I will spread out a couple of blogs over the next week.
We had a GREAT time!
We have now been in Egypt for almost 5 days and I am ready to make a few observations;
- (Nearly) every Egyptian person we have come across has been friendly. As we had been warned there are many people at the Pyramids who try anything to make money. They will offer to take your picture for you and then not give you your camera back until you pay them for it! But even when doing this they are friendly, they have a smile on their face almost as if it is a game. And for those of you wondering we have not felt unsafe for a second. We have Egyptian hosts throughout our time and aren’t being naive but have felt totally at ease.
- I am thoroughly impressed with the Kids Games Camps. The property is beautiful and well designed. The staff are committed and full of joy. I love what the camp is all about. These are my words not theirs- but in my observation it is a slow sustained commitment to gain trust and respect between the Christian community and the Muslim community. This may take generations. It certainly isn’t bait and switch. Parents know that they are sending their kids to a camp run by Christians and the camp respects where kids are coming from. The parents love that their kids come home having learned important character lessons, they come back full of joy and love. They show respect to their parents, help around the house etc etc. I believe that when the scriptures say we have been given a ministry of reconciliation this means both between us and God and between groups of people. This camp is doing that.
- The camp is run almost entirely by volunteers who are committed to the cause and are loving kids out of their love of Christ just like a Young Life camp back home. This includes professionals who are taking a week off of work, high school and university students volunteering for long periods of the summer.
- Joy is a universal language and joy is contagious.
- A pleasant surprise was finding out that Emily Owen lives in Cairo and we met up for breakfast. Emily and her family were involved with Young Life in Cedar Falls, Iowa when I was in college.
- Nearly every kid and staff at the camp speaks both Arabic and English. From my understanding most middle and upper class Egyptian people speak both Arabic and English. Many of the kids at the camp (10-12 year olds) speak 3 languages.
- Learning multiple languages feels like humility to me
- The need to learn multiple languages reflects a lack of power, “I have to play by your rules because you have the power.”
- The lack of learning other languages (Like me) feels like a reflection of the feeling of power, “You can choose to play by my rules or we won’t play together and frankly either is fine with me.”
The six of us are having a great time together. We spend almost all of our time together and have become good friends with many of the other volunteers at the camp. We are a quirky group that didn’t know each other well before we came. It is fun to see 1 Corinthians 12 (below) played out on both a macro level and micro level. On a micro level the six of us each bring unique gifts to this trip and we are learning to embrace and appreciate each person’s gifts including our own. On a macro level I am blessed by seeing people around the world play their own unique role in the Kingdom of God.
1Cor. 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.