This story took place in summer 1952 after the Egyptian Revolution on the twenty-third of July. It took place in Upper Egypt where there were sugar cane fields because of which people lived in terror since many people were kidnapped and hid among these fields where no one could find them. In such atmosphere, we used to go to these villages to serve and preach. We used to walk amid the fields.
What encouraged us then to adventure is that the Christians in those villages do not know anything about the principles of their religion. They had not heard the name ‘Jesus’ before. Once a child thought it a minister’s name. He claimed that he saw him going to the neighboring village in trousers and a shirt. What also encouraged us was that the kidnapping decreased in the summer for, the sugar cane does not grow in this season. Moreover, we had more time in the summer.
My family members got frightened when I went to such far villages on foot since there were no ways for cars. The group often consisted of three or four young men. One of them carried a bag of first aid supplies for the villagers and the others cared for visiting and preaching to them.
On our way, we used to pray and sing some hymns which filled us with peace. We seemed before others courageous but inwardly, we were frightened even when we thought of thieves and kidnapping. What filled us with peace is that our Guard never rests or sleeps. I can never forget the men, women and children sitting on the floor in the courtyard of a house owned by one of them. They were amazed to hear for the first time the Biblical wonderful stories.
As the sugar cane began to grow, allowing the thieves and kidnappers to hide among it, we stopped serving during that season also because the summer holiday was over. Few months later while I was walking in the street in my city, Uncle Shenouda, a resident in the village which we used to go to, saw me. I took him home where we talked much. I expected what he wanted to ask about but I had then a persuasive answer. Of course, he wanted to ask me why we stopped serving in their village. When he asked I told him that the accidents which took place there filled us with horror mentioning many of them. To my surprise, he was surprised as if he never expected to hear such a reply.
He then said bitterly in great surprise, “Didn’t you say once, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.”?”
At that point, I was ashamed of my weak faith. He continued to repeat all the verses, which I once said, proving God’s care for us. We then began to visit and serve these villages again. We walked in a way full of dangers but we felt God’s arms embracing us.
That illiterate man taught me a lesson which I will never forget.
The Flying Duck