Friday, March 28, 2014


Alright a half smile for those asking..
    I have been absent since arriving back home from the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula for several reason.  But the main reason that I have not written is because I have just been relishing what the Lord did on the trip and secondly, I had a whole lot of catch-up to do around the house and in the ministry. 
    Also since arriving home, I have had to do some evaluations of the ministry that the Lord Called us to do and how we proceed into the future.  When you know what you do is a Call from the Lord, it always makes some things easier but there are other facets of the ministry that are tough.  It is the tough ones that sometimes deter, hamper and in some cases stop one from doing the ministry you were called.   Over the last couple of months, we have watched one of these areas drastically change.   So it is this drastic change that I have been evaluating.  The crazy part of this evaluation is there are no answers for this to change that we have not already tried. 
    So as I have proceeded, I keep coming back to the same conclusion and fact.  I believe that it is something that the Apostle Paul came to also in the ministry that God Called him to.  Right here , I need or must say something;  I am no way, no chance or not even insinuating I am doing close to what the Apostle Paul was called to do.  That in all things we can only be thankful for what we have and take assurance in that. 
    Colossians 2:6-7 says: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as your were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
    It took me a few readings to understand the above or at least what God was trying to say to me.  And it is this, “Ron, you are mine, your faith has grown as you learned more about me, and to always be thankful because I am with you.”   You see this is what the Lord has called me to do and I must have faith that as long as I keep the faith and trust, He will take care of us.  So I will be thankful for where we are today and for what the future holds.  THANK YOU LORD FOR EVERYTHING!!!
    As you have read I have not said anything about what we have been evaluating and as of now, I am not going to say anything, unless you ask; because I have committed to you I would be transparent.  But for me, this was a lesson of being thankful in all situations.   I have spoken that many times but sometimes even the speaker needs to hear the message.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prayers Offered To The Lord

The Prayers Offered To The Lord


    One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about prayer and even better is that it is a promise.  In Mark 11:23-25 (NIV) is says this: “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they will say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” 

    No more evident for me that prayers work for me was on this trip.  Many weird situations happened that I know only your prayers could have gotten me through them.   I would like to share just a few of these with you so that you will also know that God does answer prayers and how your prayers for my safety were heard and answered by the Lord.

    Obviously travel safety and mercies are always paramount on these trips and since I am now writing this from my home, take comfort that I went, came home safely.   A little jet lagged right now, however that comes with the territory. 

    Life in Cairo, Egypt is a very interesting to a foreigner but to a National it is life as usual.  On one of the days I was sitting in a friend’s home and we were planning for the future and what God could do in the region when there was a loud bang and the building shook.  Being not used to such sounds I jumped to my feet and ran to the window to see what was going on.  My friend casually arose and walked over to the window with me.  He looked at me, with a smile in his eyes, and said to be:  “We will say that is just construction.”  Of course I knew exactly what it was.  He went on to say, “Ron, in the future don’t run to the window when this happens, it is not safe.”  Cairo is a city in turmoil right now.  Before I started my trip, there was a faction in Egypt that had made the comment that if they were to see a foreigner on the streets, they would kill them (not kidnap them).  Several people texted me and one person actually told me not to go, in real determined words.  Your prayers sustained me and got me through Cairo without any incidents.

    Oman is the place that I most felt your prayers.  I alluded to this incident in an earlier blog but here is the story.   We were traveling out of the city to meet with a “seeker” in a local village when we saw road signs that said “Military Checkpoints.”  I asked my host why a checkpoint here and he proceeded to tell me that there have been creditable information about a radical faction and they are checking for them.  My next question was,” am I going to need my passport?”  You see I had accidently left in my room.  His face turned white, literally no color at all; and he said “Ron, it is against the law for foreigners to not carry their ID or passports with them at all times.  They will arrest you; there are no warnings on this.”  I have faith but PURE PANIC was setting in now.  There is nothing we can do, we are in line for the checkpoint and there is a tank and gunner aimed at the traffic.  If we were to turn around it would be much worse for us.   As we approached, I watched as each car’s identifications were taken, each person was identified, and in one case one person was asked to step out of the car.  Now it was our turn, we approached the soldier, my friend had his identification in hand and started to roll down his window, when the soldier turned and just waved us through.  No stop, no inspection, just waved us through.  God showed me His mercies and your prayers.  This is not the end of the story, we had to go right back through this checkpoint on our return to the city.  So we proceeded to our meeting, which was fantastic.  Now the trip back.  No cars in line, just us and a truck ahead of us.  Again, identifications were checked and once again it became our turn.  This time the soldier didn’t even make eye contact with us, he just waved us through.   What could have been a disastrous turn of events turned into a lesson for me of having the faith of a mustard seed in the fact that the Lord is taking care of me. 

    The final example of your prayers is when I arrived back in the United States and was headed through Immigration.  I handed my entry card and passport over and immediately knew there was something wrong.  The questions were more detailed, the examinations of my passport were more in depth and as everything was handed back to me, there was a checkmark and big circle around it on the bottom.  I collected my luggage, and as I was heading through the line to exit, I was told to take my stuff over to the Federal Inspection Area.  Having been up for over 45 hours at this point, really make this situation even more intense for me.  So as I stood there, after being questioned by one person, then handed off to another and then being handed off to a Supervisor, I was ready to just cry (literally cry).  I had answered the same questions now for the fourth time and now my luggage was being searched.  At this point all I could do was pray.  So it is what I did.  It is a very strange feeling to see all of your personal items and stuff laid out on a table in front of you.  Over an hour later I was told to put my stuff back in my luggage and meet the Supervisor over by the x-ray machine.  He x-rayed my luggage and said I could go.  Needless to say being who I am, I asked him why I was pulled aside and his comment was, “look where you have been.”    It could have gone a whole lot worse, but God has a sense of humor and I believe He wanted to again assure me that because of your prayers, He took care of me.  And more importantly He is in charge of every situation. 

    God brought me through many interesting situations on this trip.  I can’t even come close to sharing with each of you all the wonderful things that He did while I was traveling.  Throughout this trip, I know you were praying for me.  Several of you each day when I posted something would tell me you were praying.  One person each day sent me his prayers and it was like we were praying together.  And many of you have told me since returning that you liked knowing where I was and how to pray through the prayer calendar.  THANK YOU for praying for me and blessing me because you were asking and believing and God answered your prayers.  THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Part 4-Oman


    The reason and the goal for coming to Oman on this trip was to ensure that all was in place for the team of 7 that will be coming in June.  I excited about the team, as I am every team and every project to this region.  This team is made up of people God called (of course), many of them are dear friends, several of them have never been to this region and a couple this, is their first mission trip.  So I want to ensure that I can make sure everything on my part is ready and then to “trust the Lord that He will do the rest.”   Any time you bring a team over to a region where it is illegal to share Jesus, you are walking on eggshells, not only for the team but more importantly for the people that invite you to come.  So lots of preparation is needed along with lots God. 
    I arrived on Tuesday, late in the evening; after another day of flying.  So the final planning really started on Wednesday.  On Wednesday, we went through the daily plans of what a day will look like for the team.  Since we will be working with churches, will they be ready and will the team get to participate in services.  And yes, I have 2 Pastors coming and they are probably going to be speaking in multiple services on Friday and the two Sundays that we are here.  So it was a fantastic day of planning. 
   There are always visits when I come over and this was no exception.  These visits are with identified “seekers” and a time of sharing.  Tonight we met with Adem (who invited us), his friend Sieb, and with Haleb.  Amazing time with them sharing, talking, laughing and eating fresh fish and octopus.  The visit lasted for almost 3 hours and when we left, we left them with information and a Bible passage about love.  It is always good to leave them with God’s word.
    So today is Thursday and it is my last full day here.  We got all the planning done and then we went for a visit out in one of the remote villages to meet with a seeker.  What a visit it was!!!!  There were lots of questions, lots of answers, and a man who is on the verge of making a decision.  We arrived at the village with the man being very nervous and anxious of our visit.  We headed to a place away from the village where we could speak about the truth.  Upon arriving at the place, you could just tell that he was still nervous, and on edge.  His first question to us was:  Who created Earth?  Interesting way to begin our conversation, from there the conversation quickly went were most of the conversations go with a man of his faith, who is Jesus?   About 3 hours later we left the meeting, but over the course of the meeting you count see him become more relaxed and at ease with both of us.  He is not there yet, but there is a cost here to becoming a believer…a HUGE COST.  But he is seeking the truth and I know it will be very soon.

      Tomorrow is Friday here and it is church in the morning, back to complete packing and then to head to the airport for about 35 hours of transit back to California.  I know many of you have been following this, praying for me, and my word can never express how grateful I am that you are and were praying.  This is not the final blog of the trip but the final blog of the reports to you about what God has done, is doing and is going to do in the future in this region.  The final blog will come when I arrive home and am able to tell you the rest of the story of today and how your prayers were felt today in a situation of my own making.  There is your hint.  Again thank you for blessing me with your prayers, love and all you do for my family and me.   

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Armenian Church

The Armenian Church And What Happened To Them

    One of the most tragic stories I heard while I was in Antioch was concerning the Armenian Church in the region and how they were protected by the Alevi people.  The Alevi are a sect of Islam, but yet they are not Islam in the traditional form, it's a religious group within Shia Islam combined with Sufi elements.  They are Islam in name only, they are a group of people that have no identity with Islam but are classified as Islam.  The Armenian Church and the Armenian people date back to the early church in the area.  There are many villages that have homes and street signs that date back to as early as 1891.  I actually saw one of these homes with the sign on the door. 
    However, when you travel the region and in the villages, you will not find any Armenian people living in the area.  Where did they go?  That question is quickly answered by the Alevi and it is the reason that when you speak to Alevi, they will tell you that they understand Christianity and Jesus.  This is why there is such an opening in this region for the gospel and for the harvest. 
    In the early 1900’s when Turkey was going through its revolution and becoming a new nation under Ataturk; things were going to turn from very good to tragic for the Armenian Church and the Armenian people.  With a new National Religion being established, the Christian Armenian Church needed to be dissolved or in this case, wiped clean.  So there was a degree or mandate issued that all property was to be taken and they were to be removed.  So the new army came into the area and systematically started taking the property and removing the Armenian people.  However removing was not asking them to leave, removing them was genocide.  Since for centuries, the Armenians and Alevi had lived in peace and friendship.  The Alevi felt that they needed to protect the Armenians from death, so they hid many in their homes.   Here is one of the stories that I was told:
   We hid them in our homes, when the soldiers would come, we would tell them that we were feeding the children.  Then when they would leave, we would open the places we were hiding them and feed them and protect them.  We did not want them to die, they were our friends and in many families, they were our family.
    Most of the Armenians were killed and their homes taken.  Many of the children were killed.  When the Armenians were gone, the villages were taken and many Muslims moved into their homes and took their property.  Today you will not find any Armenians here but because of them we, the Alevi understand Jesus.
    As you drive through the country side you will see many examples of the Armenian homes and villages, but no Armenians.  The few remaining Armenians that were left unharmed left the country in secret and went to other places.  This was a massacre in great proportions and before the time of Hitler, in a time where the world did not take notice of what was happening. 
    Advance to the current, because of what happened to the Armenian Church, their faith during all of this, their love for the Alevi, and the protection of them by the Alevi many in this area cannot accept or embrace the Koran or the teachings of Islam.  Only in the villages that have been taken will you find a presence of any kind, there are no mosques, there is no call to prayer, there are few covered women and throughout there are many conversations about Jesus.  However the Alevi, know nothing about how to believe in Jesus.  They will tell you that Jesus is God’s Son and that he did die on the cross but they cannot tell you why. 
    The story of the Armenian Church is tragic and sad.  A group of Believers eliminated because they stood by their faith.   However, through their sacrifices God has used it to lay the foundation for the Kingdom.  “All things work for good for the Kingdom of God.”  The story above is a compilation of the many times I was told the story.  The story of the Armenian Church is true and is believed by the Alevi.  I wanted to share this story with you.  I have left out many of the tragic details that have been passed down from generation to generation in an effort to never forget the Armenian Church and the Armenian people by the Alevi.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this tragic story.  Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.  I will leave you with another comment that was said to me:
    Where do you think that Hitler learned how to wipe out a people without the world knowing or paying attention to, he learned it by how the Armenian Church and people were removed.  He watched, took notes and then He knew.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kuwait-Part 3 Report

    Here I sit at the Kuwait Airport amazed at the changes that have happened since I was last here.  They have done a lot of updating and the airport is quite nice.  It has internet, of course I can't find a plug in so I will type and play until my laptop dies and I can go no more.
    The reason for this trip was to meet with the local legal church about how International Commission and us to partner in the future.  I made this contact last time I was here and we have been communicating through email since April of last year, trying to work out a time when we could meet.   When I arrived for our first meeting, he was waiting for me and excited to be able to actually have time to talk-face to face.  Our first meeting was divinely ordained and then this one was the same.  He informed me that they were right in the middle of planning for the future of the church.  For your information, the church runs over 1500 people now in 3 types of services:  English (Ex-Pats,), Arab and Flippino/Indian.   He went on to say that this was perfect timing for our meeting...I wanted to say "duh,"  but refrained.  They were looking for a partner that could come alongside of them for the growth of the body here in Kuwait.   As we spoke, he became more excited about the possibilities and the idea of a long term (every year) relationship really put a smile on his face. 
      Before the first meeting was over he told me he wanted to meet Pastor Rayna of the Indian Church.  Wow, is the only way to describe this meeting.  She told me about how each Sunday over 75 Indians are making professions of faith and the only way she could describe her church was 1000's and 1000's.  She showed me pictures of the last Sunday service and I was amazed, talk about Standing Room only.   Great meeting and the potential of what could happen is amazing.
      Then after this meeting, I was introduced to the Pastor of what they call the Villa Church.  This is basically a satellite church and is rapidly growing.  This meeting was all about how IC does evangelism and how we could assist him and his church reach the people around his villa.   He was excited and really wants to explore this in his church.
       After the meetings, I was told that we would definitely be having an invitation to bring teams over to this area in 2015.  Today the staff is meeting to discuss everything and to plan.  I have been requested to return in June, before the Oman project; to discuss, meet and plan the project in 2015.  Talk about God orchestrating things. 
       The first 3 parts of this journey have all been wonderful and a blessing.  I pray the next is the same way.  Pretty tired now and need a day of rest but I was told someone that "I am going to run and work as hard as I can now for the Lord and then when I get to Heaven, I will rest."  So I will keep going.  Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hatay/Antioch Turkey Recap

I probably could write a whole blog on each day, one on the people, one on the food and finally one on the tragic people of the valley and why they are now so open to the Gospel.  But I think I will try to just keep this one simple and recap God's working each day.  Before I start the pictures above are just a few of the pictures of the multitudes I took of the area.
Day 1(Tuesday):  David and I got up and headed out to visit families (Believers), there are over 300 New (and I do mean NEW) Believers in the city of Hatay.  As we were leaving, we were waved down by a man who wanted us to have tea with him.  Of course we stopped, it would be rude to not.  After drinking a little of our tea, he said there was something different about us and he wanted to know we did the only thing we could and told him what makes us different.  What a way to start the day...Expansion in Heaven.  So we gave him lots of reading materials and then set up a time to visit him on Thursday, which we did.   Then we went to meet Oskurt, a new and bold Believer who is sharing the Gospel with everyone in his coffee shop.  Then we went into the center of Antioch to meet with a man who owns a Christian bookstore and coffee shop.  Of course there we were able to share again with a few more and they followed right along with what we were saying and were in agreement.  Then we went to meet Ahmet, I will tell you about him when I recap Thursday.   Of course my now it is 630 pm and we are having dinner with Asfuk and Amil and their family (more new believers).  Here is their story:  David had shared Jesus with them and they were interested but they were not sure.  So David just told them that God would show them the truth and well HE DID!  Asfuk got hurt at work and could walk or stand up straight.  They called and said, please come and pray for us because if Asfuk doesn't work, things will get really bad.  There was a group from, I think Oklahoma here and they went with him to their home.  Asfuk was laying there, could not stand up and the pain was excruciating.  So they started to pray and Asfuk jumps up and starts moving all around with no pain.  When he tells the story, you can just see him and his wife and the Holy Spirit all around them. So dinner lasted until really, really late but food was good, and so was everything else. 
Day 2(Wednesday):  Again we headed out with the best intentions to do some planning with the group, but to also meet with New Believers as we go.  We headed to one of the ruins in the area where we know the Believers live.  We got there and were again invited in for tea and fellowship.  Within a few minutes, in walk this couple who want to meet us because their friend (or brother in law) had been talking about us coming.  They wanted to know why we we started talking and one thing led to another and BOOM, they said they wanted to know and have what Jesus was offering.  New Believers!!!  Then we went from there  to meet with the head of another local village and when I mean head, I mean Leader.  His name is Isa (which means Jesus in Turkish).  This is an example of his leadership.  The Mayor of the city called him and asked him to come and settle a dispute between people.  So we spend pretty much the whole afternoon with him, visiting his family, looking at the area and of course talking about our Lord.  At the end, he said; "You are my friends, your are my family and your are my Brothers, because of me and what Jesus has done for me, you can go anywhere in this area and share Jesus.  And if you need I will open doors."  Amazing!!! We also spent time with Oskurt, a Believer who could become a very instructmental part of IC and sharing in this area through our National to National projects.   From there we went to visit another Believer and spend the evening with her and her family and of course I have already told you about Nareen.
Day 3 (Thursday):  Now I need to tell you about Ahmet.   We pretty much spent the day with him and his family: sharing, talking and of course drinking tea (lots of tea).  This was the plan from the beginning because Ahmet and is family have taken the most aggressive and vocal stand of sharing about Jesus.  Ahmet is a stone carver and I mean the old way with chisel and hammer.  He has the name of Isa written on the fence that leads into his home and because of him, his whole family are Believers (I think my rough count is about a 100 people).  We went from place to place meeting his family and then ended up with him at his home.  He is such an aggressive Believer that I actually videoed him and can't wait to share it as soon as I get a tech person to assist me get it ready to go.  It brought be to tears as we were completing it.  We also went over to meet Medmat and his family.  He broke his neck as a young man and thus is very handicapped.  But his faith is amazing and he reads everything about Jesus and when he speaks about his injury, he says he does not know what God made him this way but he knows that God has a purpose and that God is using him.  This was our early day, we got done around 9pm.
Day 4 (Friday):  The final day.  Sadness and lots of JOY were abundant.  We said good bye to many friends but more than that we went to Amil's work (remember from day 1) and there we able to share with her boss and 4 others, under a tree about Jesus and they all GOT IT!!!  Our final good-bye was to be with Ahmet before leaving and this is when I did the video.  Tears, oh man, tears.  But of course, he shared with me what he had and I walked away humbled, blessed and joyful.  I can't wait to see him again.  Finally as we started, we ended with Asfuk and Amil doing lots of laughing, praying, crying and more laughing.  Such a wonderful time.  I forgot to tell you, Asfuk thinks he is an American Indian and loves stuff from when I come back I will bring him stuff. 
This is the recap and I know it was long.  Thank you for reading it, praying for it, holding it near to your hearts and supporting us so that I can do this.  Forgive the typos because since my internet here in Istanbul is short,  I wanted to get this out to you because you have been so faithful. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Egypt Update

25% Trip Completed (Egypt)

    I made it safely to Istanbul a few hours ago.  So I can say with confidence that 25% of this trip has been completed.  Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement.  Thank you to one of you, who blessed my heart and actually sent me their prayer through email while I was in Cairo.  It is always an encouragement to know that you are praying for me.  I know that some of you even were really worried about this part of the trip, especially my family.

    I would like to say that it wasn’t without incident, but you already know about my driving experience.  I heard gunshots several times that were nearby where I was and there was also something that sounded like an explosion.  I just looked out the window but didn’t go and investigate.  Cairo definitely has changed over the years that I have been coming here.  This was probably the time that I have seen the most security and the most armed men and vehicles around the city.  The city is on edge right now.  Each Friday, many stay in their homes because they are afraid of what might happen at any moment.  I was able to drive through the square where all of the protests have happened and was amazed at the amount of Army presence that was there.  There are also barricades that are ready to be put in place at a moment’s notice.   Cairo is an ancient city, where history and architecture are fantastic; however today it is reason for you to be stopped and questioned if you are not in the areas of tourism. Of course in the areas of tourism there is a viable threat to kill any foreigner or tourist that can be captured by the radicals.   I made the mistake one time of pointing at something to show my friends and was immediately chastised not to point because that is seen as, a reason for questioning or for you to be viewed as a threat. 

    The first part of the trip was hearing the stories that have transpired over the last year(s).  My friend and our “Man of Peace” lives within visual of Roba Square.  He also had much of the activity happen within the area that is right next to his home.  Being a Christian in Cairo during this time and even now is not wise.  Here are some of the basic facts:

·         Actual number of churches destroyed or severely damaged-84

·         Last week 4 Christians were killed in Alexandria by having their throats cut.

·         There is at least one Christian killed every day throughout Cairo.

·         One man that was captured said he was thirsty and they give him “fire water.”  This is an acid that destroys from the inside.  Then after he was dead, a lady hit him with her sandals and the men then urinated on him.

    Please not think that it is only the Muslims that are persecuting the Christians in this region.  They are also being persecuted by the Orthodox Churches here in the region.   In a local village there is an Orthodox Priest, who for the last 7-8 years has refused to let any Christians into his village.  He gets angry when he meets a Christian, he tells the people that “Christians are thieves” and they are threatened to leave.  When our “Man of Peace,” who was visiting the area heard this he went and met with the Priest.  After the meeting, he told the Priest that now and forever the people of his village are his responsibility and he will be answerable for them to God.

    But even with all of things that are happening, over the last 3 years many have become Believers because they know that our God will take care of them.  There churches are growing and becoming bolder and many are willing to take a stand for our Lord.  I went to church on Sunday evening to a church that I attended before and at first I thought it was smaller, however by the time the service was over, there was not an open seat in the assembly and the walls were lined with Believers.

    The reason for this trip was to plan for the future, encourage, reconnect and pray.  Although it is not wise for Americans to come into this region for a project, we can still come alongside of the local churches and Believers through our National to National program and assist them.   And this is what we were planning for.  Overall the trip was a great success.  We were able to plan for 3 projects over the rest of this year to villages throughout Egypt and 5-7 projects for next year.  I was able to reconnect with our people in this area, to encourage them and to plan possibly to bring one of them to the US to share how God is working in this region.  There was also a great deal of training and prayer happening. 

    If as you read this, you can take a few minutes and pray for the Christians in Egypt, for our “Family of Peace,” and the churches; I know they would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you for your prayers for me and my family as I finished the first 25% of this trip.  Your prayers, I believe is why nothing happened while I was in Egypt and why this part went as smooth as it did.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Crazy Day In Cairo

Crazy Day In Cairo
    I am not going to make this a long report for the first day because if you are following this blog then you will be reading a lot and I don't want you to be too bored.  But yet my hope is that you will have enjoy what is happening on this trip.
    What would the first day in Cairo or for that fact, any trip that I go on where I don't find myself in a position (usually because of my makings) that when you tell the story is interesting, wacky and crazy?  They can be from getting stuck in a Pyramid for over an hour in 120 degree weather, to having the bus carrying the team leave me behind, to climbing the side of a ancient Petra formation over 100 feet in the air, or to climbing an ancient wall to get a picture of the scenic view and the drop off the other side of the wall, then having it collapse underneath me. 
     Today would not be any different.  If you have been following the news about Egypt, especially around Cairo, you know that there is just a little political situation here.  So this trip is one that I need to make sure that I don't do anything to put myself or the people I am visiting here in a situation.  Well I did it today and really, really it wasn't my fault.  We were going to pick up his daughter from school, get some fresh bread and then to the store.  The first 2 without incident, the last one, not so much.
     We stopped at the store and of course as is the case in Cairo, traffic is terrible and you just park the car anywhere.  So we stopped the car, Medhat got out to run in the store and said, "Ron, you stay here with Madonna and if someone needs, you move the car."  Not a big request, but if you know me; I can make anything a big request.  As soon Medhat goes into the store, a car pulls up and asks us to move.  So I climb behind into the driver's side and away I go.  My thinking is drive it down the street, turn around and go back.  So I drive down about a block, pull into a driveway on a little bit of a driveway headed downhill, try to put the car in reverse (by the way it is a manual transmission), and low and behold the car is going reverse.  I put my foot on the brake and try again and again down Madonna and I go.  Did I forget to tell you that it is the driveway to the Emirates Embassy...oops probably not?  I didn't know that it was either until the Egyptian Soldiers came out with hands on their side-arms and AK47's at my level.  Between Madonna and my broken Arabic, we explained the problem.  They were laughing and I was very red faced, but smiling; they understood, Then  I had to wait while Madonna ran down to the store and got Medhat to come and move the car. 
    To make every thing better, Medhat got in the car and immediately backed up the car.  This made the soldiers laugh even more.  I guess I truly am the "not so smart American,"  wait that is not true, I am just the American who has no idea how to drive a car, especially a manual transmission.  The great thing about today is that I was able to bring some fun and laugher into the Soldiers who lately have not had it so easy here.