Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Helipolis Community Church and Carrefour

Sunday night Teri and I decided to check out a new church—Heliopolis Community Church (HCC) in Helipolis. We took the tram during the Iftar when the streets were dead and only a few other passengers were heading home. It was obvious the conductor also wanted to get home and eat because we were cruising so fast that we nearly fell off the seats or out the window! Teri actually had to move to her own seat because we were going Boing! Boing! Boing! so much we were tipping over and falling into each other. We looked like the buoys in lakes after a speed boat passes by and they are thrashed all around while desperately holding onto their foundation. We ended up getting totally lost in Heliopolis but thanks to the traveling cell phone we called up a church member and friend, Nancy Collins, and she graciously picked us up and brought us to church.
Being at HCC was wonderful! People actually sang to the Lord! I even knew some of the hymns, such as The Church’s One Foundation. The congregation was a mixture of Egyptians and Westerns who totally welcomed us into their community. During the service they even had us stand up and introduce ourselves and then they prayed for us. Actually, prayed three times during the service, only after the congregation discussed issues to pray about such as specific marriages, health-related issues, Sudanese issues, and individuals members. The current topic is The Purpose Driven Life book and the sermon was based on “Part 3” of the series—including sermon outline notes and fill in the blank sections! Being there made me think of St. Luke’s and realizing how much I miss my home church community. It’s a beautiful and powerful thing to belong to a group of people who worship the same Lord and love one another. That’s a no-brainer of course, but Sunday night I recognized the void in my life without that community and really missed it.You know you are a Westerner when you look forward to a trip to Carrefour! For the past three weeks we have been looking forward to this day when we’d go to the huge supermarket/Walmart-type store called Carrefour. The day finally arrived yesterday and it was not a disappointment! Nancy Collins picked us up at RCG and drove us to the desert edge in order to dip our feet into this truly western/Egyptian experience. Of course, we traveled during Iftar so the streets were nearly empty—when a bustling/hustling/noisy city of 22 million nearly shuts down for ½ hour it’s surreal to say the least. Carrefour is HUGE, esp. in Egyptian standards—like a Super Target size. Immediately the long, big aisles, bright overhead lighting, and incredible cleanliness and organization stopped us in our tracks. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore! It was a heyday in there! I found zip lock baggies (whoo-hoo!) and frozen peas (funny what you find extraordinarily appealing when you are out of the country) and a box of 12 bars of Galaxy chocolate. The special item was a container of fresh apricot juice—so good! We also found a blow drier to work in Egyptian sockets. Although Carrefour did not have chocolate chips, Doritos, or Wheaties, I almost felt like I could have been home. Then again, it only takes a moment of walking down an aisle stacked with grape leaves in a jar or seeing cow carcasses being stripped in the deli section for you to remember you’re in Egypt. Also, the sweets/bakery section is very different than America. I can’t really describe Egyptian desserts other than to say they are really dry and make you wish for homemade chocolate chip cookies or a moist yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Or DQ…or…okay, I’m going to drive myself crazy.


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