After spending one year in Zambia and travelling throughout Southern Africa for two and a half months it is nice to be in our home town of Spokane, Washington. Our last stop, prior to flying back to the US, was Egypt where spent four days in Cairo, with Ben and Emily Robinson. Ben is a PCUSA minister working at an Anglican Church in Cairo while Emily is a nurse at the American Embassy. It was great to be with friends and to see their life and ministry in Cairo. We were also thankful to have local hosts to show us around Cairo, a massive city of 20 million people. We first went to Coptic Cairo and visited some of the oldest churches in the world. With Ben and Emily, we wandered the old narrow streets of Islamic Cairo and climbed to the top of several minarets. These beautiful structures were fun to explore and provided incredible views of the city. We also visited the Egyptian Museum, the famous pyramids of Giza as well as the Sakkara and Dashur pyramids.
From Cairo, we traveled six hours to the Sinai Peninsula and climbed Mt. Sinai. At 1:00 p.m., we began our hike up the old pilgrimage trail and along the way visited a 4th century hermit cave and church. At about 5:00 p.m., we arrived at Elijah’s Basin, our camp site about 40 minutes from the top of Mt. Sinai. We had a delicious fire side dinner under the stars and went to bed at 8:00 p.m. We woke up at 4:30 a.m. and started our hike to the summit, along with hundreds of other people also making there way to the top. The sun rose at about 6:00 a.m. and we enjoyed a beautiful morning in the presence of God. There are debates as to if this mountain is the actual Mt. Sinai spoken of in the Old Testament, but regardless we felt blessed to be in the same area that Moses and the Israelites encountered God’s presence thousands of years ago. After descending Mt. Sinai, down the steps of repentance (3000 steps), we took a tour of oldest working Christian monastery, St. Catherines. Built in the 6th century, St Catherines was constructed around the supposed site of the burning bush and also contained the Sinaticus, one of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the Bible.
The last day and a half of our trip was spent relaxing on the beach next to the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh. As I sit at my dad’s house in Spokane, Washington looking out to about four inches of snow it is hard to believe that I was snorkeling in the Red Sea just one week ago. k
Spokane is a familiar place with familiar faces, so we haven’t yet experienced too much of the “cultural shock” that is expected. However, here are a few “shocking” observations from the past week. It’s cold! (13 degrees at 3:00pm); seeing a drinking fountain in the airport; not sleeping under a mosquito net; driving on the right hand side of the road; not using a plug in adapter for our electronics; in a hotel room in Seattle I found myself looking around for bugs and cockroaches; a local news story about a lady rescuing ferrets seemed a bit bizarre!
We are so happy to be back home with our friends and family in Spokane, with whom we will celebrate Thanksgiving. We are also looking forward to next week when we’ll see our friends at MAPC, in New York. This Thanksgiving we are ever grateful for the year we spent in Zambia and for the last two and a half months we spent travelling throughout Southern Africa. We had an incredible trip and we will continue to reflect on this experience for the rest of our lives (our 15,000 pictures will help with this process). Thank you all for all of your prayers and encouragement and we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.