Friday, July 2, 2010

Our last two days of ministry

Yesterday and today were our last two days of ministry and we spent them with kids a good part of each day. We visited Sudanese pre-schools and just played and had so much fun. The team I was with had balloons that we blew up and two beach balls as well! They just loved the balloons and balls flying around the room! They yelled and clapped every time a balloon popped! They thought it was the funniest thing ever. Kelby was a human bed for a couple kids. It only took them a few moments before they fell asleep on him (it was so cute). We brought coloring pages and crayons for the kids which was fun for a while, but they were bored and moved on to something else quickly. We had mini footballs and a mini basketball which was a hit. The greatest joy was the bubbles! Risa brought out the bubbles and they went NUTS! All they wanted to do was scream and pop the bubbles. I heard the other team got into some chicken-fights which sounds like a blast. After three hours with the kids we had lunch then returned to the area to make home visits. Some of the home visits were the parents of the kids in the school.

The first home we went to was heartbreaking. Risa & I visited a Sudanese refugee mother of seven. Her husband was back in Sudan (since April) because of a sick relative and is not sure if he will make it back to Egypt. She doesn't have a job and was feeling really discouraged and helpless. I shared my favorite verses Jer. 29:11-13 with her and told her of my struggles. Risa shared about her struggles- being sick and almost missing this trip. We prayed for her and her family and she was very emotional. We thanked her for the visit and gave her a bag of food. We asked her to take a picture with us so we will remember to continue to pray for her. I shook her hand and she had tears flowing from her eyes. I reached out to hug her and for about two minutes we just hugged! She needed to hear something we said and I just hope she is hopeful and is encouraged by our visit! There were two more visits after that and then off to dinner!

We ate at Macaroni Grill (in a HUGE mall somewhere). I was so stuffed from lunch though, that I ordered dessert instead (cheesecake) and still didn't finish it!

Today we finally got to go to an orphanage! Unfortunately it seemed like we were there for very long... I met a 3 or 4yr old girl, Kristine. We found ourselves drawn to one another. Even though there was a language barrier (and no translator) we managed to play with an EFCC beach ball and color just after I got her to eat an ice cream cone. I'll have to get pictures on here soon of that! We were supposed to go to a mosque, but team MN (who visited yesterday at the mosque) left some Bibles and tracts there and we weren't allowed to go. We visited the Cave Church which is awesome! Pictures to come soon... this church is literally caved out of the side of a mountain! After that we walked down into one of eight "Garbage Cities" and had a prayer walk. I've never seen anything like what I saw there... piles and piles of garbage, sorted by type, littered the street! People were living in makeshift homes (buildings where they were sorting the trash). The smell was terrible and so were the flies. It just amazes me that people can "make a living" like that and it made me sad to experience it in person! All my senses were touched!

Tonight is a chill night... we have a long day tomorrow- filled with sightseeing and finish it up with a party for the all the teams included in this ministry trip.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Experiences on Mission

We are having some amazing experiences here on this trip. The team has been able to pray for so many people and we have seen so many people get saved. We are so blessed to be apart of this trip and to see how God is working in countries outside of our own. After house visits in the local villages we headed back to the hotel and there is a children's conference going on in the same location. These children are from the local village and are here to learn about Jesus and have time to play and this is also the first time that most of them have slept in a bed and eaten on a regular schedule. So we were able to help out the kids conference by giving the kids showers. The church that we are partnering with went and bought lice shampoo, shampoo, soap, headbands, combs and towels. We split up in groups of four--three americans and one egyptian translator. Risa, Sarah and Amanda and our translator Diana gave 11 girls showers from ages 5-12. We washed their hair and helped wash their bodies and for the important areas we looked like monkeys trying to charade how they should wash, but it was worth it. Sarah helped the girls comb out their hair and we gave them cute headbands. I am proud to say that all four of the boys on the trip helped give showers to the little boys at the conference despite their initial declining of the task and assisted in giving 12 boys showers. We are super proud of them for breaking out of their comfort zone and showing love to these kids. While at first it was super awkward, it was such a blessing to be able to humble ourselves to do the task. It was almost like Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, where He was just serving those around Him. I am so happy that we got the opportunity.

Praise God for the amazing things that this trip has allowed us to do. Again thank you for your support and please keep praying.

Our team is going to be doing more house visits in a different village and working with kids in the afternoon. Please pray for safety as we go through the city and also that people's hearts would be softened to hear the Good News of Jesus. Also pray that we would continue to take the stance of a servant and listen to what the Spirit is calling us to do. We want to keep the focus on Jesus and don't want us to get in the way of what He is doing here on this trip.

Thank you again for your support and prayers. We look forward to updating you more.

Hugs, Amanda

House visits

June 28-

Today the team finished day two of house visits, the last in the village of El Minia. The team visited 30 families- we broke up into pairs with one translator and a guide from the church with bibles and encouraging cassette tapes and bags of food, which consisted of sugar, pasta, cheese, butter, tea, and a canned meat. After learning about the concerns and history of each family we visited we shared the Gospel with each family using the Evangecube. Most families we visited are church-goers at the local Christian church and they needed encouragement and prayers, which we were happy to do, however, some of the families that we visited were nominal Christians that said they knew Jesus but were really just saying that and did not believe.. There is much sickness, probably to due the harsh living conditions- many homes have no running water (it costs too much), many only have one room for their living quarters, many do not have finished roofs (or are leaky and falling apart). If the families have any livestock, most rent the animals for a year or two and get the benefits of their produce (milk from cows and eggs from chickens)--and since families only own a room or two in a house, the livestock live with them in the house. Some families had goats and donkeys too, but they don't milk the goats (maybe they eat them?). Many floors are mud floors, uncovered (or an occasional rug adorns the floors) and dusty. The families were so hospitable, our guide knew each family we visited and was so open to sharing themselves with us that we got the opportunity to pray for many of them. We were blessed by visiting and sharing Jesus' love with them. Many teams were offered sodas from the families which they had to go out and buy. We tried to refuse, but they were insisted. Even though they have little to no money they have been so gracious and sacrificial. Risa and Tiffany were brought back to their guide's home (Salwat -sp?). We walked in his home and his wife had a meal for prepared for us. This meal included 18" tortillas (soft and hard), hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, some white dipping sauce, and two different kinds of cheese (which are very salty and pungent), and last but not least cantaloupe. They gave with little to give...

Today seemed to flow a little better... we knew what to expect in the way of house visits and it made more of an impression on me (Tiffany). I will post pictures as soon as they get transfered to the computer.

Thank you for your fervent prayers. We are blessed by each of you and can feel the love that you have for us while we are here.

God bless- Tiffany

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day one - Egypt (sleep, food, and driving)

June 23
Today, after our so-called nap (not an actual true night’s sleep) we woke up at 8am for breakfast in our hotel. Down 4 flights of stairs, in an elevator that had a maximum capacity of 5 people allowed, and across the lobby was the quaint little dining hall. I think they prepared a special meal for us… because I saw the locals eating what looked like some sort of bean mixture and of course with flat bread to dip. No utensils, just tiny napkins. On the contrary, our meal was a scrambled egg “pie” that was cut in the same manner – it was double layered, along with flat bread, fig jam, butter, and cheese. Completely edible (for me that is)! Not to be rude, but the cheese was very salty and almost crumbly. Can I say that I wasn’t a big fan of the cheese? Needless to say, Adam’s love for cheese grows stronger while we are here.

After Breakfast, another quick nap - maybe more mini that quick, then off to the lobby with our luggage. Maximum efficiency in the elevator was two people and two suitcases. It was crazy confined though. By this time it’s 11am locally and we’ve been in this country for a total of 8 hours. We headed off to our next destination... we were picked up in a big casino-sized tour bus, loaded our luggage below and off we went. I need to talk about the craziness that people endure everyday with regard to Egyptian commuting. Let me preface this by saying I thought the drivers in Japan were insane, mainly because they drive “offensively”, not defensively. Meaning they change lanes when they want to and you better be the one watching out!

Where do I start? I guess I can say I’ll never complain about our traffic in San Diego (in comparison to Egypt). I understand, fully, why the cars are more narrow here than anywhere else I‘ve been. Painted lanes on the roads are only suggestions. Drivers hover over them and constantly squeeze in an additional lane that shouldn’t exist! Folks drive here with one hand “at-the-ready” to lay on the horn! They use the horn to let others know they are trying to get into another’s lane (courteous pre-cutting someone off) and to notify fellow drivers to get a move on (stop blocking traffic). Do they use seatbelts? Absolutely not! I even saw a child that looked to be 6 years old on the lap of an adult man in the passenger seat. Did I mention that no one or anything was in the backseat? Helmets are also a rarity for those that ride motor-bikes. I’ve see tandem riders and not in the typical fashion that Americans ride double. The driver rides “normal”, but the passenger “dangles” off to one side. Can you say dangerous? Or life support?

So far we’ve made all our destinations in one piece… well 9 pieces actually. Thank you for your prayers of safety, they are being answered!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The layover.

June 21-22
And we’re off! After leaving home we had 12 hours of traveling, which for most of the team, had a really difficult time sleeping, so the first part of the trip was a bit rough. But we made it through with God’s awesome power. We had a 9-hour layover in Amsterdam and got to walk around the city a bit. We went to Amsterdam Centraal, and found out that it is the also called, City of Bikes. While there is an amazing train and bus transit system, the majority of people ride bikes or motor scooters... and the rebels do it without helmets—take that California helmet law! But then again, the most common accident is tourists getting run over by bike riders, but it is truly a fantastic scene to see a parking garage for bicycles. We walked all around Amsterdam and ending with the Van Gogh Museum and then a sprinter back to the airport. We then boarded another plane that would take us from Amsterdam to Cairo. The 4-hour flight seemed really long but honestly it was our favorite as the pilot made the take off and landing the smoothest out of the three planes we got on. We were greeted by the HUGE city of Cairo with a 3am 81° humidifying sauna and then the short trip to our hotel.

Thank you again so much for the support and prayers that you have given to our team to assist the making of this trip, we are so very grateful. We would ask that you continue to pray for us. Please pray for safety, ease of weather acclimation, and relief from jet lag. Please pray for our hearts and minds to be continually focused on God and not the things that may detract us (weather, sleep, etc.) and that we would continual seek after His purpose for us on this trip; whether that be the people He may place on our hearts, the things He may ask us to do or the actions that He will take to help grow our faith.

Again, thank you—we’ll be updating soon!

- Amanda

Monday, May 31, 2010

In Preparation & Prayer...

I've been asking God to prepare my heart for this upcoming ministry trip and these are the concerns I'm asking about:

- To have compassion for everyone I'll be interacting with.
- To see people through God's eyes.
- To not be desensitized to the conditions of what I will be seeing.
- To not have fear when sharing the Gospel, but solely rely on God to work through my weaknesses and fears.
- To not be so quick to offer up solutions when I see them (and offend others in doing so).
- To be mindful and observe their culture without offending.
- To be genuine.
- To not have such a picky palate while I'm there.
- To continue to bond with my fellow teammates.

I ask that you, the readers of this blog, to pray these things for me as well. This is a first for me and I want to bring God glory in this step of faith and obedience.

Praise the Lord! We are around 87% (or a little more) in our funding efforts! God is providing! We have one more garage sale coming up on June 5th and 8 hours of volunteering for the SD rock & Roll Marathon on June 6th to help complete our funding!

Keeping you posted- Tiffany

Friday, May 14, 2010

In Preparation

It seemed as if it took forever for the trip to be here and now it is right around the corner. I am so excited that momentum is picking up from the lull that we were having what seems like a few weeks ago.

I am so excited to be ramping up and the only thing that I am worried about is I feel like I am getting sick. My body is constantly tired and I have no energy (work, school and life is to blame). Please continue to pray that God will strengthen my body, give me energy to power through the next couple of weeks until I start my vacation time and that He will keep this sickness at bay until after the trip preferably :)

We have a two support raising events this Saturday (garage sale and support dinner), half of me is saying, "ahhhhh," and the other half is saying, "yippeeeee." I keep praying that God will use these events not only to grow the excitement and cohesiveness of the group, building us up for the weeks that we will be overseas and away from the familiar. I also hope that it will allow us to see just how blessed and loved we are, not only the event turnout but also how the Lord will use it. Secretly I'm hoping this is one of those "bless your socks off" times.

As a team, we know that money is tight and that not everyone can financially support us. Please know that we desperately need your prayer. The power of prayer is awesome and if you would partner with us in that way, our amazing and wonderful God can handle the rest.

I am so grateful that I am on this team and what we will be able to do in the Middle East that I'm trying to make sure that I don't forget to let God in on the process. My natural instinct is to want to be in control, and I can't. I am so anxious to see how God uses me and my teammates and I am trying to stay fixated on that, and leave myself checked at the door, pray for that too :)

Thank you for the love and support.