continued in a different form after death.  They had a desire to live forever in the Fields of the Blessed.

Oh the things you'll see

Today I spent exploring with Ali, the taxi driver.  As we were driving through Maadi and Cairo, I am still amazed at the driving skills of Egyptians (or lack there of)... a three lane road hosting 5 lanes of traffic... people running across a major thouroughfare.

Saw one lady driving with her cell phone stuck in her head covering... truly a hands free device.

Also saw some men transporting a PINK water buffalo in a horse drawn cart. 

Oh, the things you'll see!!!

First stop today was the Egypt Museum... Before I had left the house, Lori had prepped me on certain words to say and things to look for.  The word for the day was la' shokran (no thank you!). 

The first thing to find was the Israel Stela (1213-1203 BC).  At the end of the text is a list of some of Egypts enemies which includes the name Israel.  This is the first occurrence of this name known from the ancient world.

Next thing to find:  the most expensive thing in King Tut's collection???  It is not the gold masks or sarcophogus but the iron daggers.  King Tutankhamun- boy king was 19 when he died... found on November 4th, 1922 by british archeologist, Howard Carter.  King Tut lived from 1336-1327BC.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sudanese Pastor

The plan for the day was to go to the Egyptian museum but due to a meeting at 11am... that was postponed.  We walked down to the church where we met with a local pastor and a Sudanese pastor that is wanting to work in partnership with Petrescue Bible Institute to get the Sudanese pastors trained.

The meeting went very well and it looks like they will send pastors up starting in January.  I was blown away by the fact that tuition for the 2 year program is only 400 Egyptian Pounds (roughly $65).  Definitely need to pray and see if I should support a couple of these pastor's as training these guys affects the entire community.  These pastor's are community leaders... they are the ones that start programs for women and children... educate...etc.

It is really cool to see how God intertwines his children to work together for His ultimate glory.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The trip to Giza

The day started catching a ride to the embassy with Joe where Lori introduced me to some friends.  We had tea with them and then propositioned a driver to take us to Giza. 

The trip down was very funny... at one point our driver, misses the exit... cuts four lanes of traffic and then proceeds to reverse down the interstate.  Of what I hear this is common practice.

Once we got to the pyramids there was the hustle and bustle of tour buses, horses, and camels.... as  the guide book puts it... "the tourist scene at the Pyramids is intense."

Lori gave me the complete rundown of how the pyramids were made.  It was interesting to me that slave labor was not used but that the hired workers had their own quarters and were taken care of.  The pyramids are made out of granite and limestone.  The blocks were raised into place by ramps.  They are absolutely massive.

Once we got back to Maadi, we walked over to Maadi Community Church where the conference will be held on Saturday.  I was amazed when Lori said that their church was so big that they had to move outside and hold two services.

When we got home I laid down to do some reading and ended up falling asleep for an hour.  When I got up we went and ate Mexican food.  Renee, a guy from Texas, owns a mexican restaurant, that serves handmade mexican food!  It was so good!!

After dinner we had a planning meeting for the conference to get all of the paperwork in order.

A different view of marriage

An interesting conversation arose today while waiting in the car for Lori to finish a meeting with a dignitaries wife.  Magdi, our driver, was asking questions about what I did for a living, where I lived, and asked about my husband.  When I told him I was not married, he then asked how old I was.  After looking at me with what is wrong with you... he made the comment of me making the choice to be single.  However much I wanted to argue, it wasn't by choice, I thought it best to keep quiet as trying to explain the meaning would be difficult.

Once we got home, I shared with Lori the conversation between Magdi and I... at first she laughed and then apologized for leaving me in the car with him that long.  Then she explained that most marriages are arranged here and a woman in their 20's/30's that is still single is in one of two categories...

1.) something is majorly wrong with her
2.) she made the choice not to follow the arranged marriage

Lori explained Magdi's reaction as he could plainly see there was nothing majorly  wrong with me so I must have made the choice.  She also said that I could have explained it as God hasn't provided the right one yet and see what conversation happened after that.

This topic of conversation came up a couple of other times with other Egyptian men so after this I knew how to respond and was not caught by surprise!

It is the cry of my heart

It is 5am and I am fully awake and hungry.  I think with all the sleep yesterday, I might be reaching a normal schedule.  So I decided to grab a granola bar and water and sit here and journal.  As I sit here I have music in.... "it is the cry of my heart to follow You... it is the cray of my heart to be close to you all of the days of my life."

That is the cry of my heart so when I woke up a little bit ago I started praying for family, friends, and the upcoming conference.

I desire that this trip be all about Him and what He desires to teach me.

"The weakness of God's children do not strain the strength of God."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Much needed sleep!

After sleeping for more than 14 hours, I am feeling a little more alive and alert.  It is now Monday evening and I have spent the day in bed after arriving at the Lawson's at 4am this morning.

So lets recap Amsterdam and then arrival into Egypt...

after the Anne Frank house we had lunch at the cafe there and then did a little souvenir shopping.  This is when I realized that my VISA card was not working... hmm?  Anyway I was blessed as Marjon and Gerbin took care of it.  We then walked and talked to one of the canals where we took an hour long canal tour all the way to the North Sea.  Very cool view of the city from the water.  After the canal tour, we did a bit more walking past the palace and then we sat and enjoyed mint tea and snacks for afternoon tea before getting back on the trolly to takes us back to Olympic park to get the car and return to the airport.

Check in went really smoothly. Ended up getting a few little souvenirs for friends and did some more walking until I sat down to write and kept nodding off.  At Schipol airport you don't get your carry on bags scanned until you are at the gate ready to board.  Interesting!

Made it to Egypt in 5 hours.  Joe and Lori had a guy waiting for me so security and everything went super fast.  It was so helpful in getting the visa I needed and of what they said super cheap!

On the drive back to their house,  there were very few people on the road and those that were... very few had lights on.  The reason:  They find it offensive to shine their headlights at others.  LOL!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


What a fabulously tiring day it has been!  After a 10 hour flight from Seattle and being an hour delayed, I got into Amsterdam around 9:30am.  Picked up luggage and took it through customs and checked it in for the evening flight.  Gerbin and Marjon met me outside of customs. 

After we efficiently checked in the bags, we went to the parking garage to get the car and drove to Amsterdam.  We parked at Olympic Stadium and then took the trolley around town.  Our first major stop was the Anne Frank House.

(Is it bad when I am looking at pictures to remember what happened today and I am nodding off?) 

More Amsterdam adventures to come...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Moments that take your breath away

Yes... I am on a flight to Amsterdam listening to country music.  It is really difficult to get a long decent nap on the airplane and I am just imagining how tired I am going to be for the next few days.  As I have no clue where I am... what time zone I am in... and how I am going to get by on just cat naps.

Back to the point.... over the next couple of days, I could sit in the airport for super long layovers by myself or I can look for those moments that take my breath away.  I choose those breathless moments with friends and family

Promise from God's word for the day:

Genesis 12:2-3- God's promise to Abraham- "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you, I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Family Time

What a blessed morning it has been!  Gramma Jo and Aunt Kimberly picked me up at SeaTac.  I gave them each a lei and they were super thrilled.  The lei's even match their outfits!  We went to Dave's diner for breakfast where the veggie omelet I ordered was devoured.

We then went to Westfield mall and walked and talked for two hours.  Stopped for smoothies at Panera Bread before heading back to the airport to catch my flight to Amsterdam.  What a lovely alternative to sitting in the airport for 7 hours!  I so enjoy being able to spend time with family that I so rarely get to see! 

The Joys of Flying

Oh how squishy the first flight was!  I was in the very back row of the plane in the middle seat with a seat that wouldn't recline.  As I was trying to fall asleep a few things popped into my mind... this is one of the few times it is acceptable to sleep with a complet stranger by your side.  You spend x amount of hours in very close quarters with 300 people you will more than likely never see again.  I pray that the next flight which is twice as long as this one has a little more room.

Friday, September 23, 2011

God's timing

As I sit in HNL airport, waiting to leave, I am starting the Beth Moore Bible study of "The Patriarch's".  The first week is entitled "Leave your country" which is exactly what I am doing.  This should be interesting as God has been teaching me all about His providence in what I think is my timing.

My God provides

After reading the George Mueller story, I was convicted to trust God when raising support for this trip.  Normally I would send out letters petitioning others to give but not this time.  I was going to rely on the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and God to provide exactly what was needed.

Has God provided?  Absolutely.  He promises to provide according to His riches in glory.

How did He do it?  First of all ticket prices went down $300.  One friend who was praying for me in this gave... a friend's visiting parents heard the story and gave... had a few more babysitting jobs that usual... sold more Creative Memories supplies that I had in stock... and then last Friday (a week before I was to leave) I received a rebate check from Costco for the remainder of the ticket.  God works in mysterious ways and provides for those who trust in Him!

God opening doors

As I am sitting in HNL airport waiting for my flight to Seattle, I am pondering open doors.   So many of my thoughts lately have been on closed doors... doors that have to be deadbolted against my stubbornness.

When I first was offered this opportunity, I thought ok... if God opens the doors... I am game.  Then all hell broke loose in Egypt with the revolution on January 25th.  My first reaction was "surely God doesn't want me going into a war zone."  Then I just happened to look up tickets and found them for almost $2000.  Surely there is a better use for that $.

As the time passed, the fighting calmed, ticket prices dropped, and I had an overwhelming peace of this is what God's desire was.  He had truly opened the doors!

The Journey has started...

With a few moments to sit and reflect before boarding the flight from Molokai to Honolulu, my entire body is overwhelmed by what God is doing.  This journey started nine and a half months ago at Marc and Lisa Baniaga's.  I was invited to hear a presentation on what God was doing in Egypt.  In my mind, I just thought I was going to look at pictures of pyramids.  By the time the evening had ended, I had been propositioned to leading a teaching conference. 

So after months of trying to close the doors on this opportunity, it was clear that God was holding the door open wanting me to walk through it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Somewhere out there...

Just went outside to throw a load of laundry in the washer and looked up to find a super clear night with a full moon lighting up the evening sky.

After a day of being home by myself... missing family and friends knowing that there is a lot going on in their lives, the moon and stars reminded me of the childhood movie "An American Tale" and the song- "Somewhere Out There". 

The lyrics say-  Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight... someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight... somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer... that we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there... and even though I know how very far apart we are... it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star... and when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby... it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky...somewhere out there if love can see us through then we'll be together somewhere out there... out where dreams come true... and even though I know how very far apart we are... it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star...

It is comforting to think that God created the sun to shine by day and the moon and stars to provide light by night... even in our darkest moments when we think we are all alone knowing that God hung each star is comforting.  It is also very nice to know that no matter where we are in this world... the same moon and stars shine above.

So even though I can't be with these loved ones in person... I can pray for the various people and situations knowing they are in the hands of a very faithful God.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You are everything I need!

We are a blessed people. 

As I was working through my Bible Study this morning, I was reminded that nothing that happens in our lives catches God by surprise.  That is a very comforting thought to me. 

Every test and trial that comes into our lives is allowed by God to grow us and glorify Him. 
Every blessing that is bestowed upon us is to be used to bless others and glorify Him. 

Nothing that the enemy throws at us can thwart the plans that God has for us.  God can use it all to make us into the people He has called us to be.  If you are child of the King of kings then there is nothing that the enemy can do that will take you out of the hands of God. Oh... the enemy will definitely try but he will not succeed against God!

Take heart my friend... the God of the universe loves you and will strengthen you through the trials of this world.  He doesn't allow us to avoid trials as that would make us spoiled brats... but He does walk with us through the trial to strengthen our faith and trust in Him.

As a friend regularly says... "Walk with the King and be a blessing"