Brian and Jeleta Eckheart were working for Frontiers in Egypt. Matt from our RAW Mission podcast, interviewed them about one particularly challenging time:
Brian – It all started when the police came in the middle of the night, raiding homes of two or three of our team members. We were holding many copies of a contextualised Bible translation that we had smuggled into the country.
The Lord had told me earlier in the day that the police were going to come for me that night. I just knew it was going to happen. I told Jeleta, and I even went out and bought magazines and newspapers because I knew I was going to need something to read while I was detained with the police.
Jeleta – They took Brian away that night. They came in and searched our flat, but we had moved the Bibles to another part of the city. They told us Brian was being taken to the police station around the corner and he’d be back in the morning. I knew he wouldn’t.
I heard nothing for 48 hours until I got a call in the middle of the night. It was Brian, who said, “If you hand in the books, then they say they will let me go.”
Brian - And they said that if she didn’t get them, that they were going to arrest Jaleta too.
Jeleta – It was two o'clock in the morning and I was in the house by myself with our one-year-old so I called some teammates. One came and stayed with our son and another came with me in a taxi. I don't know if this is true, but I have often wondered whether the taxi driver was an angel, because he drove slower than everybody else. That meant we could see that we were being followed because there was only one other car going as slow as we were. They stayed on our tail for 30 minutes. I was so grateful that we knew we were being followed because we didn't want anybody to see where we were going. We changed taxis and did some walking. God intervened and we were able to get the books and bring them back without revealing the location where they were stored.
Brian - They held me in the secret police headquarters for the first several days. They didn't mistreat us physically but played a lot of mind games with us - sleep deprivation and so on. In the secret police headquarters there were torture floors and we saw and heard what was going on there. That was quite sobering and scary. Although we were never mistreated physically we constantly wondered if we would be.
After those interrogations, we were transferred to a prison on the outskirts of Cairo. We were facing five-year sentences. Proselytising was the main charge as we were trying to see people come to faith. I think they fully intended to keep us five years until the Lord used the US government to intervene and get us released.
You can hear the full story on our RAW Mission podcast (geni.us/rawmission)