Thursday, 11 June 2009

The "Right" Decision

When you discover, that just as an iceberg, only the tip on the looming mountain of need is visible,
You begin to find comfort in the uncomfortable,
Stories of families, while still heart breaking, no longer shock you,

As ‘Mzungus’, we represent hope,
There are those whose hope is fading, we represent a glimmer,

It's the story of a young girl,
Her family attacked during the civil war,
Left for dead amoung her silent brothers, sisters and parents in their hut,
Of the 8, 3 survive, bearing the scars of the machete across their faces, necks and wrists.

Yet this young girl grows,
Is happily married, has children of her own,
And while she loses her husband to the lake, she persists, for the sake of her children,

Yet those scars are like a curse, slowly sucking the life from her body,

At word of mzungus, she packs her bag, and her children,
With three little ones in two she makes the daunting journey,
Along road beyond disrepair, through bouts of malaria,
To the church where Mzungus come,

She has heard about our childrens homes,
She's been told we will help,
We will provide for her children, we will give her children an education, a chance,

It's worth the journey,

She arrives to find she's early, the mzungus have not yet arrived,
She's told that the inn is full, there is no more room in our homes,

Yet she clings to the chance to talk to the mzungus,
She's sure that they will have an different answer,
If they just knew her story,

And they do, they arrive,
At church she demonstrates her grasp of the Word,
She helps around the property, clearing land with her one good hand,
How could they deny her?

She waits two weeks to gain the courage to talk to them,
Even then, she paces outside for some time before they notice her,
Too shy, too nervous to knock,

Now she allows the thoughts and the words of the others to creep into her head,
What if they say no?

She enters, not knowing even the words,
She doesn't speak English, how will they understand her.

As if on cue the pastor comes,
But it is not as she hoped,

Her mind clouds,

He knows of her plan, he has come to stop her...

She slips away,
She can't bear it,

Later the mzungu finds her, sitting in the church,
He's with the pastor but,
This is it, he has come to set things straight,
He has come to listen,

He says he feels there was something she wanted to say,
And so the mzungu listens as she tells her story,
As she pleads for him to provide a place for her children,

And as he listens, his heart breaks,

How could anyone say no?
They would have to be heartless,
They would have to be ignorant,
They would have to be this mzungu,

He tries to explain that her children need the love of their mother right now,
He tries to tell her that God is revealing Himself to them through her devotion to them,
He tries to show her the love of the congregation, that they will cover her in prayer,
He tries to comfort her and tell her that God is good, and that He will watch over her and her children,

He knows its true, but it feels like tripe,
She knows its true, but her heart aches,

He has offered to drive her home, to provide some food provisions and to talk to her pastor and community,

The long drive is a silent one, he doesn't feel any better about his decision even though he knows it's the right one,
Upon reaching the home and finding her crippled mother in the field, trying to pick through the forest of weeds, to save her crops,

The community has made a plan,
And the hands and feet of Christ will be put to use,
but still,

How could anyone drive away from this?
And while she musters up a smile and waves as they drive off in a cloud of dust,
He sits behind the wheel, heavy with doubt...

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Friday, 29 May 2009

It Makes The World Go Round...

Money is an amazing thing,
It holds such a power over us,
It dilutes our understandings of life, love and what truly matters,

When it does not put us out, we are generous to share,
But God forbid we should face financial instability,

As the world begins to count its pennies, people are dying,
As we begin to make 'cut-backs' in "OUR" lives, millions suffer

Uganda is a beautiful country,
And while it is a country that is striving, it is still very dependent,
But there is hope,

On the drive to Kampala today I noticed the sign for a school,
Each school here has it's own motto and this one caught my eye,

"Knowledge-Our Hope"...if only you knew,
That the price of that cup of coffee could pay your school fees,
That filling up my gas tank could cover the cost of HIV treatments,
That my "tiny" room back home in Canada, is bigger than your house for 8,

You wouldn't think of me as a saint little one...

Forgive us...
We forget, we don't realize,

As we think twice about our monthly pledge, that this is our life, and the lives of so many,

They are more than programs we sponsor,
They have life altering ramifications,

And while the buildings will stand, bricks and mortar paid for,
The lives of the children inside will forever change,

What is love without good deeds?
What are good deeds without love?

We were called to look after the widow and the orphan,
How can we deny this?

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Pearl Of Africa

2 flights, 3 airports, 2 thunderstorms and 52 bright smiling faces later ...

This is beauty,
Lush green hills contrasted by the bright red soil,
The landscape of Uganda alone is breath-taking,
Combined with the smiles on the faces of the people here and little compares,

Landing here is always a breath of fresh air,
Always full of adventure and each time I am greeted by smiling faces of 52 beautiful children,

The smiles, the hugs, the shouts of “Uncle Brent”,
These are the things that make Uganda feel like home,

The kids have grown,
Their personalities are shaping, and they are growing bolder,
My longer hair is now cause for laughs amongst the children,
Which in turn, leads to a game of ‘run and hide from uncle Brent’,

There is always something to do here,
And the days move at a pace which allows it all to be finished,
They don’t drag, it’s quite nice,

There is always time for people,
For fellowship and laughs,
For football,

There is a lot of football,

I’m here,
And I’m bringing greetings on your behalf,,
The church sends their greetings back,

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Another Chapter Closes

A day of saying good-byes,
They are getting easier, and I’m not convinced that’s good thing,

There’s something about not knowing if or when you’ll ever see someone again that make good-byes so crucial,

The Sudanese, my class and fellow footballers, facing the decision of going back to Sudan or continuing to endure in Egypt,

The Ex-pats, a group of people representing all corners of the globe and who never settle for long,

And finally my Egyptian friends, representing all walks of life,

So many people and here I sit clinging to a toilet bowl, praying to God that my stomach settles enough to venture out in the 45 degree heat,

There’s nothing flattering about this, of everyone I had planned to say good bye to, of everyone I was making an effort to see, becoming this intimate with the porcelain was not on my agenda,

Though it does provide an excellent chance to think of better times…but let’s be honest with ourselves, anything in Egypt is better than this

The phone rings, and plans are made, I will not be held hostage by this tile floor any longer,

Once in a taxi, sitting in the sea of Cairo traffic, my plans are immediately brought to question, but through perseverance, I pull up to my favorite place, the Khan,

What would a final day in Egypt be without the Khan, and the friends who work here,

Handshakes, hugs and farewells…and then more plans,

What would a final day in Egypt be without a midnight horseback ride by the pyramids,

My friends here at the Khan have been looking for an excuse to try such a thing, and it seems that my departure is an apt reason,

And so as the sun sets over Cairo, I pray to God that my stomach can bear the feat,

Stars, sand, a rouge horse, a few tumbles and 9 pyramids later, and again we say goodbye,

All nighters…Cairo truly never sleeps and neither will I tonight,

Tomorrow I’m Uganda bound,
And I couldn’t be happier,

Grace Peace and Blessings,

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The Elephant In The Room

Sitting in the darkness of the narrow alleyways, Egyptian life flies by,
Motorbikes pass close enough to our feet to make our toes curl, at times bring a hault to the conversation,
The smell of fresh baking floats in the air, almost strong enough to cover the stench of the mounds of garbage rotting in the heat of this Cairo night,

My experiences and my friends have brought me back to this dingy little "cafe"
Now sitting, probing the depths of Islam and Christianity, mankind and our behaviors, with an elephant of a man.
The conversation is risky, but too important to pass up,

I've brought a friend this time,
He's eager to experience "real" Egypt,
He's getting it,
And now, the three of us work to break down the misrepresentations, the cultural boundaries, between us,
If only the UN was this effective

The topic of relationships comes fourth and the elephant (a term of endearment), proceeds to ask of if we would every marry an Egyptian woman,
"Well if we loved her," it's only a start to our explanation, but already he's floored,
Marry for love eh?

I love making waves...I'm getting good at it.

"What if she was a Muslim?"
We venture the topic of being unequally yoked, trying to stress the point to the rather large Egyptian man, that we do not see Muslims as weaker...

I love watching a light flicker in the eyes of someone wrestling with something great,

Conversation is interrupted now and then for a tea break, or to shake hands,
We take these opportunities to take it all in, the people, the place, and sometimes rather unfortunately, the smells

"There is something different about you two," the elephant says,
"Not many people would come here, and less people would come back, what is it about you two?"

Boom, I've never had such a cliche opening,
But we jump on it,

"But that's not what makes you different, I've met lots of Christians, they aren't friendly, they don't talk to us, "
Others nod in agreement,

The sad reality dawns on us,
The walls are high, and the walls are thick,

They are both higher and thicker than they should be because, we Christians have added the brick and mortar,
Everytime we step outside the doors, our actions, our mannerisms are watched,
Whether intentionally or not, we define Christianity to those who know only the inside of a mosque,

Suddenly, the old "living-Christ-like" saying takes on a very personal twist,
These are friends,

It’s time we live out of love.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Monday, 11 May 2009

Knowing Where To Look...

Walk down the right back alley in Cairo, and you can find anything.

It's just knowing where to look...

My week here in Egypt has taken on quite different feel than times past,
And while going into this trip I expected some needed healing, as well as a chance to dive into the refugee community again,
The latter has been very true,
Old friendships have been rekindled as I've spent every day with the students and teachers of 'Found',

However, the healing surprised me.
Cairo was a place in which I invested a lot of my life,
Some of my most profound growing experiences, both spiritual and emotional, took place here,

It is also a place where I dated and later, before my leaving, became engaged.

Months after leaving Cairo, for various reasons, I called the engagement off,
Which in turn lead to a period of both very emotionally and spiritually conflict,

Since then,
Through the wisdom and care of friends and family,
The grace of God,
and very little of my own input,

I feel I have never been stronger,

All that said, I thought coming back to Cairo would bring a flood of memories,
That perhaps, visiting and spending time here, would give me some sense of healing that I may have been missing.

I was wrong,

Wrong in the sense that, God had already allowed the wounds to fully heal,
Instead, He had something else in store for me,

Enter the Khan el-Khalili,
The open air market in the heart of Islamic Cairo,
A place of narrow alleyways, jammed with everything a tourist could ever need,

Pushy sales men, with lines like "I have what you're looking for," and "How can I take your money?!"
Stores entirely devoted to scarfs, shisha pipes, and statuettes,
Partnered with the shoulder to shoulder experience of it all,

Wide eyed tourists are often lead astray, paying upwards of ten times the Egyptian price,

Bartering skills are key, and a little Arabic will get you far,

This is the Devils playground,
This is my favorite place in all of Cairo,
Is that wrong?

One could say my self indulgent side in conjunction with my quest for the seemingly elusive Egyptian healing brought me back here,
I prefer to say God did,

Upon snaking my way through the familiar alleyways, I ducked out of the crowded streets and into one of my favorite stores,
Instantly the shop keeper remembered me and greeted me with a hug,
We went back and forth, sharing forgotten memories and recent ramblings,

Apparently buisness has been less than booming for him,
The sheer number of tourists has dropped astronomically since the recent bombing here,

The violent and isolated act of a single person has had a devastating affect on so many,

As the hours ticked on, I had only one item left to find, and my trusted friend told me just where to find it,
So onward we marched through the narrow alleyways, twisting and turning out of the shopping area,
And as I followed him into the depths of Egypt, I tried to memorize the way out,

"No tourist ever comes here, too far, too hard to find,"

I began to think of those words as I walked past the poverty which ensued,

Apartment buildings which appeared to have been standing since the creation,
Children and cats, together sifting through piles of garbage,
The broken and the weary line these narrow streets,

Perhaps no tourists come because it is hard to find,
but would they come if they knew where it was?

This is not the Cairo that is published in travel magazines,
It is far from the fancy hotels, no tourist bus will fit down these street and there is no view of the pyramids here,

We stopped for tea and shisha along the way,
A tiny alcove with an old, wood framed awning,
Weathered chairs and rusty tables,
The green glow of the minaret from mosque across the alley,

As we passed the pipe, the deafening call from the minaret bounced echoed through the narrow streets,
And I excused my Muslim friend as we went to pray,

As I sat alone, I thought of how I ended up here, tracing the last few months and thinking of the privilege it has been,

My friend returned, and sitting as cockroaches fell from the rotting fabric above, we spoke of family, the power of money, the corruption of government and the influence of religion,

He spoke of how we were like brothers in faith,
And I spoke about the vast differences,

The opportunity to talk so freely here is one that should be coveted,
And as I spoken of things unknown, of Salvation assured, I prayed that seeds may be planted,
Tiny seeds perhaps but with God as the gardener...

We continued on through the streets,
His familys house,
His brothers shops,
Greeting childhood friends,
This is his neighbourhood, and I am welcome anytime,

On the cab ride home, I reflect on the journey that has brought me here, and while it is for a short while, I plan to invest,

I can't quite figure out what the draw to Cairo is, but it's nights like these that help define it,

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Found Refuge

In a small, freshly painted office
I sit at a big wooden desk with a bowl of traditional Sudanese lentils in front of me,
There a few food that I hesitate with now, but the sheer appearance of these mashed lentils conjures the contents of my stomach to the brink,

It's rude to refuse food here, and though I've already eaten, the cook stands in anticipation waiting for me to take to first bite,

It took some time, but I found 'Found'.
The Sudanese refugee school has proven elusive this time around, and while I spent most of my time working within it's walls last year, it seemingly disappeared.

Egyptians authorities closed the doors to the makeshift refugee school,
While the sound of the street along side the ground floor apartment can be deafening, apparently the sounds of the children within the walls were cause for complaint,

Such is the life of a refugee in Egypt.

Denied access to public schooling,
Withheld accreditation by the government,
Mocked in the streets,

However, God is good in-spite of the chaos,
And 'Found African Childrens Learn Center' was able to reopen it's doors in a new and improved building,

Education is the basis of development,
Providing these children with a basic education, certified and accredited or not, is a necessary and fundamental step in stemming the hardships that Sudan has faced,

Through a better understanding of the world, science and cultures, partnered with a education based in love, tolerance and Biblical Truths, a new generation of leaders being molded.

And while changed in an already established entity is never easy,
It is no excuse for a lack of trying, especially when change can bring prosperity.

It starts with these children,

'Young Men Alive' is a study I facilitated here in 'Found' during my time here in Cairo,
A chance for prospectives to collide, and understandings to be reached.
A place where these young men, are presented topics, which are otherwise discreet, and given the opportunity to mull them over in a safe environment,

A study which earned me the nickname "Young Man" with the guys,

When I rang the bell for the bell of 'Found' for the first time this year,
The door opened and I was greeted by the hugs, playful punches and calls of "Young Man",
It was like coming home.

I had spoken to the head master here, a dear friend of mine, in advance, to be sure my arriving would not be interrupting,
The response I received has been the most warm since my return to Cairo,
"You are most welcome. You were a part of us"

A community, which has been so devastated by civil war, famine and racism,
A community which has every right to be hard and jaded,
Yet this is a community, were love abounds from,

This is where I will continue to spend my time here in Cairo,
Teaching Bible once a day, and investing in friendships,
Friendships that despite a year apart, continue off where we left off.

Cairo never seizes to amaze me,
And while I continue to take risks and step out,
God rewards.

Not many things are as they appear here,
And for the record, a bowl full of Sudanese are actually quite tasty.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

True Freedom

The heat in Cairo is brutal,
Combined with the convined space of a Metro car,
The body heat of a dozen other people, many of which failed to apply their daily dose of deoderant, (which should be illegal here)
And the constant stares of those around you and I began to think that this was some form of incarsoration.

It took only a moment to realize the insensetivity of my thoughts...

Plans in Egypt can change in a heart beat, ma'leesh T.I.A

When I went to bed last night I had a plan for today,
When I woke up this morning, the plans had changed, I just didn't know it yet,

I arrived at the church, ready to head to a maximum security prison,
I was met by an old friend, and told that we would now be heading downtown instead,

...reenter the methodical clacking of train tracks, which is always followed shortly by a pushing match at each station.

It's almost a sport, before the doors open, everyone in the train jockies towards the doors, mirrored by those on the platform, and as they slide open, the onsault ensues,

Like a giant game of red rover, dozens of people push and shove, trying to make it in or out of the doors before they close, which seems to also be a game for the conductor, who will close them at random intervals,

Now safely on the platform, we snake our way through a maze of tunnels, slowly pushing toward the surface, and there it stands, The Mogamma,

Blocking out the blazing sun, The Mugammas shadow looms over the main median downtown Cairo,
Inside what seems like thousands of Egyptians flutter through the halls, trying to make sense of mounds of papers, with little to none organization,

This is where Egyptian bureaucracy is implemented...or attempts are made at least.

No cameras please

Placing my bag on the x-ray machine and I walk through the metal detector, dreading the inevitable; leaving my camera in a "guarded" cubby hole,

But the drowsy guard finds nothing, so onwards we proceed, through the halls,
Frustration is etched on almost every face here, disorder seemingly has the upper hand,

Another check point, another metal detector, another bag x-ray,
This time I'm flagged, busted!

"Open the bag please sir,"
I nod in reluctance and do as I'm told,
The guard reaches in a pulls out my box of granola bars,
"What is this!" He asks, nervously examining the box,
Resistance every fiber of my being, I answer properly, avoiding the witty remarks, "Ackel, enta aize?" (Food, want some?)

He shakes his head and places them in my bags, and with that me and my explosive granola bars are allowed to pass.

Still the maze continues until we finally snake our way to room full of guards,

This is where the prisoners are held, those who entered the country illegally, stayed past their visa, or are waiting deportation,

The guys that we are here to meet have just served a twenty year prison sentence,
The men that we are here to meet sit amoungst the sixty others here, in this dark and gloomy little holding cell, yet these two shine,

Two men, who twenty years ago, made a foolish decision which they have been reminded of every day, for over 7,300 days.
It has been their thorn in their flesh, yet they have persevered.

"Do we look old? Do you think we have many years ahead of us?" ask the two men almost in unison,
It feels like I'm walking into a trap, but the worried sincerity on their still young faces tell me otherwise,

"You have many years left my friends, a sentence and some,"

They smile.

This a country where murder will get you 3-5 years, drug charges 15-30.
A country where foreigners in prison, must quickly learn to get along,
A jail sentence here can steal a mans identity, can steal his willingness to go on,

"When we started, we were overwhelmed, at times we thought, 'How can we go on,'"

As I try and think of what it equates to, my mind can't fathom my life minus a year behind bars.
"I can only imagine, but I don't even want to do that," comes an insensitive yet honest answer from my lips,
Again they smile.

"God has given me everything I have needed, and I have used it, courage and patience"

Patience to sit amidst the doubt, the taunts and seclusion, to wait.
Courage to stand firm in the God who has found them in those cells,

The joy on their faces, as they speak about families back home in the Philippines, a world that has changed so drastically in the two decades they have been hidden away.

The anxiety of paper work to be processed, hands still cuffed, is none existent.

They stand humble in front of their shackled peers, as they ready for transport to the airport.

I comment on the love that they exude, he turns to me, smiling brightly and eyes beaming,
"That is my verse, 1 Corinthians, that is my verse, for my life, thank you so much"

As they walk down the halls now, there is a strength about them,
Two men who spoke of looking old, now look like children on their way to Disneyland
And when the sun finally hits their faces, a wind blows across the court yard.

"It's a wind of change, a wind of freedom, true freedom"

From here they make the journey home together,
They board a transport which, will eventually put them on their plane home,

They're traveling light, no bags in tow, only a spring in their steps and a power testimony in hand.

Suddenly, the Metro ride home doesn't seem so bad,

Grace, Peace and Blessing,

Monday, 4 May 2009

Melting Pot

Cairo has truly become a melting pot of nations around the world.
I had Chinese food for lunch yesterday, met in 'Second Cup' for meeting and played soccer in the streets with Egyptians.

The area that I have come to call home during my Egypt journeys is a haven for Expats,
Embassies, diplomatic residencies and foreign companies line the streets of Maadi,
Our church is host to 50 different nations, spanning across the globe.

It's safe to say it's easy to retreat to the comfortable, to disengage from the reality that is Egypt.

Yet step back for a second, open your eyes, and quiet yourself,
Allow yourself to take in the sights and sounds of Cairo,

The vision of the streets crawling with people, struggling to make ends meet; %51 percent of the population lives under the poverty line.

The sounds of car horns and squealing tires; 8,000 people die a year on the roads here, 30,000 plus are injured,

The eerie echo of mosques across the city, signaling a time of prayer; with a mosque on every other corner here it's no wonder they out number schools more then 13:1

Now add in the mix of over 100,000 refugees, fleeing from regions of war and persecution.

Suddenly, the little bubble of comfort seems to burst,
Our 'Second Cups' and 'Pizza Huts' here seem to push the boundaries, almost flaunting a lifestyle that the majority of nation only sees on billboards.

So where is the line?

Is it alright to enjoy the luxuries of our Western world to which we've become so accustom or should we now turn from them with this new insight?

Are the excuses we now make in our heads justified or do they come from denial, guilt and possibly a reluctance to let go?

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Saturday, 2 May 2009

And It Starts

Another sleepless night,
My nemesis, the running toilet, got the better of me last night,
Again refusing to be drown out by the soothing twang of country, or the sounds of gunfire and Transformers,
The toilet succeeded in waking me at all hours of the night,
As the sun broke through the windows, the sounds of the toilet was joined by the honking of horns and the random rhythm of hammers down the street, I submitted and rose from bed reluctantly,

Patience with Egyptian pluming were again tested when I drowsily stood beneath a trickling shower head,
Apparently there was more water pressure in the toilet then the shower,
I laughed and hung my head at misfortune and proceeded to take the world longest shower, and not because I wanted to.

Dragging my bag down the elevator and up to the front desk,
I declared "I'm checking out",
A blank stare greeted me...
"Oh oh, sheeking owt shir?"
'Yeah that will about do it,' I thought slapping the money on the table...once again, legally robbed in Egypt.

The guys that I will be staying with are great,
Renting a little flat across town, they seem to be the only westerners in the area,
Therefore when I shlepped out of the cab with my bag in tow, I became a spectacle.

After retreating inside to some English conversation and laughs, I put my bags away, claimed my floor space, and headed out once again for a cup of coffee and some food,

Traffic puts a spring in your step, it never slows,
Side mirrors come dangerously close as crossing the street becomes a game of real life Frogger,

While my Arabic is getting better, it leaves a lot to be desired,
And while taking a wrong turn on the way home, I stumbled upon some street kids who had found a soccer ball,
After going back and forth for awhile my Arabic was exhausted and I resorted to all I had left,
We organized a game of soccer,

It started out everyone against the lumbering foreigner, but they quickly took pity on me and gave me the smallest ones,
Apparently between the massive height difference on my team, it brought the average down, and with that they were happy,

Me and the ankle biters took a quick lead, and after a few high fives, the other team got fired up,
A few goals, many fouls and lots of laughs later, my team still retained the lead,

Suddenly, an sad sense of reality kicked it,
A group of Sudanese refugee children walked past and something twisted happen with the soccer teams,
The boys turned to me and pointed at the Sudanese then proceeded to act like monkeys, calling after them.
I yelled, telling the boys off, but they proceeded, and as I turned I watched one of the boys throw a rock at the now retreating Sudanese children.
I grabbed his wrist and yelled at him and the other, to stop, calling after the Sudanese children, "Ana Aseiff" (I'm sorry),
But it was too late, the damage was done

I turned now to the Egyptian boys who seemed quite pleased with themselves,
Scolding them in both Arabic and English,
They had no idea, and questioned me as to why I was angry.

It's terrifying, the lack of reason, the lack of understanding,
The sins of the father, a whole generation.

How far is ignorance allowed to proceed?

And while my explanation may only be a drop in the ocean of frustration, and racism,
I pray that God uses it and the ripples continue.

And who knows, maybe we'll have another game of soccer tomorrow, en sha allah.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Friday, 1 May 2009

Keeping Pace

There's something a little nerve racking being the last Westerner to clear Egyptian customs, especially when you have a track record.
Leave it to this clown to pick the slowest moving line, and there you have it.
However, despite the long wait and the many questions, this scruffy looking trouble maker was allowed in.

Cairo hasn't changed, I've been gone almost a year now and it's like I never skipped a beat.

The same crowded, half-complete airport.
The same heated arguments over price which lead to,
The same death defying taxi ride,

Once on the road again, my Arabic was tested, having to direct the once sure taxi driver along the highway and through the back streets of Maadi,

The original plan was to hold up at a coffee shop until the morning at which I would head to church and grovel for a bed, a couch, even some floor space, but when it's 3:30 in the morning, my mood had changed somewhat and I pulled up to a hotel.

Another argument with the taxi driver ensued over price, at the end of which we both parted ways feeling shorted, and I marched inside past a sleeping guard, who woke with a start when I set off the metal detector.

The receptionist was less than pleased when he too was woken just a little after 3:30, and insisted they were full up. However in his sleepy deprived state, he mentioned a room being held by reservation, which I may or may not have per-swayed him to give me the key to.

The room is small, with a hard single bed in the middle.
The ensuite bathroom door does not fully shut, and the toilet constantly runs, but it will serve me well.
I dropped my bags inside, and headed back out.

Somethings never fail and after a short march through the darkened, stray dog infested, Maadi streets, I came to the coffee shops, which were indeed open.
However, the internet provider techs seemed to have gone to sleep, and the long awaited call home, had to be postponed.

A quick visit to the automatic currency converter and a glass of fresh guava juice later, I was back in my room listening to the running toilet, which despite all my efforts, my country music just wouldn't drown out and it was to this that I fell asleep.

Weekends are different here in Egypt, and it just so happens that church is on Friday mornings.
Not a few hours after I had fallen asleep did I find myself in a cab heading to church.

Nostalgia, friends and memories greeted me,
And after two services, a quality message, and two rounds of communion later,
I have a floor to crash on, friends to meet for lunch and a refugee school to paint tomorrow.

Things happen quick here,
I just hope I can keep up.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Pig Fever

With an English twist,
Who would have guessed that the flight landing beside mine today on this gloomy English day, would be, you guessed it, direct from Mexico.
There's something a little uncomfortable about standing in line with a couple dozen people in hospital masks.
That said, after what seemed like a relatively short flight, (I think a fell asleep before take off, and woke up somewhere over Iceland), and a Starbucks, I sit here in Heathrow terminal 5 waiting.
It's a four hour layover and then I'm on my way to the sand soaked land of mosques, pyramids and camels.

Part of me is stoked to head back, there are a lot of good memories in Egypt,
A few friends still remain there and I can't wait to get back into the Sudanese refugee schools,

But there is another part of me that questions why,
My time in Egypt was the most straining, exhausting year of my life, albeit rewarding.
It brought me to God for the first time out of desperation rather than my what my relationship had been in the past.

This is no doubt going to be a healing trip, a somewhat selfish trip, but I know God can still use me none the less.

Whether it's a door closing or an eye opening leg of my trip is yet to be determined but we'll see what God has in store.

For now, it's time to enjoy another flight in cattle class.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

And We're off...

When I say "we're" I really mean me and "off" really meant heading back to Egypt,

I sit now, as the sun slowly sets over the beautiful place that I have call home, staring out the windows at YVR.

The only thing that stand between me and that dust filled place is a trans-Atlantic flight, some very burley security men and the ominous customs line-up.

The real question is, "Will they let me back in?"

Apparently some of my antics were less than appreciated during my last stay, and we're not too positive that the mosque dotted mother land will be as hospitable as last time.

Never the less, I'll stand at the door and knock...we'll see where it gets me.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rhetorically Speaking...

A generation of wanders,
With a heart to do “God’s will”, yet clueless to see where they fit into the grand picture,
Whether a path is right,
Whether their hearts align with God’s,

Born out of good intentions and a love for Christ, yet this hesitance turns to a plague,
Afraid to be led astray,
Afraid to leap without a sign,

As one fails to act, the world continues to spin,

The cords of injustice tighten and the shackles of the oppressed grow ever increasingly heavy,
The glisten of freedom within this life, seems to fade.

The world continues to spin, struggles continue to arise, and without a generation to stand upon Gods promise, the Evil One rejoices,

Is God silent admits the strife,
Why does He not point the chosen path?
We need not a booming voice, but only a clear sign to show us “what is right”

Thousands of callings,
Thousands of paths,
Each different, each diverging,

‘You are the God that created us,
You know us better than we know ourselves,
“I know the plans I have for you,” you said,
Just show us the way!’

As urgency arises, we call out in desperation,
We know the way of the world,
We want to stand for you Lord,
We just need only to know where…and how

We are fearfully and wonderfully made,
Yet fearful to look inside ourselves,

Could it be the answer lies with us?
Could it be that God doesn’t have anything inparticular?

What would it look like to follow a path that we want,
Would it be wrong?
Would it be self-indulgence?