The Port city for Cyprus was Limasol and so the next morning we set off West in that direction. Now from time to time I make mistakes or as my wife would say, I blow it. What I am about to tell you is I think a real blow it stage of the Incredible journey.
Everything depended on being in tune with the Spiritual world. In other words we had to be in good contact with our Lord and Saviour. This sounds difficult but is actually quite easy and I have explained this before but it is worth saying again.
Step 1... Is to pray. Praying sounds religious but all it is is having a chat with our Highest Power, our Trinitarian God. This can be when done wrong, a rather one way communication.
Step 2 is listening to the replies, and is equally important but is the more difficult part. Presenting ones problems and requests is easy but listening to the replies takes faith and takes Stopping, Looking and Listening. It is easy to jump to wrong conclusions which is what I often do. When one is worried or in a hurry or thinks that hurry is necessary then mistakes and wrong turns can easily be made. Have you noticed when using modern navigation systems that if you take a wrong turn the gadget starts telling you to make a Uturn as soon as you can. If you persist in going down the wrong road then a new and fresh computation is made and the Uturn voice gives up and instead you start with another chance on a new course. Thank God! He too is like this. He takes into account our being late or taking wrong turns and forgives us if we ask for it and off we go again. This is the story of life with our awesome God.
We picked an amazing lift with a an unusually receptive and needy person. He wanted to help us but he also wanted help in sorting out his personal problems. He asked us to go to his villa and stay the night. I think if we had agreed he would have bought our ticket on the ferry across the Western Mediterranean and the journey would have been without cost. I prayed and jumped to my own conclusion and declined his offer and asked to be dropped off at the port. I wanted to continue and make progress and so I just ignored the stop look and listen process and instead, leaned to my own understanding.
At the port we found a passenger ferry to Israel but try as hard as I could talking to officials and everybody I could, there was no free ticket for us. Not even a reduction. So we just piled on board like all the other passengers, paying 50$ each and spent the night in two deck chairs as a cabin was very expensive.
The next morning the ship made its way into Haifa one of Israel's Merchant and Military ports. I had been to Israel in 1960 as a young Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Navy some 24 years before. Catching this ship and passing through Israel was going to cause many problems in the next few days. Our passports were stamped by the Israeli authorities. If we had stayed with our needy friend maybe there would have been some ship straight to Alexandria Egypt and a lot of the following complications could have been avoided.
Hitch Hiking through Israel to the Sinai border was not very pleasant. The only really helpful people we met were Arab Christians which crossed our paths. One owned a restaurant and gave us a very good lunch. We arrived at the southern border in the evening and shared a very cheap taxi with some Egyptians across Sinai. What took the children of Israel 40 years we completed in reverse in about 4 hours.
Getting out of Israel, which seemed to us to have a very dark spirit rather like Yugoslavia, was a great relief. I have since learned to love the Jews much more and to respect their plight. Their problem is really the hot spot of the world and I believe only the return of the Messiah in person will sort out these seeming insoluble problems between Jews and Palestinians.
I can't remember exactly where we stayed that night but I think it was in some kind of cheap hotel the other side of the Suez canal. What I remember very well is arriving in Cairo and finding a monastery in Garden city run by Nuns who gave us a free room with a stove to cook on and our own private bathroom and toilet. We used this generous facility for about three weeks. It became our Egyptian base.
There are three main Ports in Egypt, Port Said, Alexandria and Suez. It was going to be our job to find a ship leaving from one of these Ports in a Red Sea direction, or so we thought.
We Hitched to Alexandria and got a lift from a Protestant Open Bretheren Church Pastor or Elder and he invited us to attend an evening meeting. They took a collection for us after we had shared our exciting testimony of our trip of 200 US$, which was extremely generous of them. He put us up for the night too and fed us. He also worked in the Port and took us there the next morning.
Most of our lifts were obviously with Muslims and actually it was quite easy to witness to them about our faith in Jesus and many of them prayed to ask Jesus. Isa into their hearts. That of course did not mean that they were converted but it meant that the Holy Spirit could start working from the inside.
We even learned some Arabic. We are coming from Brazil sounded phonetically like Anna Gay Menal Brazil and we are going to India sounded something like Ana zer hib el al hinde. We are Christian missionaries sounded like we are Mubash Shereen. We wrote this info in ball point pen on the back of our hands until it was memorized. Shukran meant thank you and we greeted every one with the usual Salaam Ale cum and then the reply Ale cum us salaam. We learned some other phrases too which I now can't remember.
Our new Christian Pastor friend too explained why Mahomet had rejected Christianity. During his life time Mecca was a rather corrupt and back slidden Christian city and he was shocked by this. Also the only Gospel available was St Matthew and then only up to Chapter 25, leaving out the crucifixion. This seemed to explain why the Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified.
We failed to find anything at Alexandria so we hitched back to our Garden City base to keep trying. In the evening we would go and talk to people in a five star hotel which I think was the Marriott. Very fancy and we would sit in the Lobby and try to talk to people. One helpful business man asked to look at our passports and spotted the Israeli stamps. With those stamps we might as well go back to Europe. There was no way out of Egypt to another Muslim Nation with such a stamp. Israel was so hated that they would not entertain having anything to do with us. How will this situation get resolved? Don't forget to read the next installment.