We traveled today to go to the Mountain of Prayer, a conference center in the middle of the desert. The center is about two hours away from Cairo, around 100 miles. I know that 100 miles will not take you two hours in the USA, but it does because of traffic here in Cairo. On the way, there were palm trees full of ripe, red dates. As you go through the door of the conference center, the scene immediately changes. On the other side of the entrance is a haven, full of trees, dome-shaped rooms to keep the cool air in as well as prayer stations. As we drove in, we immediately saw the Sudanese. We had planned on 80 attendants but ended up with 120. We did not want to deny any refugee who wanted to attend. The conference started at 2 pm, with Wahid doing the opening. He told them the story of his first mission trip, which was to Sudan, and they all started clapping and shouting hallelujahs..
Then the training started. The conference is about Shepherd leadership: how to Shepherd- like the Great Shepherd- your family, church, work, and life. The Sudanese were divided into groups of 8 and given flip charts. They were asked to write what a shepherd does to its flock. Many Sudanese come from a shepherd background, so we got fascinating answers, like removing the parasites from the head of the lamb with olive oil, shearing the sheep from their heavy wool, and caring about breeding them. This is in addition to the known answers about a shepherd like taking them to green pastures, protecting them, and giving his life for them. Do pray that each of the attendants will return as a shepherd leader to their families, congregations, and peers. Pray that none of the participants will get sick, as there are hundreds of flies because of the palm trees and date season.