I'm having trouble posting pictures right now, so just go to my Egypt pictures here if you would like to see them. Now I'll attempt to summarize the trip for you.
Overall, the trip was a great experience. There was not a whole lot of "doing" that is associated with most mission trips. Our main objective in going over was to further relationships with our partner church (Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church) as well as gain first hand knowledge of the influence of Islam in the Arab world. See the Egypt section here for more info on Kasr Church.
After our sight seeing in Cairo, we traveled south to a conference put on by Kasr. That was a very beneficial time. We heard from many speakers about Islam and missions. And there was about a 4 hour period that made the trip for me. In that time we heard from two different people who spoke truth about what Islam is really all about. After hearing from them, I came away realizing more clearly how dark, dangerous, and corrupt Islam really is. We also heard how sharing the Truth with Muslims looks a little different than with people with other worldviews, namely more relationship based and logic driven.
Probably the hardest barrier for the Muslim to overcome is the conjoining of his faith with his ethnicity and culture. To be Arab is to be Muslim and vice versa in their eyes. Once you get past this, the persecution and alienation from their friends and family is terrible. Many will get beaten and/or turned in to the secret police by their own flesh and blood. It's really amazing that Muslims are still turning to Christ even through all of this. And those that do persevere through it all really do seem stronger for it. It seems as though James (1:2-4) and Paul (Rom. 5:3-5) were right. Seeing their courage really challenges me in how I live out my faith here in the States, as an awkward conversation is the most I have to fear. Though I fear it a lot!
We also spent some time in some very poor areas of Cairo. In these places the streets are lined with garbage and the average annual salary per household is $600. The people that live in these areas have never known any different and are not really allowed to leave. They are considered unclean by the Muslims (because they work with pigs). It was a very sad thing to witness.
I might decide to write some more later. Thanks again to all who prayed for me and supported me financially. It was a great experience for me to have. The challenge now is to continue to live with the perspective of global redemption that God has in mind. Join with me in praying for the darkness to be lifted in the Arab world, that the eyes of their hearts would be able to see the Truth and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.