I have so many great stories to share from our Epic Adventure. But one serendipity played out that has little to do with bucket lists or Great Pyramids or World Heritage sites. I'm talking about people, and the dynamic of community that is - ultimately - one of the most important elements of living the life-charged life.
Scholarship: Forty-nine of us traveled together as part of an Asbury Theological Seminary graduate-level seminar. The group comprised grad students, preachers, other church professionals, seminary alumni and spouses. The professor, Bob Tuttle, is somewhat of a legend as a spiritual giant, writer, traveller and guru of New Testament studies.
Rebekah hooked up with the tour because she was looking for a continuing education opportunity that combined the right destinations with the right level of scholarship.
Bonus: At the very beginning, standing as a large group at the Athens airport, our "tour host," Stephen, yelled out "Arrange yourself in family groups of five!" We had around 60 seconds and no other information on which to act.
Rebekah and I turned around and corralled the first three people we saw. They were Lonita, Bryan and Eric. Eric and Bryan work in the same church in Jacksonville, and Lonita is from St Cloud near Orlando.
The idea was to keep track of one-another and make it easy to account for all 49 people on the tour when on the move, re-boarding the bus, meeting up after "30 minutes of shopping," or leaving one site for another.
Community: There were ten family groups and the plan really did help. But ours went a few steps further - we became a legit close-knit family. We hung out, we cared for one-another, we shared what was on our hearts and minds, we prayed for each other. What happened, essentially, is that we fell for our family in a big way and it was a beautiful thing.
Lonita, Eric and Bryan are all in their thirties; they all have such positive, Christ-centered spirits. The only family group requirement so far as the tour was concerned was logistical, helping the host count heads. But we transformed into a mini covenant-group and I believe our trip was so much richer and deeper because we were part of a covenant community.
Important: Here's what I want everyone to understand. As human beings, we were created specifically for community. Covenant community is not optional for the life-charged life; meaningful spiritual community is a requirement.
Tomorrow we'll see another side of Cairo. It's not pretty, but the story is an important part of what made this Adventure so special.