There were nine of us from YWAM staying at the Octopus in Dahab Egypt: David, Ian, Matthew, Becky, Rachel, Sara, Annie, Shannon, and me. This is the season of Ramadan and is something that all Muslim people do. For one month, adults abstain from food and beverage every day from 2 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. No food, no water. This is very difficult., and the temperature is extremely hot. Ian and I both, after being invited by Muhammad– the manager of the Octopus Hotel, observed Ramadan for one day. No eating or drinking. In the faces of the people we meet you can visibly see the stress this places on their bodies. I call it “Ramadan-brain.” People are not able to focus, they are tired, and a weee bit grumpy.
The morning of the day I decided to fast I woke up, and honestly? I did not want to fast. Did not want to do it. I prayed. And? I felt God was encouraging me to fast, so I did. There was a lot of grace on me that day, and I was able to go swimming and mostly rest. This is not the case for the majority of the people practicing Ramadan, as many have no choice but to continue working.
After the sun set I was invited to join Muhammad and the hotel staff for a tasty Egyptian dinner. Being able to sit with them, talk with them, and just be a part of their culture was really special. Interactions like this open up additional opportunities to have more conversations and results in simultaneous learning.
A few nights later I sat down with Muhammad and we talked about traveling. I shared that it was Jesus who has enabled me to travel. Initially he thought this was quite dumb, but this enabled me to share about what I had been doing on these travels. From bar outreaches in Thailand, teaching English, helping plant rice on a farm in Laos, to dramas performed in India. We spent about an hour talking about the sex trade industry, and the opportunities organizations are creating for alternative work enviornments through apprecticeships and training and jobs. God always gives you opportunities to share with others. Sometimes its as simple as a smile, or giving a peice of candy to a child, and sometimes it is through words. I’m learning more to seize those opportunities.
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