I had no idea what to expect coming to Egypt. I knew very little about the country itself except that the Pharaohs ruled there, the Pyramids stand there, and Moses led the Hebrews out of there.
The city of Cairo boasts more than 24 million people. It is hard to understand what a city with so many people might look like unless you have personally experienced such a place yourself. But in a city with so many people I felt completely alone. I still cried at night thinking that I was never going to get used to this place. I prayed daily asking God for wisdom and guidance and understanding. I questioned Him. Why, why did you send my family here God? Why am I here? I was afraid I was not going to be able to do this.
Being in the military we move frequently and I will be honest that finding a church home, while an important task, is not always the first thing I take care of. But for some reason it became priority one here in Egypt. As often as I could I would ask other expatriates if they went to church and where. I felt like the longer I was away from the church the farther I was away from God and that loneliness scared me.
My husband became fearful too. He was afraid he asked too much of me. He started questioning whether it was a good idea for our family to come to Egypt. True, it was not an ideal overseas assignment for a family’s first experience abroad, but we felt that God led us here, right? Then why was I having such a hard time accepting this change? In a country with so many people I felt lonely and worst of all I felt very far away from God.
An answer to prayers came one night when my husband came home excitedly saying that we had been invited to dinner by one of his co-workers. The news was exciting because we definitely needed a home-cooked meal, but more than that we needed fellowship. The dinner was everything we could have hoped for and more. From the homemade lasagna and fresh, baked apple pie it not only filled our stomachs it also warmed our hearts. This family opened up their home to us, strangers, and made us feel welcomed.
It reminded me of Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” I doubt this family ever knew how much their invitation meant to me at the time. My fear and loneliness made me thirsty for companionship, hungry for friendship and they fed me.
We were so thankful for the invitation and we knew these people would become dear friends of ours, and they are. God answered a prayer for me that night, providing me with nourishment for my heart. Now what I needed was nourishment for my soul. God answered that through these new friends of ours too. Before we left their house that night they invited us to church!