|at my grandma's house for Christmas|
Since Maxwell Adventist Academy has only one long break during the school year, I was blessed to spend Christmas/ birthday in Egypt (home). Wow, just remembering how I felt as the plane was landed in Cairo airport, as I was being greeted, “welcome home.” by the workers I encountered, and as I ran to meet my parents and best friends who were waiting for me gives me Goosebumps. My first two weeks were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. School was still going on at NUA (Nile Union Academy) and I enjoyed hanging out with some of the students I went to school with. I even got to teach three classes for missionaries who had to go home early for Christmas break. It was AWESOME!
|at one of the soccer stadiums in Cairo|
All was well until Jan 1, 2011 around 12:15 am. There was bombing in Alexandria, in front of one of the Coptic Churches. As the priest was finishing his last prayers for the New Year few of the hundreds who were attending the service decided to leave few minutes early before everyone crowds at the gate. About five minutes after they left, a very loud boom followed by loud noises of people screaming and weeping shook the whole church building. When everyone started rushing to the gate to see what was happening, all that they could see was a damaged car and pieces of human meat everywhere. About 22 youth/ adults died and double the amount were in different hospitals in dangerous conditions. After all the police investigate, the newspaper concluded that the horrible crime was terrorist attach.
Not too long ago, Jan 6 (the Egyptian Christmas eve), 2010 six young men got shot as they were coming out of the church after the Christmas Eve program in Naga Hammadi (one of the Egyptian villages). Before even a year has passed, Christians had facing another heartbreak.
There was a sad spirit among all the Christians in Egypt. As it is our tradition to buy new clothes for Christmas, most of them decided not to and wore black clothes instead. All students at the academy were furious. Some of them were talking to me about what happened and all that they kept repeating was that they HATE whoever did this crime. Egyptian channels kept on posting news about the accident and the new news that police was able to investigate. One of the Christian Egyptian channels interviewed some of the families in Alexandria that could not find dead bodies to their own relatives. I would not be able to forget the mourning I watched that a grandma had over her lost daughter, son in-law, and grandchildren. “Why would people do such a thing? Can’t they see all the heartache they’re causing to these innocent people? If I encounter one of these guilty people, how can I deal with them?” I was thinking. One of Christian songs that were made just for these events says, “We can hold guns and kill you, but we won’t because our Christ taught us to love you.” This song made me think a lot.
Different people speak about love often, as if it’s an easy process. During my break in Egypt and especially after this incident I realized how hard it is to love those who hurt and kill the closest people to you. It was very hard for all the Egyptians to come to the point that all that they could do was to only love and keep loving and loving, but by the help of all the pastors and the sermons on TV most of them were able to come to that point.
All that I was thinking of was, “I wish I was able to stand somewhere and give a long speech and say to all those who did this horrible crime that they are not making God happy by killing His own children” But there was something different about how I felt. Despite of all my heartache, I could sense deep love for those who did this crime. I actually felt sorry for them and prayed that God will forgive them. It was a love that no human power can ever give. It was the kind of love that only God could put in my heart. It the same kind of love that pushed Jesus to pray for those who killed him and say ”Forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34. Yes my heart was aching but it wasn’t full of hatred. “So what are we suppose to do to them?” some of the NUA students asked. “Keep loving them and pray that someday they’ll understand.” I answered.
When I came back to Maxwell, as I was having supper with some of the students, one of the girls, Bethany, asked me,”Miss Germeen, if I would ask you of the one thing that is so essential in this life, what would you say?” As she asked this question my mind traveled thousands miles away and I was able to picture all the craziness that Egyptians went though and I answered, “ LOVE”.