Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pictures of Work and Play

As part of a church gathering in October, we visited Islamic Cairo. Here we are inside Al-Azhar Mosque. This mosque was originally built in AD 970. We had our picture taken by the mihrab . In every mosque you will find a mihrab, a niche that indicates the direction of Mecca.

Paul and some church members, Daniel, Mark, and Nazli are standing outside of Al-Azhar Mosque.

Paul and Pastor Peter. Behind them is a picture of the St. Andrew's church building.

There are several congregations that meet at St. Andrew's. Here Paul is guest preaching at one of the Sudanese congregations. Next to him is the interpreter who did a great job interpreting Paul's sermon.

These children attend school at St. Andrew's, one of the programs run by St. Andrew's Refugee Services. The blue buildings are classrooms. Stephanie teaches some of the older children in this picture.

We finally made it Egypt's top tourist attraction, the Pyramids of Giza. They are huge! We went with a visiting pastor from the states, Susan. Thanks Susan!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sweet Victory

Every now and then in life you have one of those moments of triumph. One of those moments where you, a humble human being have the opportunity to show the world just what you're made of, and you're made of good, tough stuff that can handle anything. A few days ago I had one of these moments.

I was on my home on the metro. The car was fairly busy and there were many of us standing. As we approached a stop a woman left her seat to walk to the door and another woman took her place. In the seat the first woman had left a hair pin. The second woman handed it to me, to hand to the first.

I knew I had to act quickly. I reached out and tapped her on the shoulder. No response! What to do? I tried again and she continued to walk away from me. I can not overstate the pressure I was under at this moment. I felt completely unprepared and incapable of dealing with the situation. And then, before I even realized what was happening, before my brain had time to to think about what my body was doing, out of my mouth came the words “min fudlik” (“please”). Miracle of miracles, I came up with an appropriate Arabic word!

Even better, I said the exact right word and said it clearly enough that she had understood! She heard me. She stopped walking, and turned around. Success! If ever there was a moment in life I wanted to do a fist pump, this was it. (But I held it in).

In the end, the hair pin was not hers and I handed it back to the other woman. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is that I communicated. In Arabic! Maybe it was a small triumph and not really a life changing kind of thing. Min fudlik is about as basic as it gets. But you have to start somewhere. And it felt good.