Waking up in Egypt, the first thought to cross my mind is how unreal it is that I am here. I thank God in remembrance of everyone and everything that has culminated in our team’s time here.
The next thought is what will possibly happen on our third day here with no campers and a lot of work to do before they arrive the next day. The first day here, I randomly stepped forward when Shady, the camp director, asked for two volunteers mid-afternoon. He led me and Anna Snell, a returning coach, to five wooden chests that needed painting and fun designs. We sat down and worked despite the triple digit weather, and painting has been my main activity since then.
Teepee tents, tarps, booths, dunk tapes, and more random items all came across my paintbrush in bright colors of blue, green, purple, pink, yellow, etc. Egypt has been exactly like that to me: painting in the most spectacular colors that steal your attention and transform even boring doors into vibrant works of art.
Today consisted of waking up early, playing games all morning in a relentless one hundred and ten degree climate, catching the final minute of an emotional Arabic prayer session, then painting in that same blistering heat.
Painting has provided me quality time with the Egyptian counselors, who are all around college age, speak impeccable English, and are the friendliest humans ever to exist. I bonded with one counselor about our mutual love of winter, another tricked me into learning a dirty word in Arabic, and all taught me so much about life in Egypt. Going into this trip, I anticipated sunburns, fear, and disappointment. I have encountered the opposite with no sunburn yet despite the heat, feeling incredibly safe everywhere, and every aspect of this country from the air to the sand largely exceeding every expectation.
After painting, we had lunch at two o’clock pm, took a break, and then played games with the team until dinner. After dinner, our incredible friend Shahir played on his guitar a Grammy-worthy cover of Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown band ?? plus a couple of songs of equal caliber in Arabic that were beautifully translated as he sang.
As I left for the last thing on our agenda for the day (a meeting from ten pm to midnight), an Egyptian counsellor named Gabby and I chatted for a few minutes, but in that short time, I felt the weight of the Holy Spirit. We shared our excitement over the new campers and she explained that what happens here truly changes lives, a truth the counselors know so deeply that their prayers times are filled with tears and holding each other. Later, Shady would go on to elaborate about the broken family lives and societal pressures faced by the campers coming from a culture with a high divorce rate and increasingly young age for drug use. In that moment, I understood why I had signed up for this trip that my Young Life leader offhandedly mentioned to me in February.
Coming from a broken home myself with a lot of intense family issues, I felt such a connection to these campers coming tomorrow. I want to yell at the top of my lungs how redeemable the truth of Jesus is to all who feel distant, how life-giving the will of God is. These next few days will be difficult and exhausting, but God is calling this team deeper to explore how passionate His love for the nations, for every child in Cairo.
Thank you so much for all of the support so far, and I hope that everyone reading this has a fantastic day. I guarantee you that I am on either the other side of the globe or at the same camp as you smiling constantly.
Thank you for making it this far in my thoughts, which is a scary place to be 99% of the time, so congratulations on your accomplishment.
Having a great time,