for not writing last week! I was very busy with work for my London-based
software company. I had to work loads of hours to send a program
back via E-Mail on Sunday, then I took Monday and Tuesday off
to have time with Alison and Hannah.
also managed to send off our Christmas cards and next newsletter.
Since we were sending out cards from here anyway we decided to
put our "cautious" newsletter in with it too- so this is one less
thing for you to do. We figured that you'd probably be busy anyway
and appreciate one less thing to do, right?! Our continued thanks
go to you both for sending out the others, we always appreciate
the work that you do.
surprising thing about sending out the Christmas cards from here
is that it is cheaper than sending them in Britain. Here we pay
the equivalent of about 18 pence to send them to Britain which
is cheaper than the second class postage in Britain.
it certainly doesn't feel like December; I've started to wear
my leather jacket but it gets far too hot when I'm walking outside
in the sun, we've had to start using the quilt at night though.
I asked someone living here when it starts to get cold, he told
me that this is the time of year and it IS cold! Hmmm, OK I don't
think that I've fully acclimatised! All of the Egyptians are wearing
jumpers and coats but to me it still feels like late September
weather in Britain without the rain. My Arabic teacher told me
that it is actually quite warm for this time of year so it looks
like we'll just have to wait and see how cold it will really get.
One thing is certain though- it's a dead cert that it won't be
a white Christmas.
started to feel ill today, and she's in bed with a temperature.
There's a nasty bug going around at the moment and I think she
must have it- I hope that I don't get it because I have too much
surprised to see lots of Christmas decorations and stuff in many
shops here. Many Christians living here will buy trees and decorations
and celebrate Christmas like the people in the West. There are
some main differences here though- firstly Christmas is actually
celebrated according to the Coptic Church's Calendar, ie 7th January,
secondly it is not heavily commercialised. We have decided to
spend Christmas together as a family with a traditional meal,
perhaps. We've been warned that turkeys are quite expensive to
buy (we have some American friends who wanted one for their Thanksgiving
festival) so we might just have to make do with a large chicken
remember thinking when I was a child that Christmas must be boring
for adults because they don't get as many presents as children.
Now I realise that the pleasure really is in seeing the children
enjoying themselves . . . mind you I'm going to make sure that
Hannah's going to get some things that I can play with too (there
was a nice music keyboard that I saw in the toy shop . . . )
still being kept busy speaking engagements. Yesterday I lead the
singing and some of the speaking part of a Family morning service
(Friday is the normal day of meeting here, don't forget). It was
quite strange because it was to an English speaking audience and
I didn't need to be translated- I'm so used to speaking in short
sentences and waiting for the translation before proceeding! Later
on in the afternoon I was at the second biggest Egyptian congregation
in the whole of Egypt for this "type" of congregation. I was speaking
to the older half of the children's group with about 70 children
present. I'm continually amazed by the teaching methods here and
the reliance on memorisation. At the moment this group of children
are being encouraged to memorise 10 psalms and recite them at
the front. While I was present one girl recited a psalm- I'm not
sure which one it was (in Arabic of course) but I know that it
wasn't one of the short ones! Even more amazing when you realise
that they must memorise from a very old and difficult translation.
my teaching methods are more to so with application and re-telling
stories in a different way the children are always attentive because
what I say is often new to them. If I ask a question to do with
the facts of a story nearly all of the children will put up their
hands because they know the answer; but ask as question like "Why
was this story told?", or "What does it mean for us today?" they
find it much more difficult.
Friday I will be helping at an event to raise money for an orphanage
at the other side of the city called "Helwan". I've been to this
orphanage before (where I lost 20 pounds, remember!) so this time
I'm going to be extra careful with everything that I do!
write my next update sometime after that,
all from us for now,
Alison & Hannah
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