Christian Adventure – Egypt, Vacation Operation, Part I
by D.I. Telbat
Cliff Washburn sat in a rental car outside the shipping district of Egypt’s Damietta port, the Muslim country’s second largest. Two men in overalls eyed him as they walked slowly past his car. If Cliff were merely the tourist he pretended to be, he wouldn’t have been sweating so profusely.
A young man walked out from a narrow path between two warehouses. He wore a t-shirt with an American computer logo. It was Cliff’s contact. Closing his eyes, Cliff exhaled a prayer for courage. If he were caught now, Anne would probably be arrested from their hotel room. And then, if they survived the interrogation to return to Indiana, his in-laws would kill him for involving Anne.
After the upheaval to remove Mubarak, the country’s new standard of freedom seemed a Godsend, at least to the world’s press corps. But inside Egypt, freedom had a different definition where Sharia Law was becoming prevalent.
The young man tapped on the window of the passenger door. Cliff reached across and opened the door.
“Let us go,” the man said. He had a hint of a mustache and a fresh scar along his left cheek. “You are coming?”
“On foot?” Cliff checked his mirrors. No one seemed to look suspicious nearby. As instructed, he’d made sure he wasn’t followed. “What about my car?”
“Five minutes.” The young man shrugged. He didn’t seem nervous.
Exiting the car, Cliff fell in step with him as they headed back down the narrow path, but he couldn’t stop sweating!
“This is my first time. I’m just a carpenter back in America. We took our vacation time to come here.”
“It is best if you do not tell me.”
Cliff glanced back at the car. Maybe he should’ve registered it under a false name. No, he’d need a fake passport for that. Maybe next time.
“The Bible isn’t illegal in Egypt, is it? Why all the secrecy?”
“Things change.” The young man stopped next to a metal door and knocked a series of knocks. Cliff couldn’t help but memorize the code. “Tomorrow, the Bible could be banned. Even in times of lighter persecution, we must live cautiously. We are Christians, not fools.”
The door opened and Cliff was whisked through the sparks of a welder to a back office where a bald man with glasses sat at a desk with a laptop.
“Do not talk,” Cliff was instructed. The bald man held out his open palm. “Give it to me.”
Sticking two fingers into his mouth, Cliff pushed against a back molar. It was already loose. He winced a little at the nerve pain, the wound still fresh from the removal and installation. The molar slipped out with a suction sound. Sucking off the saliva, he dropped it into the bald man’s hand.
The tooth, which wasn’t a tooth at all, was plugged into a portable drive reader attached to the laptop.
“Is everything okay?” Cliff leaned over the desk to see the screen. The bald man turned the screen farther away from Cliff. “It’s supposed to be one of the most complete Bible commentaries in Arabic to date. Besides a recent Bible translation.”
“It is perfect.” The bald man removed the tooth and gave it back to Cliff. “This was much safer than downloading information from the internet. Everything is subject to monitoring. Go with God.”
Cliff was directed back through the warehouse. By the time he and the young man reached the metal door, Cliff had the molar back in place.
“You go from here?”
“Yes, thank you.” Cliff opened the door, but was suddenly gripped on the shoulder and turned. The young man in the t-shirt embraced him for a few seconds before allowing Cliff to leave.
Minutes later, Cliff sat alone in his rental car. He started the engine while struggling to hold back the tears. The joy of serving Christ came in unexpected ways.
As he drove back to the hotel, he mentally and spiritually prepared for the next information drop in Yemen. And, thankfully, Cliff found that he was no longer sweating.
The End of Vacation Operation Part I – Egypt
Subscribe HERE to receive D.I. Telbat FREE short stories and other related posts, such as his Novel News, Author Reflections, Book Reviews, and occasional Challenges for Today’s Christian. We post once a week. Hope to see you soon!