Four weeks ago, I began to tell of my experience going to Egypt on mission trip for the first time and what the Lord revealed to me during that adventure. In my previous post, I shared my experiences in the first village I visited which was the third day of my mission trip. Let me tell you what happened next.
Reflecting at Base Camp
When all the work was done at the village, we headed back to base camp. Our home away from home was a hotel in the city. The hotel was situated along the Nile River. I had heard many stories about this mighty river and I felt honored to actually see it for the first time.
Planning for the Heat
We had dinner along river, but the heat of the day had caused me to become dehydrated and I suffered an unbearable headache. I was blessed that members of the team I was on had Advil with them and that helped with the pain. Nevertheless I learned an important lesson on that first day in the villages that I should have known before I ever arrived in Egypt: while in a desert, drink lots of water.
How often does it happen that when we plan to do an activity, we don’t plan for every contingency? A lot of that I believe is the result of our arrogance, believing that we don’t need that particular element because we feel we are strong enough without it. It is very humbling when it turns out that we did needed the thing we did without and we suffer the consequences for our pride.
Reflecting on Rural Life
As the day came to a close, I considered the things that I saw in the villages. The first thing that hit me when I was in that environment was the smell. It brought back memories of my Uncle’s farm in New Mexico. The aroma of farm animals along with their waste was all over the area.
The smell wasn’t bothersome to me, in fact, I found it pleasant in a unique sort of way. It brought back memories of simpler times, before the rise of concrete and manicured cities. Back to a time where people had to work hard in order to put food on the table.
Being a city dweller, I believe I took for granted the ease I have in acquiring the things that I need to survive. If I need food or clothing, all I needed to do was go to the grocery store and buy them. Never once did I consider the hard work that was involved to bring those items to the store. Being in that village was a humbling experience and put everything into perspective.
I have never met such kind-hearted souls in all my life. When we came to each house in the village, the families showed us great hospitality. Many had never seen an American before and to have a group of them come to visit them was a real treat to them.
I too felt extremely honored to spend time with such amazing people. It struck me how Egyptian families had the same struggles as families in America do. There were students trying to pass exams and becoming distressed when they fail and stressing out when they study. Also there were single men and women trying to find their significant others and asking why it is that they have not found the “one”. These were only a few of the similarities that I saw and reminds me that such problems are universal to all people.
It was a challenge not to be humbled by the poverty that these people lived in. Even though they were destitute, that didn’t affect their demeanor towards others. Back home I would go out to eat and buy things at the store on a whim and become upset when I have no more money. The time I spent in Egypt reminded me that I needed to be content with what I got instead of striving for more; there a lot more people who make do with far less.