The Joey Chronicles – Missions Sunday / Joey Goes to Egypt
When Pastor John was growing up he had an imaginary friend name Joey.
These are growing up stories told from Joey’s point of view!
There is nothing scarier than riding a camel.
That thought whirled through Joey’s brain as the camel driver yelled in Arabic at the ten camels and their passengers galloping towards the pyramids over the hot desert sand.
Joey’s Dad was in Egypt with a series of meetings and this was their fun day.
“Some fun”, Joey thought to himself as he bounced high up in the air on the camel’s hump holding on for dear life.
When they finally stopped in front of the largest pyramid Joey breathed a sigh of relief and followed the other’s inside. The tunnel they entered rose until they came to the very center of the pyramid itself – surrounded by tons of rock on every side.
This was the tomb of the kings of Egypt. The air was stale and and Joey felt the weight of the centuries hanging over his head. He almost wanted to go back to bouncing on the camel.
Besides camels and pyramids there were other scary things in Egypt. Their guard had a submachine gun under his suit jacket to protect the foreigners from terrorists and religious fanatics who might want to harm them. Joey was unnerved by the stares of the young men selling tourist maps and stuffed camels by the roadside.
“Dad, can we go back to our hotel now?” Joey stood close to his father and waited for the bus to take them back to Cairo.
Was Egypt always a scary place? No, it was beautiful!
Was Egypt always an unfriendly place? No, the boys and girls were some of the nicest boys and girls Joey had ever met.
The food was delicious, the hotels were luxurious, and there was always laughing and joking between the Americans and their Egyptian friends.
The biggest difference was Jesus. With Jesus, everyone could love each other, feel safe, and have a good time.
Without Jesus, there was fear, suspicion, anger. And those who didn’t follow Jesus wanted to harm to Christians if they could.
Later that week, Joey visited a Coptic Christian Church and watched as a little girl received a tattoo of a cross on the back of her hand in sight of the church. She was surrounded by her family and friends – it almost looked like a birthday party.
“Dad, why can’t I get a tattoo at church?”
Joey’s Dad chuckled but then his voice turned serious. “Son, this little girl is getting the tattoo of a cross on her hand so that if she is killed because she is a Christian her family could identify her. These boys and girls and Dads and Moms have to be serious about following Jesus to live in a country like this.”
“Oh.” Joey didn’t know what to say. He just listened to the buzz of the tattoo machine and watched the young girl in silence.
Joey was learning that with Jesus every place can be wonderful. And everybody loves each other no matter where they live or what language they speak.
Joey was also learning that without Jesus there is a darkness that feels like the tomb inside the pyramid. There is no joy, no hope – only anger and fear.
That night Joey prayed for that little girl with the new tattoo of the cross. He prayed that Jesus would protect her and thanked Jesus that she loved Him enough to put her life in His hands.