Today’s guest post comes from Jasika Shaker, a fellow who attended The 21 in June 2022. We asked Jasika to write about her time in Egypt and share the parts of her experience that stood out the most to her. In today’s post, Jasika shares what made The 21 different from other service trips to Egypt.
Going on The 21 trip to Egypt was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I have tutored kids before and gone on several church retreats with Copts from different places, but none of these experiences compare to the three weeks I spent in Egypt teaching the youth and enjoying the fellowship of Copts all around the globe.
Although this trip was my first time in Egypt in 12 years, I felt an immediate sense of home as soon as I landed. As soon as we entered the school area, we were greeted by kids who had all been waiting for us. A song and choreography routine was performed to welcome us. Throughout the whole trip, we were shown agape love in numerous ways. One of my students brought sandwiches from home to me and the other teachers at my site. Another student regularly brought me and my teaching partner snacks in the morning. When I told one of my students that I liked her bracelet, she immediately took it off and put it on my hand. In every home that we visited, we were greeted with the warmest smiles and hospitality. The generosity, kindness and joy that I felt in Egypt was like nothing I’ve experienced before.
In addition to the blessing of serving the kids in Egypt, I really enjoyed visiting many churches and monasteries with fellow Copts. Through visiting many of the sites that Jesus stayed in and hearing the many stories of the martyrs of Egypt, my faith was revived, and I felt a deeper connection to my church and its people. This revived faith is one that I will have with me always, no matter where I am in the world.
In reflecting on this trip, I am certain that if I could do it again, I would do it a million times over. No pictures or blog posts could truly capture the beauty of this trip. This trip has instilled in me my identity as a Copt and is an experience I will never forget!