The phone call came late, on the night of January 30, telling us to pack one bag each and be outside of the building by 6am. We hadn’t gotten our household shipment in so we packed the few possessions we thought were too important to leave behind and we prepared to leave our house. We didn’t know what to expect the next day but we were told to be ready and we were.
I’ve been studying the book of Exodus in a Bible study at our church. I think it’s amazing when someone shares the way God revealed His Word to them it is enlightening to me as well, no matter how many times I read the Bible. In Exodus Moses is preparing the Hebrews for their evacuation out of Egypt (sort of ironic, right?). God is giving final instructions about the way the Hebrews are to prepare for their last meal (Passover).
“‘This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.’” Exodus 12:11 (NIV)
The Hebrews are given clear instructions to be on the ready. That night the “Angel of Death” was going to pass through Egypt killing every firstborn child. At some point that night Pharaoh, upon hearing the screams echoing through his city, would force the Hebrews to leave, and God wanted them ready.
After 72 hours of gunfire, teargas, and being locked-down in our home-I was ready. This was not what I expected of my first overseas assignment. This was not the experience I wanted my family to have. This was not where I wanted to be.
“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5.
God heard my cries during those long hours and our rescue was coming for us on the morning of January 31. I followed the instructions and had my family ready to go the next day.
If you have ever watched those movies about the last days of the world, or the end of the world you might have a little understanding of what the next 24 hours were like for our family. Our family woke up early the next morning and had our bags downstairs, the house cleaned and locked up and we waiting anxiously for the van to pick us up. The streets were quiet that morning. The only people up were the boabs (pronounced bow-abs, the men who watch our building) and a few other residents that were still keeping watch for possible looters lurking in the neighborhood. Every once in a while we could see an embassy vehicle drive around picking up other families but they weren’t coming to get us.
The morning slowly turned into afternoon and after several calls we couldn’t get confirmation that anyone was on their way to pick us up. We were ready-but they were not. In those movies you see people scared and screaming for someone to stop and save them. We were not at that point yet, but we never left the front stoop for fear of missing the van. As soon as we saw another van drive close enough several of the men (my husband included) stood in the middle of the road and stop the van. We piled three families into that van and we began our journey out of Egypt.