Memories of Place

During our recent trip to Egypt, the boys and I visited our old apartment. The first floor apartment served after our departure as the high school section of our boys’ school, but after they outgrew the flat, it became an office for an engineering firm with a mission to serve the Christian communities of the region. Since I had two engineers with me, we decided to visit.

The first thing that struck us as we entered the building was that the mailbox for the flat still contained the name of my husband. I took a deep breath and then looked up the few steps at the door…remembered that Raouf had changed the two narrow doors into one wider, solid wood door. I’d forgotten that until I saw it once again and immediately remembered our trip to another part of the city that contained lots of wood, carpenters and doors. I did a lot of “wood” shopping with that man. We knocked on the door.

A nice Egyptian man answered, and we told him who we were and that we had heard about the director of the company from a friend. “Was he in?” I asked. “Oh, sure, come on in.” The door opened wide to “our” house; the same antique tile flooring that everyone who entered that flat loved. Gone was the privacy wall Raouf had built to give us a bit of a foyer and allow us to put a dining room table in the large center room: gone was our furniture, but not our memories.

We met Steve, who immediately said: “Oh, I’ve heard so much about you and your husband. We only recently took his name off the door.” Seven years, and his name had only recently been taken off the door — Raouf had left his mark. Steve immediately said, I’m sure you’d love to see how your house is used now; and he proceeded to take us from room to room, asking me what each room used to be, as we looked at their current state in “office form.” When we looked at the kitchen, we passed the foldout table Raouf built for the boys to eat breakfast on. They still use it — of course, engineers love anything practical. Another touch.

We ended up in his office, which happened to have been “our” office. As I sat down in a chair I looked up — my curtains were still hanging above the window. I made every curtain in that house, and it was funny to see them in that of a stranger. We had a wonderful conversation with him, hearing about their work in the region, but I was only half listening as I drank in the memories of “place”. So many people had been in that home, listened to the Gospel, eaten and found fellowship, studied God’s Word, laughed and cried. Children were raised there, lives lived.

So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided. (Gen. 22:14)… So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. (Gen. 32:30)… Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel (Gen. 35:15).

So Carol looked up at her curtains and called that place BLESSED BY GOD’S PRESENCE, because God had done great things in that Egyptian home. (Egypt, 2016).

Grace and Peace


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