After twenty-four years of serving with Campus Crusade for Christ in Alexandria, Egypt, Ray and Gail planned to relocate to the United States, returning on January 31, 2011. They had no idea that their plans would coincide with an uprising, part of the “Arab Spring” sweeping the Middle East.
Demonstrations began in Egypt on Tuesday, January 25th. More unrest was expected after the Islamic call to prayer on the 28th, so the government cut off all internet and cell phone service Friday morning. From their apartment, Ray and Gail heard the call to prayer, and later, the sounds of a massive crowd mixed with the pop and swoosh of rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. When the police ran out of ammunition, the crowd turned on them, killing and injuring hundreds of officers.
By Saturday, the protestors had destroyed all 200 police stations in Alexandria, broken into their armories, and released all prisoners. Trains were attacked and the road to Cairo was unsafe because of car-jackings and shootings; no drivers were willing to risk their lives to take Ray and Gail to Cairo. Ray and Gail continued to trust that God would keep them safe and open a way out for them on Sunday so they could catch their flight.
The next day, their travel agent called and urged them to get into a van waiting outside. They had ten minutes to re-pack seven suitcases and then had no idea where the driver was taking them as he drove through the streets crowded with people. They were astounded that the driver was going to the train station which had been attacked the day before; however, when they pulled up, they saw the station was surrounded by army tanks. (They found out later they boarded the last train out of Alexandria.) Looking through the train’s windows, they were sad to see many small towns destroyed in this country they had come to love.
Ray and Gail stayed that night with Egyptian friends who insisted on a lavish breakfast the next morning despite Cairo’s food shortages. Also, their flight’s departure had been moved up by two hours earlier that morning, so they tried to be as patient as possible during the leisurely meal and later when they saw a huge traffic jam barely crawling toward the airport. Their driver knew a shortcut, but as their departure time drew near Ray and Gail still weren’t close enough. They finally made their flight, but didn’t know if any of their luggage was on board because of the chaotic conditions. When they were airborne everyone on the plane let out an audible sigh of relief. It wasn’t until they landed in the U.S. several days later that they learned all seven suitcases made it safely.
Ray and Gail now live in Pennsylvania and help distribute the JESUS film to immigrants in the Northeastern United States and into Canada. They were glad to share with us about God’s protection and provision for their “Exodus”. God proved faithful in every detail to return them home safely a year ago. Please also join us in praying for our staff and fellow believers in Middle Eastern countries, like Egypt, who are going through times of great upheaval.
We’re thankful that God watches over us all!
God used Ray to help Mike get started in a Campus Crusade Bible study thirty-four years ago while both were students at Penn State. Ray and Gail were also a part of the computer department in California with us before moving overseas.
Ray’s varied responsibilities while living in Egypt included working with the campus ministry in Cairo. Gail raised their four children and also led Bible studies and outreaches with non-Egyptian women who were married to non-Christians