Out to Egypt I have called my son…

My Luggage

My Luggage

When I left Egypt last year, about 13 months ago now, I wondered when I would return.

Note when, not if.

When I was at the airport saying goodbye to all of our friends, I didn’t necessarily think that I was saying goodbye forever. In fact, I felt like I should have been much more emotional since I really had such deep feelings for them.

Turns out my instinct was right – I would return to Egypt. I’m sitting in my living room, with two carry-on bags, getting set to make my return to Egypt. I’ll be serving at the conference with the Middle East and North Africa with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).

When I was asked to go, I went primarily because I knew I wanted to return to Egypt. So I asked God if he didn’t want me to go, he should stop me.

Gently, of course.

So here I am, sitting in my living room, with an empty fridge and a brand spankin’ new passport…singin’ leavin’ on a jet plane by John Denver (don’t ask me why…it’s just in my head…)

Have you ever been on a trip, knowing that something would happen, but you didn’t know what was going to happen? I love this feeling. It’s this weird sense of wonder, anxiety, curiosity, fear, expectation…all in one. I love it. Love it love it love it.

Pray for the folks in the Middle East and North Africa. It is arguably the most difficult place to be a Christian on the planet, where heavy restrictions, fear, and isolation lead them to fear that they are “a minority of a minority of a minority.” Even those who are ethnic minorities in our country, I’m not sure if we in this country can comprehend the amount of fear they live under.

When I am among people who are oppressed in the world, whether it be my neighbors on the West Side of Chicago, poverty in Latin America in Belize and Mexico City, my experience among those ravaged in Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army, my time in the Garbage Village of Mokattam, what continually draws me to wonder how often those who are oppressed and poor have so much to teach me of who God is.

As one who has straddled many different worlds, I continually love to see how the poor educate me on the nature of faith. I like to think I’m brighter than your average bulb, but I’m humbled by real, authentic, genuine faith. We have resources abundantly that we can consume whenever we want – whether it be food for eating, knowledge for learning, or entertainment for enjoying – it’s around us all the time.

When I limit myself to just these two suitcases right in front of me, traveling gives me the opportunity to simplify enough to be able to hear Jesus in fresh new ways.

Would you pray for me?

I need ears to hear, a heart to feel, and a mind to know, and the guts to act.

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August 2008

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