As news blared over the airwaves that a wildfire had advanced to within four miles of our house, I packed my bags to fly to Cairo. (Seventeen years, two months, and three days earlier another fire had burned our house to the ground. My family was out of the country that time, too.) My husband Dan canceled his plans to go to Egypt with me and stayed home to evacuate the house. I went ahead because I had to. A book deadline loomed and the people I needed to interview in order to complete it were waiting for me.
All alone in Cairo, in the midst of 20 million people, I seemed to be the only woman walking the streets without an escort. Crossing the streets was like sprinting across a freeway… no such thing as crosswalks or lights. Cars had the right of way, and drivers were not the least bit hesitant to exercise it. I wondered: Should I feel comforted or threatened by the machine gun-armed soldiers on every corner?
On my last night in Cairo I sat in a smoky lounge with three Egyptian Coptic Christians, two of whom spoke only Arabic. We were joined by a Christian couple from Perth, Australia, who I had met earlier after I heard them praying over their meal. A distraught fellow from Kenya sat with us and tearfully, in halting English, asked us to pray with him because a frighteningly aggressive group was trying to take over his orphanage for AIDS children and he had no idea what to do. For two hours, the seven of us prayed together in three languages. Seven of us at a table with eight chairs: “One chair for Jesus to be with us,” the man from Kenya said.
He most certainly was.
THE FAMILY OF GOD… PRICELESS
“May our lives be illuminated by the steady radiance renewed daily of a wonder – the source of which is beyond reason.”