Articles

Hearing God Saved My Life: A True Story of an American Being Stuck in Egypt During the January 2011 Revolution
 

 *Hearing God saved my life*

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* A true story of an American’s experience in Egypt during the
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* January 2011 revolution*

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I would like to share a small portion of my experience as an American* *
believer who was visiting Egypt during the recent historic revolution. On
January 24th 2011, I boarded a plane for a pre-planned business trip to
Egypt. I was excited as this was my first visit Egypt and was totally
unaware of the planned protests that began Jan 25th.* * I was there to
connect with my business partner and the Cairo House of Prayer.

My arrival day was relatively uneventful as the demonstration of the people
petitioning for the resignation of the current president and his
administration had begun merely as a celebration of change. However, there
was a feeling of tension in the air because this type of activity had never
before occurred in the history of Egypt and no one knew what to expect
next.

As the days progressed, the situation became more complex and
dangerous. The hostility between the protestors and the police increased.
Moment by moment, it was clear that normalcy was being replaced by panic and
uncertainty. Communications were shutting down and the streets of Egypt,
known to be relatively safe, became the venue where the people became the
enforcers of law in order to protect themselves and their families.

Constant showdowns between law abiding citizens and those determined to
capitalize on the absence of authority spread across the city. As the
events continued to unfold, I became keenly aware that the presence of the
Lord was upon me and His peace that is beyond my understanding was washing
over me. I am confident this was the result of those I sensed were praying
for my safety.

As unrest increased, it became necessary for me to move from place to place
with my Egyptian friend who did his best to keep me informed of what was
going on around me. I did not understand the language which was a great
hindrance to me in discerning whether I should be alarmed or relaxed in many
situations. I began to recognize the places I had just been to as the places
I was seeing on TV where major confrontations were occurring and fires were
burning. Undoubtedly, we were being led by the Spirit in and out of Cairo
and Alexandria often just ahead of trouble to places of safety and
refuge. The days and the nights became one, with the only distinction being
daylight and darkness. Sleep became increasingly scarce. The nights were
filled with restless anxiety.

The availability of food and supplies had become a concern. The general
market was completely full of people with the same concern. Tensions were
high as the lines to check-out extended completely around the entire
store. Patience wore thin as people were anxious to get back to the
“safety” of their own homes. The atmosphere was ripe for trouble to break
out, and it did. A woman in her 40s, with hands full of groceries, tried to cut
in the long line. As those in line yelled in objection, the woman became
defensive and left the store in a fury. I could not understand what was
being said, but the Spirit within impressed upon my heart that* *this
situation was about to become dangerous. I was urged by the Spirit to move
to another part of the store.

In a short time, the woman returned with another guy intent on rectifying
the situation with violence. As a crowd quickly formed around him, the
situation started to spiral out of control. The man was armed with a weapon.
I knew I needed to be clear of the area as quickly as possible. I was torn
between fleeing to safety and leaving my friend behind who was on the other
side of the store. To my surprise, I was quickly removed from the store by
the friend’s brother. We were reunited with my friend 2 blocks away as the
Lord made a way for him to leave the store by a rear exit. I knew the Lord
had once again ordained our steps into safety.* *Had I not obeyed the
prompting of the Spirit to move to another part of the store I would have
been in harm's way.

As my day of return to the States drew near, it was clear I would face a
challenge to leave the country. This was confirmed by a flight delay and the
subsequent scene encountered at the Cairo airport. Complete chaos reigned
as literally thousands of men, women and children were trying to cram into
the terminal. The time it would normally take to walk 20 feet, one could
barely move an inch.

More than an hour had passed when I reached the door leading into the
terminal. Once inside, the scene looked impossible to navigate. The airport
was completely overrun with people, both foreigners and nationals, fleeing
to safety. The noise level was deafening. The hot arid air filled with the
screams of women, the shouting of men and crying children. For the first
time, concern settled in as the reality of the situation began to take hold
of me. This was beyond my understanding and anger welled up inside me.
Suddenly, I was reminded to fix my eyes on the hills from where my help
comes and quickly I regained my composure. From this point on, I knew that
the only way out was to lean in to my Jesus and to be led by Holy
Spirit. Step by step, the Lord showed me where to move; sometimes in
directions that completely defied human logic. For instance, I stood in a
crowd rubbing elbows with the people around me wondering how on earth I
would make it to the door about 50 yards from me. I inquired of the Lord for
wisdom and He prompted me in my heart to, “Go to the outside wall.” This
made no sense in the natural since the outside wall was in a direction
furthest away from the door I needed to reach, however, in my Spirit I knew
it was right. I proceeded to the outside wall which took another hour or so
to reach. All of a sudden, it was as though I was standing at the Red Sea
and watched it part before me, giving me an open walkway to move forward 15
feet or so without touching anyone. This was monumental! A sure encouraging
touch from God, assuring me He was with me and increasing my faith
level. As I proceeded through the crowd, I found myself before this
obstacle that would prevent me from moving any closer to the door I felt the
Lord directing me to in the terminal. Suddenly, I locked eyes with a very
tall and broad man who stood above the rest around him. He was very calm,
not looking to move anywhere. As I stared into his eyes I felt a reassurance
that he was for me and not against me. I nodded my head to him and he
returned the gesture. At that moment, he reached out his hands to me and I
handed him my luggage, knowing he was going to help me over the obstacle
which was preventing me from moving forward. He set down my luggage at his
side and reached out again to help me over the counter. Once over the
obstacle, I looked to thank him, but he had immediately turned away looking
for what seemed to me another person he was assigned to by God to assist. I
thank God for this angel sent on my behalf and others!

At this point, I hear the voices of an Egyptian man and family
conversing. It appeared as though they had made a payment to get help
moving them through the airport. I hear the Lord’s voice prompting me to
“Follow them as if they are your own family”. I took ground following them
closely as I listened to the reassuring voice of the Lord. We reached
another human blockade, about an hour later. The family of five was given
the passageway of entry beyond the blockade while I was detained again. Now,
I was in a position, I realized, trapped between the wall, a counter, a
human blockade, and thousands of people behind me. I prayed, “Lord, if I do
not make it past this human blockade, or if I am at the wrong terminal, I do
not know if I have the strength to fight my way out of here to start
over.” I thought, “Either being an American will help or hinder”…I will
take the chance. I raised my passport at the Egyptian men standing between
me and the door I needed to go through and said, “I am an American!” I did
not get the response I hoped for. He returned with something in Arabic that
ended in “American”. I took this to say, “Who cares if you are an
American?” Next, after many minutes in prayer my mouth began to move but I
had no idea what was coming out of my mouth, I said, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!” This must have been from God because the man, in that moment,
stepped aside and pushed me through. Now I was steps away from the other
side of the door where I assumed the ticket counters were located. Mind
you, I still was not sure I was anywhere close to the Air France counter I
needed to be, and did not have a printed ticket due to the shut-down of the
internet service. I proceeded to the door. A gentleman stood guard and asked
me for my ticket. I could not believe he was asking for a ticket. I
responded with, “It’s in there!” Miraculously, he stepped aside to let me
through. Once I stepped through I, looked to my left to see the chaos and
thousands of people who had been fighting to get through the door I had
originally intended on entering myself before the Lord directed me to the
“outside wall”. I then looked to my right while hearing a woman’s voice
saying, “Pari, Paris, Pari, Paris” It was as though I was hearing the
symphony of heaven playing all around me. I was so amazed and filled with
joy that I was standing at the Air France ticket terminal. I saw miracle
after miracle occur, throughout the 3-4 hours it took me to navigate my way
to the ticket counter. God’s faithfulness was so real to me, ONCE AGAIN!

I did manage to leave Cairo and return to my family with a new found
appreciation of the land in which I live and my faith in God is at an all
time high. I pray everyone would experience this protection of the Lord in
such desperate situations. We will face difficult situations, in the days
to come that may look similar to this when we have nothing or no one to rely
on but the promises of our Lord and Savior as a very present God in our time
of trouble. But do we know He is with us? Do we trust Him?

In reflecting on what I had just walked through with God. I realized that
this was the second January in a row, Haiti in 2010 and now Egypt in 2011,
where I spent time in a country immersed in turmoil and trouble. Upon
inquiring of the Lord for revelation, I believe that we are living in a *now
*moment where we must incline our ear to hear what God is saying. He is
always speaking. The question we must ask of ourselves is, “Do we have our
spiritual antenna high enough to receive the signals? Are we willing to
fight against the cares of this world that vie for our attention to spend
time inquiring of the Lord? Do we know His character well enough to trust
Him especially when His answers don’t seem to make sense?” Now is the time
to practice discipline in listening and cultivating our relationship with
Him before the suddenly occurs. I wonder, “Will even need to get on a plane
to be immersed in a similar situation next January”.

Rodger Lester

Intercessory Missionary

International House of Prayer

Kansas City, Mo.


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