Katie coaches her students as they read an English newspaper.
The volleyball team, handbell club, and koto club at Luther Gakuin.
OTHER MISSONARY NEWS
Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings to you all!
We Cairo Nygards greet you at Christmas. It appears that, what with the rush of the end of a seminary semester and interim pastoring on the side, we won't get a proper paper greeting off to you this year, but it should be possible to get something electronic sent. We hope it is well with you. "Longing makes the heart grow fonder," it is said, and we cherish our ties with you.
Egyptian political storms blow through our lives much like North Dakota blizzards, but, just like back home, the march of daily events continues no matter how the wind howls. We usually head off together on our 20-minute walk to the seminary each morning about 8:15, winding through narrow one-lane streets graced by alley cats checking out the garbage piles, children with backpacks heading to school, and elderly women dressed in black, out to buy their morning "life," as Egyptian bread is called in Arabic. Once at the seminary, Linda goes up to the second floor of the library where endless boxes of English books await her expert cataloguing. For my part, I climb the stairs of "Old Main," built in 1928 when the seminary was moved from Assuit, to attack daunting projects in my office. How is that scholarship for our international students for next fall coming? Has Mervat made any progress on negotiating a date for our graduate studies committee meeting next week, and what documents will it require? Can't I work in some progress on the syllabus for my new class next semester, "Christian Mission and Muslim Da'wah"? Whatever happens, I have to be ready to teach my class this semester, "Christianity in the Middle East from the Rise of Islam." And Anna Maria, our Italian nun student, wants a meeting to look at her third thesis chapter, and have I ready it carefully enough to discuss it with her?
But now we break for Western Christmas. The cedar greens that Linda has rescued from the local flower shop are festooned with yellow ribbons and red lights that blink or not in six different ways. Three of the advent candles she set in sand in a Tupperware container have been lighted - the fourth awaits tomorrow. The garlands that we draped under the windows at church last Saturday have all fallen down, but the tree looks nice, and the banner invites us to rejoice. Without a regular pastor, we will gather for the candlelight service with Cairo Christian Fellowship, another of the seven congregations that use our building. We hear that the Lord of the Middle East and of North America is coming. The King over all kings is near. The one worthy of our ultimate devotion, be we Christian, Muslim, or athiest, is taking on human flesh. God enters the earthly stage. Back in North Dakota, the knees of our children and grandchildren bend before the manger. Back in Norway, our third cousins and fourth cousins prepare to go to church. Here in Egypt our Muslim neighbors are aware that something unusual is happening, though they, like we, can't quite appreciate what. They greet us: "Kulle sene, wa-entum tayiibiin!" We greet you the same way: "Every year, good things for you." Merry Christmas.
His peace be with you.
Mark & Linda