Sunday, 16 November 2008

Blood Ballot

While the timing is wrong, the conviction remains.
I had to write this...

Thrust into a life a fear,
A time when turmoil and pain are the only constants,
Where convictions are forgotten and freedom fades.

The shouts of propganda and the threat to those who do not conform,
The sound of a gunshot ringing out,

It's the story of millions,
The story of injustice and corruption,
The story of a country on the brink.

A world away...

Lives of complacency,
Of complaint without action and a failure to recognize the freedoms held,
Of ignorance and bliss,

Unaware of the importance, of the strife and the trouble a world away,..

As one man tosses his ballot away, another dies clutching his

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Out Of Africa

Time in Uganda is priceless,
Whether it's spending that time with playing football with old friends,or finding yourself in a familiar tiny embrace, singing and dancing or generally making a fool of yourself (see singing and dancing),
Uganda has a way of making every moment a special one.

The children, with there smiling faces, individual and unique personalities, make every day an amazing one.

There is little that can compare to their unbridled joy,

This is what Christ meant when he said we should be like children,
This kids are alive, alive in a way that is indescribable,

The way they observe things, the way the enjoy creation, and the way they humble themselves,

Harriet is a child that has spent her live suffering with HIV and AIDS,
In her short life she has faced more challenges, more heartache then most experience in their entire lives,
She has lost family, she has lost friends, and yet, she smiles.

Harriets story could have jaded her, could have taken her impressionable mind and twisted it,
But Harriet is one of the kindest, happiest and humblest girls I have ever encountered,

She doesn't have the energy to dance and skip and run with the other girls,
But Harriet sits and watches and smiles, her heart is for others, and she is genuinely glad that the others are having fun,

Listening to Harriets story, it is easy to question where God has been all her life,
It is easy to say that God doesn't care, and it's easy to say that our God must be an angry God to allow this little girl to suffer as she has,

But to spend a day with Harriet, is to realize that God is there,
God has cradled this little one, and stolen her away from death time and time again,
And what's more, God has instilled in her a joy that is incomparable,

The relationship that Harriet has with God is deeper than anyone could possibly imagine,
And it's evident in the love that she has for HIm,
The way that she sings and the way that she prays,
The way that she worships and the way that she carries herself,

Where her trying past and long sufferings could have hardened the hearts of many,
Harriet has let it soften hers and it has brought her closer to God,

Spending time with Harriet has taught me these invaluable truths,
And her life speaks more to me than she could ever know;
And it's her story and testament I take with me this time,

"Thank you Lord for this beautiful little girl,
Thank you for the way that you cherish her, the way that you comfort her and the way that you bless others through her life.
Lord I pray that you continue you to keep her close to your heart, and that you continue to use her in the ways that you have.
Thank you Lord for all the children, and I pray that you continue to hold them close,
Give them good health, and grow them in their understanding of you Lord.

Lord, allow us to trust you,
Because trust is all we have, we can never comprehend your plans for this world and our lives Lord,
So help us to live by faith, for I know you only want the best for us.

You are a glorious God,
The One True King, and Father over our lives.
And it's in Your Name I ask all these thing My Father,

Friday, 30 May 2008

Grace Like Rain

It's a shock to the system,
Flying into Uganda, looking out the plane window;
Fields of green, forests, mixed between the red dirt roads,
Rain clouds, and the lake, water for the soul.

To touch down in Entebbe was a piece of Heaven for this weary travelers,
Nothing short of bliss,

There is a feeling here,
It lingers in the air, and on the smiles of the people,
It is gentle and warm,
It is refreshing.

This is country alive,
The culture, the people, the environment,
a stark contrast to the heaviness of Egypt.

I am happy to be here,
And as the rain continues to fall outside,
My soul is lifted up.

The faces of friends, and the familiar smiles of the children,

I am "Uncle Brent" ,

The schedule is full, however, the burden is little,
and together with Shaun, we are the Mzungus here in Mpigi.

We are here,
We are safe,
And we are in love with this place.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Historic Chapter Closes...

Like a blur it has come and gone,
I sit now, reflecting on what has been,

Cairo is now a part of me,
It will hold me in it's warm embrace and yet, haunt my dreams in the dark of night.

I look back with no regrets,
I've grown more in this time than any other period in my life,
A year is nothing, and yet it is everything.

I found myself driven with passions, passions,
A daunting culture and a desperate need.

Cairo aches still,
I didn't even scratch the surface of it's festering wound,
It still bleeds.

Cairo was for me,
It was a test, it was a challenge and a breeze,
It cut me deep and yet it, brought me joy

I'm leaving as a different man,
I'm leaving with a greater knowledge of myself and yet, more mysteries.
I'm leaving with a greater desire to seek out God,
I'm leaving exhausted,
I'm leaving...

My path now takes me to rest,
My path leads me to hope,
My path leads me to familiar places, and still, to the unknown.

Amidst the trails and triumphs that was Cairo, He was there, He told me, He told us.
And now, on this leap into the unknown, we trust in Him and know that He will cushion our landings.

We seek to know Him more, we seek Him together.

If Cairo has shown me nothing, it has shown me that God, my God, is a patient God,

A God that will be there when we turn to face Him, and pursues us when we don't,

It will be some time before I know fully how Cairo has grown me, has God has grown me in Cairo,
It will be some time before I see all the fruits, and the scars,

I look forward to it,

And now, Uganda,
That country, those people, who have captured my heart,
The burden on my heart, a burden of love,

God go with me,
Friends follow me here,
I'll post when we can and share what we experience,

For now, pray, please,
Pray that I will be filled to serve,
Pray that I will find rest in the midst
Pray for the people I meet,

Grace, Peace and Blessings,


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Persecuted But Not Abandoned

To flee your home with nothing but the clothes on your back and your kids in your arms,
To come to and grow up in a foreign country where you are persecuted based on nothing more than the colour of your skin,
To face many of the same hardships in this "country of refuge", as you did back home...

All because of a civil war that has raged for more than 40 years,
Because of intolerance and racial profiling, ignorance and religion,

The Sudanese have flocked to the land of Egypt, Christians and Muslims alike, to avoid the constant heat of battle, to avoid death and destruction, rape and pillaging,

Hoping to feel the warm embrace of a country at peace, the Sudanese have been anything but greeted warmly,

Mocked and spit on, refused services and jobs, here in Egypt, the Sudanese refugees as faced a new form of persecution.

Children and teens suffer the brunt of this discrimination on their walk to and from their learning centers,

Denied access to the public school system, the Sudanese have been forced to open their own "Learning Centers",
With no set curriculum and no officially trained teachers, these centers would never be recognized nor accredited,

However, they have served their purpose, allowing refugee children the access to a basic education,

Property is a hard thing to come by in Egypt, and as a result most of these learning centers exist out of a the bottom floor of apartment buildings,
Contracts must be signed, cultures must agree to terms, and cohabitation must exist... a delicate balance.

This week the balance shifted, and one such Learning Center abruptly found itself closed for the year,

The same Learning Center I have spent the last 5 months in, was closed when the landlord decided he wanted out of the established contract.

Rather than addressing the Learning Center or the faculty themselves, the landlord of the property took the matter straight to one of Cairos largest newspapers, El Ahkbar,, exaggerating situations in his report with claims that; many Egyptian Muslim students were being forced to take Bible courses.

Evangelism in Egypt is not permitted legally, and there are severe ramifications for anyone caught "preaching the gospel",

For a Sudanese teacher, allegations such as these can result in immediate imprisonment with deportation to follow.

The school was swiftly closed and tension thickened, when the Egyptian police and state security officers barred the doors,

The following day, when attempting to retrieve the learning centers finical paperwork, classroom registers and stamp, the headmaster was arrested, detained and threatened.

The word was simple, without a permit, the school would not open, and should it try and open without, the teachers would be rounded up, arrested, and finally deported.

A Sudanese refugee "Learning Center" striving to obtain a permit to operate from the Egyptian government is futile, and the state security and police know this. And so they sit, waiting for the opportunity to strike.

It seems as though without the intervention of the Sudanese government or the Egyptian government, all hope for completing this year is lost.

And yet again the Sudanese suffer.
Poverty and Injustice, the life of a refugee.

The light in the darkness, the education they had, seems to be fading, and there are few options to turn to,

The first causality of war seems to always be the childrens education,

Grace, Peace and Blessings,
In His Name,

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Band-Aid Effect

What does it really mean to be healthy?

As we stand at the brink of ministry, questions like these plague us, and it leaves us wondering, who is it that we should be helping and how?

There is a village high upon the mountain top,
It is a village deep with tradition,
Men spend their days hunting deer and swine in the dense forests,
Women tend to the rows of potatoes and carrots all the while keeping a watchful eye on their children,
As their mothers and fathers did before them, so do the people of this village.

Perched atop the steep cliffs,
The village stands alone, and solitude is treasured,

Solitude proves a burden however, when the men of the village need to trade.

The only neighbouring village is five kilometers from the base of mountain,

The steep trail down the mountain had claimed many lives,
One miscalculated step near the edge and men would plummet hundreds of metres to the base.

Men would be carted, dead or alive, to the neighbouring village along rocky narrow roads, on the back of donkey carts to the medical facility there.

Trading was mared with death...tradition...
Until one day,

A minister from another country had heard of this village, and he was determined to help.
After a long journey and a challenging hike, he sat down with village leaders.

It was unanimous, the village needed an ambulance at the base of the mountain.
The donkey cart was just too slow to transport the wounded to the hospital in time, many men died in transit.

And so it was,
The minister went back to his church, and through his congregation, they raised the funds and, as promised, he returned to purchase an ambulance and train a driver.

The ambulance worked beautifully and it wasn't long before the shortened trip had saved a life, then two.
And the minister left knowing he had made a difference.

Until one day...
On a routine trip to the hospital, the ambulance caught a corner going slightly too fast,
It turned over, snapping the axle and damaging the engine in the wreak,
The ambulance was out of commission,

Word spread back to the minister and he returned to the country and fateful village,

The villagers demanded for him to fix the ambulance, but he was a clever man,
He knew it was likely for this mishap to happen again and it would only a short time before he was back here again with the same problem.

He knew it would be more cost effective to build a clinic at the base of the mountain rather than continuously paying for maintenance of the ambulance.

It was time to cut his losses and push forward.

He proposed the idea of the clinic to the elders of the village and immediately he was praised for his thinking.
The clinic was to be built, local labour, local staffing, a total solution!

Not more than a couple months later, again with the funding of his church back home, the minister saw the completion of the clinic.
And again, the results were promising,
The doctor saved many lives, only feet from the site of the accident,

But again the winds of change swept in,
The clinic filled to full capacity during the raining season, and the doctor had his hands full,
There was not another medical professional to be found to lessen the burden and no one was willing to be trained.

The excitement and the joy of helping soon fled as the surge of people continued, and the passion drained from the doctors heart.
It was time for him to move on, and with that, he packed his bags and moved along.

Again word spread to the minister about the misfortune, but this time there was nothing he could do,
His congregation was growing, and while they were still very much interested in missions, the twice unlucky village was no longer at their hearts.
The minister reluctantly hung up the phone, and severed the ties.

Years passed and the village continued to face the same problems,
The remnants of the wreaked ambulance and forsaken medical clinic served to mock the villagers and harden their hearts.

And then the day came when two more travelers passed through the mountain top community,
The cold stares and the shut door, tempted them to ask one friendly man, "Why are we shunned?"

The story was told of the minister and his "solutions" and the travelers were intrigued,
They asked to meet with the village leaders to hear the full story.

After much discussion the solution seemed simple,
Find the root cause and tackle it from there using the resources available.

"What is the real problem..?" The travelers asked.
"We don't have any near by medical services to help us when we're injured," was the response.
Still the travelers pushed, "But why do you need the medical care?"
"We mountain is steep and the trail is treacherous, many a man falls to his death."
"Right, but why is it you fall to the base of the mountain?" Further pushing the subject
"Nothing obstructs us, the tree grow on at the top of the mountain," the villagers replied, nearing a solution

Finally one leader stood up excitedly, giddy with a possible solution, "We move some trees to block the narrow curve of the path!"

I took only a little time until the villagers agreed that a fence, rather than a row of trees, was the correct solution.
And with the instruction of the travelers, trees were chopped down, and the fence was built.

The villagers gather and stood with pride and a new sense of confidence infront of their new fence,
And as time went on, the fence proved to be an effective, natural, internal, cost efficient means of prevention.

It's a simple story,
It's the story of our times,
It's the story of modern ministry,

We need a change,

Relief is a method for times of crisis, but ultimately we should focus our attentions on development.

Development with the idea that one day, we, the outsiders, will have to leave, and the responsibility of the community will fall on the hands of that it serves.

Money, food supplies, blankets, clothes, etc. all have their time and place, but if a community continuous diets on these alone, without working to build an infastructure, it will breed dependance.

So what does it look like to build a sustainable community?
What is a healthy community and who are we to judge?

Health is not just a physical state, it is emotional, and it's spiritual as well.

It's four tier.

A healthy relationship with God, with self, with neighbour and with environment

If someone is lacking in one area, can we truly call them healthy?
If a community is lacking in one or more area, can we truly call it healthy?

Grace, Peace and Blessings,
In His Name,

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Land Of The Lost

This has been one of the hardest blogs to write.

At risk of sounding negative, over critical or at times, all inclusive, I feel I should tell you that not all, nor are the majority of my adventures in Cairo troublesome.

Sure the occasional taxi catches fire, a few office chairs break and paint can lids aren't fastened tight enough. Sure crossing the street is a test of faith and bartering for everything can be tiresome.

But my life is Cairo is cushy compared to the people I'm here to serve, compared to the sights and sounds I see everyday.

That said, everyone is allow an "I hate Egypt day."
A day of mini melt down and venting.
And provided this is done in an appropriate matter, it can be a major release.
Allowing us to push forward and serve better.

However, misplacing this 'aggression' can be dangerous, as can be holding on to it for too long.

I... have been holding it in for too long,

In a culture that is so oppressed, it makes sense that there would be rebellion.
It might even be justified.

But rebellion against "Allah," is reason enough to be killed here, even rebellion against the teachings of his "prophet Muhammad" would hold a similar fate.

In a country where religion is law and there is no separation, no distinction between "matters of church and matters of state",

In a country that has more than 65,000 mosques and only 5,000 schools.

In a religion where even the term Islam means "submittion" and the term Muslim means "one who submits"

There is no room from new ideas, there is no room for difference, and no room for rebellion.

Agression, frustration, ...misplaced.

A day in the life of,
The spiritual battles, and the physical.

Egypt is a battle ground,
It's the trenches and it's a exhausting, a daunting place for a recruit to be molded and shaped.

Every day I am stretched,
Every day I am grown,
And every day I face the very reality of flautering in the midst of anger or frustrating.

How far and what extent did Jesus really mean "turn the other cheek"?

I step outside the door with Joy at my side and we face reality.

Every day and seemingly every moment,
The perverted stares, the sleazy comments and the attempted gropings build a hatred within me,
And the love of Jesus just seems so far away.

My fists clench and my heart hardens towards these lost,
I'm broken inside

The words spewed from the minarets play a constant reminder to where we are,

الله اكبر اشهد ان لا اله الا اللهاشهد ان محمدا رسول اللهحي على الصلاةحي على الفلاحالله اكبرلا اله الا الله

"Allah Akbar, Ash-hadu allā ilāha illallāh, Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasūlullāh, Hayya 'alas-salāt, Hayya 'alal-falāh, Allah u akbar, Lā ilāha illallāh"
"Allah is The Greatest, I bear witness that there is no lord except Allah, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Make haste towards prayer, Make haste towards welfare [success], Allah is greatest, There is no lord except Allah"

A country, a religion,
Where propaganda, one sidedness, and fear dominate.

I grasp firmly to my Lord, my Savior and my Light.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Surely it will,
And then will come the day where the minarets fall silent,
The day when the ground will shake and the mosques will come tumbling down,
The day when "allah" and his "Mohammed" will tremble and be exposed for the frauds they really are.

And my God, the One True God will reign triumphant.

Untill that day may myself and others find comfort in the love and the presences of Jesus Christ.
May my armour hold steadfast, and may your prayers carry me,
And may I continue to be a witness for Him.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Monday, 18 February 2008

To Laugh In The Face Of Death

Life in Egypt is nothing short of an adventure,

Cairo is a city that breathes,
It's always in motion, always busy and always full of noise,
You can't escape the madness that is this Middle Eastern city.

Therefore, there is always something to new, exciting or terrifying about this place,
Ask anyone who lives here and they will have more than a few stories to tell of a typical day in the life of;
And of those stories, my favorites seem to be those that involve taxis,

Now you must understand,
In Cairo no two taxis are the same,
And after traveling across Cairo everyday,
I've become somewhat of an expert in the field of taxis,

The key is to look for a cab which;
1) Is Comfortable (but not too comfortable, everything comes at a cost)
2) Is Spacious (An hour and a half in a cab, crouched down/hunched over, makes your shoulders scream for mercy)
3) Has an older driver (young drivers will try an gouge you where and when they can)

With the amount of taxis in Cairo, these three stipulations, should be easy enough to come by,

That said, when you do have to settle, you'll almost always get a good story out of the deal (even if you do have to pay for it),

As I said,
I have been in a fair share of taxis in my day,
Having a girlfriend across Cairo, makes for a daily commute which last anywhere between an hour to two hours...on a good day.
But given the choice between mass transit, ( a hot and sweaty underground box car, chalked to the brim or a micro bus, also chalked to the brim), I'll take the comfort of a taxi when I can afford it.

In every form of transit here in Cairo, there are lessons to be learned,
Every day you learn to be a little more at peace with the fact that this taxi ride could be your last,
You learn what a steady prayer life really is,
You learn to laugh in the face of death,
You learn that the other driver is always matter how many lanes you just veered across,
You learn that a bus does NOT have the right of matter how fast it appears to be coming at you,
And most importantly of all,
You learn that every "rule" you think you might know, can be broken or adapted at any moment, for any reason, no matter how close the police are.

Now that you have been briefed, you must know that we all find ourselves in unavoidable situations,
That once sound taxi that you hopped into, can suddenly turn out to be a steel cage of death,
And that "fun driver", can quickly turn into a maniac once the doors are closed,

I have developed a wealth of stories, however,there are three that take the limelight...

Hasheesh Anyone?

It was a late night in Mohandiseen, and for what seemed like the first time, the street ran dry with cars,
During an hour when most should sound asleep, I walked down the street, desperate for a ride home,
When all seemed lost, lights flashed, a horn sounded, and my rescuer appeared on the horizon,
As he slowed to crawl, he yelled out his open window in muddled English, "Where you go?!"
"El Maadi?" I yelled back, a hint of desperation in my voice.
"Meshi, Yalla!" he said ("Okay, let's go") as he stopped,
I pulled the door open and sank back into the chair, 'finally, homeward bound.'
We banterd back and forth for awhile.
Between my broken Arabic and his cracked English, we discussed the depths of our lives...
And as I listened, I gazed out the windshield,
Suddenly, a left turn...
A new way, every taxi seems to have a new route, but by now I thought I'd seen them all,
A quick right puts me in a spot I know...nowhere near home,
"Enta Aize?" ("You want?") He asks, jamming a pack of cigarettes in my face,
"La, shokran," I say with a smile, ("No thank you") dismissing the cigarettes,
It's not uncommon to be offered cigarettes by a driver, however what came next was quite a surprise,
"Ah, I know, I know what you want," he chuckled at me, the English bouncing, rather than rolling off of his tounge,
"I have what you want."
Puzzled, quite worried but yet a little intrigued, I watch as he pulls out another container,
A row a marijuana cigarettes, and the smell that goes along with them, were now being thrust into my face.
I chuckle, "La, shokran, ana mis aize, ana mis sherupt" ("No thank you, I don't want it, I don't smoke")
He looks at me appalled, turns, and lites one for himself,
Thick smoke fills the cab, as the hasheesh cigarettes lites up in a flash,
In minutes it is gone, and another is at his lips,
He's chain smoking hasheesh!
I can't do anything but chuckle nervously as we veer around the corner,
The car stalls,
I opt to stay in the car, getting another cab would be quite hard at this time of night, and I'm farther from home than when I started,
We start rolling again,
A sharp corner, lands us in the back of another car,
I can't believe this!
Stalled again, resting in the dent of another car,
The other driver hops out yelling,
Our car starts again and with a flash, we are past the angry motorist and on our way again,
This is Cairo!...
Alittle while longer, a few more turns, and two more hasheesh cigarettes and I'm lost again,
My directions are normally quite good, but this is ridiculous,
'Where the heck am I?' I think to myself,
The citadel on the horizon tell me the answer,
Another sharp corner and we stall again,
My gut tells me to get out of the car, I could get out here, he's still trying to start it up again,
One look around the area suggests otherwise,
This is dead city, a city of graves, inhabited by the poorest in Cairo,
'What can I do really but stick with it,'
God is good...
Nearing Maadi now, barreling along the highway,
'10 more minutes and I'll be home,'
We stop...'why?! what now?!'
My driver is looking a little ill,
"Mish kayla eh?" I ask, ("What is the problem?")
"Ma feesh mish kayla," ("There is no problem") he responds reaching for his drink in the console,
Taking a swig, he cringes a little, then offers me a sip,
One smell tells me there is more then just tea, some sort of ridiculously strong alcohol is in it...
"La shokran," I say again, reassuring myself that it's just 10 more minutes,
My arabic isn't good enough to tell him this isn't a good idea, and I don't have many options if he kicks me out here.
We're on the way again soon,
And as we round the corner to my home, I prepare the fare,
25LE is normal (less than $5) but he is asking for more,
Happy to be alive, I stand firmly on 25LE, call him crazy ("Enta megnoon") and retire to my house, with another Cairo story.

Two Doors Are Better Than Four

The metro is the cheapest option to get anywhere in Cairo,
For 1 LE (20 cents) you can jam yourself in a smelly little train car,
Shoulder to shoulder with about 100 Arab men, some of which snicker at the foolish white man, other which taunt, some still which try and come on to you, and more that just stare,
It's normally an awkward situation, especially after work, when the metro is at it's busiest time,
You never know who is touching you and whether or not it is intentional or not,

The metro line however, does not run all the way to Mohandiseen,
(I'm not sure if this a blessing or a curse),
So once downtown Cairo, I must take a taxi the rest of the way,
A rusted out old taxi is a luxury compared to the metro cars,

On this particular day, I hopped in the first "black and white" I saw,
The driver was friendly, and we chatted as much as we could given the language barrier,
But once conversation dissolved, I resorted to resting against the door and gazing out the window,

There are many bumps in the road in Cairo,
both literally and metaphorically...
And it was this particular day that I learned the consequences of a well placed bump,

Veering off the bridge, we hit such a bump, and to my shock, my door flung open,

Now you must know, that seat belts are not worn in this country,
Seldom does a car actually have them, and if it does, even less seldom are they worn,

I now found myself dangling outside the door, gripping the seat with my legs, scrambling to pull the door closed,
It was as I was doing this death defying act of clownery, I gazed at my driver,
Who, while gripping the steering wheel with one hand, was performing the mirror act.

After pulling both doors closed,
We shared a chuckle, shared a prayer of thanks giving,

"First time," he said, wiping his brow,
"Last time," I laughed, "En sha Allah" ("If God Wills It")

It is with this last story that I leave you,
Hopefully chuckling,
Come to Cairo and we'll share a cab,


After a long night of shopping with Joy,
We both decided that the majority of our energy was spent on braving the cabs,
And so we hailed a cab,

It's funny how what should have been a 5 minute taxi ride spawns the almost unbelievable,

Traffic was heavy, as it almost always is in Cairo,
And it was during this stand still that Joy turned to me,
"Something smells as if it's burning," she said.
I sniffed the air like any man would,
Something was burning,
The smell of burning plastic and glue was not unfamiliar,
This is Cairo after all, strange smells are a part of life here,
And dismissed the comment, "It must be outside."

Not a minute after I had said that, did a whisp of smoke past between us,
I turned quickly, and noticed the smoke coming from the speaker between us,
Foolishly, I passed it off as another "taxi gadget",
It wouldn't be totally unimaginable to think this guy had a mini smoke machine in the back seat,

Joy is smarter than me,
(I'm really not giving her enough credit, as it's really not that hard to be smarter than that thought of mine),
And as the whisp turned into a cloud,
Both her and the driver yelled to get out of the cab,

He pulled the car to the side of the road not a moment too soon,
As we piled out of the back seat, it lit up in flames,

Men came out of the wood work with fire extinguishers,

The driver pulled at the back seat, and as he wrestled it to the ground,
The flames shot through the back of the car,

A police officer fought the trunk open as both Joy and I stood in disbelieve,

I caught a glimpse of our stunned driver, as he stomped on his back seat,

Joy and I discussed what to do next,
Do we pay the man?...we hadn't gone but around the block.
How much should we pay him?

Flames burst out of the now open trunk as several men tired dousing them with their hand held extinguishers.

And here we though we had seen it all,

The spectacle was drawing a crowd,
Police and on lookers were everywhere,
It was time for us to go,

I handed the driver double the fare,
And he took it dumbfounded, as he looked first at me, and then to his smoldering car.

'What do you do with that?'
'What do you do when your taxi lights on fire?'
'How much do you pay?'

Questions that still plague me....

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, 3 February 2008


I stare through the crack windshield of the taxi cab,
Removed now, what once was a terrifying ride has become an everyday routine,
In the corner of my eye I catch glimpse of the dust covered air freshener,
The stale dust covered pine tree sways with the rickety old engine that struggles along the roadway,
Cars swerve around hollow shell that is my taxi,

I chuckle to myself thinking of my family's first ride in one of these steel coffins,
White knuckled (no pun intended), gripping the seats as if to let go would be to let life slip through their fingers,
Faces frozen with fear as each near miss with pedestrians and other cars,

In the 5 months I have been here I have learned at least one important lesson,
The right taxi driver makes a world of difference,

Alright so I have learned a lot more then just that,

I think back to my familys visit here,
How quick it came and went,

The excitement and culture shock,
Frustration and a sense of adventure,
The double edge sword that is Egypt drew them in,
And I was glad for the visit,

The embrace of home and family while thousand of miles away brings a lot of comfort,
And while they have left now, I feel a recharged,

I am now ready to take on my next challenge here in Egypt,
And it comes in the form of a Young Mens Bible study group,

A group brought together under the dim lights of one of Cairo's few refugee schools,
Within the walls of pain and despair, there are a group of young men that are searching for something better,

The idea was spawned after much thought and prayer,
A calling for the time I have left here in Egypt,
A charge to help answer some of the more difficult questions then young men of this world face,

The questions they face, but face alone because no one dares to bring up the topics,
Things such as Sex, Sexuality, Relationship, and Money are things which most young men of this culture struggle with on their own.

Some of the life's most daunting topics, and they are left to fend for themselves.

So what is my role in the matter?
Why me?

In no way do I feel equipped enough to answer some of the harder questions I expect to be raised,
In no way do I feel I have all the right answers nor the experience to tackle some of the tough issues,

To bring these men of the future together,
To talk it out, to think, to hear others opinions and to bring knowledgeable leaders into help stir their minds.

The darkness seems overwhelming,
They don't have to be alone in this struggle,
To bring the light of God into the matter, the darkness shall flee.

The taxi veers to avoid what could have been a fatal collision, and I'm snapped back into the present.
The dusty, old pinetree still swings, in the corner as my eyes and other senses focus once again on my surroundings.
Engine grinds, and my driver mutters something under his breath, as if to coax the failing, steel beast along.
The smell of gas stings the the nose as it seeps through the rusted engine compartment and the cool Nile breeze whips through the open window and against my face,

Egypt is home for now, and I intend to enjoy it,

Grace, Peace and Blessings

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A New Year Ushered In

As the hands of the clock pass 12 morning, so ushers in a new year.

2008 marks a new chapter in my life,
Half way across the globe, I find myself once again reflecting, this time on what the future holds in store for me.
It's with confidence I can say I am excited to see what God bring about.

I have 5 months left here in Egypt and I plan to finish strong,
I have a renewed sense of urgency, as time ticks away, that I need to stand up and continue on with the work I have started.

After my time in Egypt has past,
I imagine I will leave with a certain sense of accomplishment, regret, heaviness and excitement.
Accomplishment because of the tasks I took on and completed, and regret that I couldn't do more,
Heaviness will fade as I leave the battle that wars over Egypt and excitement will remain as I venture, once again, down to Uganda,

I continue to be grown here,
I've been asked to give the opening prayer this week at Maadi Community Church.
It is with a certain amount of hesitation and reluctance that I excepted,

Hesitation stems from the fear of public speaking, reluctance, from the idea of writing out a prayer that will be repeated no less than 3 times.

Prayer should be a conversation with God,
The idea of a rehearsed speech bothers me slightly,
The intimacy and the flow of ideas is ruptured by the correct placement of words and grammar,

But never the less,
The finished and polished product is here,

May God transform my heart,

When I praise Him, may my praise fill His heart with Joy,
When I thank Him, may He continue to pour out His blessing,
When I ask Him, may what I ask be the wants of His heart as well.
And when I speak to Him may there be an intimacy with Him that only our Father God can grant,

"Lord Jesus,

We come before You now full of thanksgiving and awe.

Lord, there is none like You,
No God so strong, no Savior so loving, no Spirit so true.

We thank You for Your presence,
We thank You Lord, that You continue to seek us out and Lord that Your light floods the darkness.

You pursue us when we’re stubborn, and You pull us out of the muck and mire Lord,
We are so truly unworthy,

We take this time Lord, to recognize that without You, without Your love, justice and mercy, we are forever lost.

Thank You Lord for this new year you have ushered in,
Thank You Jesus for all the amazing and powerful things You are going to do this year,
And Thank You Jesus, that another passing year only brings us closer to the day when You return for us.

So Lord, with this new year fill us again with an urgency for the lost, your children in the darkness,
Equip us to reach out Lord, may Your light shine through us, and may it draw others near.
Continually remind us of Your calling Lord, and reaffirm in our minds that we are Your hands and feet here Jesus.

Lord we thank you for our host country Lord,
We pray that you continually bless Egypt with an abundance of your love and mercy,
Shower her leaders with knowledge, discernment and a want to serve You and serve your people.

Thank You Lord that this church is growing,
Thank You that You know exactly where we will expand to Lord,
Lead us there, and give us open eyes and ears so we follow without question.

Thank you Spirit that you gift us uniquely,
Gift us with a pastor who will lead this church through this new adventure,
May he be strong in you and may he be called here by you and you alone,
Gift to us as a church body discernment to know that he is the one, and do likewise for him.

Lord we thank you that you are a God that feels our pain,
You are the God that mourns and rejoices with us Lord,
And You are the God that consoles us,
Jehovah Rafa be with those in our congregation that are hurting or mourning Lord,
Bring about Your peace and reach down Your healing hand into their lives.

Lord, allow us to grasp this year with a renewed desire to give our all to You and the furtherment and strengthening of Your Kingdom. For You are our Lord Creator, You are the selfless Savior, You are the Spirit the leads us on.
And it’s in Your Name that we pray,


Happy New Year to you and yours!

In His Name,
Grace, Peace and Blessings,