My heart is burning within me as I begin to write this article!
One month from today, I plan to be on my way back to Egypt! Since visiting that country last year, my heart, life, perspective, ministry, and passion has never been the same. I remember telling the congregation in Shousha "I have fallen in love with Egypt!". Little did I know how true that was.
After returning from Egypt, last year, I was given numerous opportunities to share my experiences with many audiences - large and small. I was passionate about it, each time I spoke. During this time, I decided to proceed with my education, and completed the required courses to obtain ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. My calling to preach, and to reach the lost became stronger and stronger. I literally flew through my courses, and completed all of the steps to get my ministerial license in just a few months! I'm not sure why I felt such urgency, or if I was just bored, but I enjoyed every second of each course - feeling the entire time that it was preparation for opportunities for ministry.
During the summer, I was privileged to stay with my daughter, Sarah, in Spokane Valley, as she was preparing to give birth to her first child, Gibson. I attended her church with my other daughter, Bekah, while I was there. This particular Sunday, the church had a guest missionary, from Africa. He was very dynamic, and enjoyable to listen to. While he was speaking, he simply made a statement in a story he was telling, about some Arab muslims coming into a service. Right then, my heart felt like it literally flipped over in my chest - simultaneously shouting to me "those are my people!". I began to cry. I tried to hold back the tears, as I was completely uncertain as to why I was crying. Bekah turned to me and asked, "What's wrong, mom?". I wasn't sure how to respond then, and I am still uncertain as to how to respond.
During my time there- as I was diligently working on my Bible courses - I was working on the "History" of the Assemblies of God. This course included information on Lilian Trasher, one of the A/G's first missionaries. I had heard her name many times, however for some strange reason, I didn't know anything else about her. Mainly, was the fact that she was a Missionary to Egypt! Just south of where I was! She had felt a call to missions as a young lady, but didn't know where. Through a series of unusual events, God led her to Egypt. Long story short, she started the "Lilian Trasher Orphanage". This is one of the world's largest orphanages - housing over 650 widows and orphans. I spent the next several days researching Miss Trasher, and weeping as I read about Egypt, and her call there. I couldn't stop reading... researching... crying... praying... yearning. What was this all about? I had no idea.
I tried to push all of these feelings aside as just emotions from having gone on a missions trip. I figured this must happen to everyone that has gone on a missions trip, right? Well, I researched that too. I asked numerous people, who had gone on trips before, if they had those same passionate feelings about the place they had gone. All expressed they had felt a warmth, and a loving emotion for these places, but not the way I had described how I was feeling. Now, understand that I was called to the ministry when I was eleven years old, and I really am familiar with hearing God's voice within a "calling". So I knew, deep inside, that is what I was feeling.
Now came the bigger questions: Why me? How? When? The answers to those are still unfolding.
I guess because my heart was so open to those people, that God simply poured His love for them inside me!
How and When?
We're not sure yet, but I'm taking opportunities as they come. It may just be a few short trips here and there, and my sharing the need with people here. It may be someday when we're retired. It may be from here, and corresponding with people there. I really have no idea, but I know that God is much more creative than I am!
For now, I am preparing, with anticipation, for my upcoming trip. I've learned some Arabic, including some verses about the love of Jesus. Something that is rarely heard there.
Although we realize the hesitations many people have in the idea of my traveling to Egypt in light of the recent events there, we feel like this is God's timing. We had prayed for God to break down strongholds in that country, and for God to bring revival there. We feel that this time may be a small window of opportunity for exactly that to happen.
We also realize a lot of people would look at all of this and wonder: "Hmm... she can't be called to Egypt - she has family here. A church here. Grandchildren here. Friends here. People who need her... here." I admit, I don't understand how this will all work. I am realizing more and more, however, that God doesn't think like I do... or like YOU do. He often does things that go WAY beyond MY understanding.
I DO know, however, that when He called us years ago, that we told Him we would serve Him wherever, however, and whenever He wanted us to. Everything else is just details.