Gospel in Egypt
Gospel in Egypt
Indigenous workers appreciate prayers of their partners.
Egypt after January 25
The Cairo street attracts and at the same time annoys virtually all human senses… The noisy traffic hits the ears and the polluted air itches the nose and throat. The abuse of horn by local drivers seems to be the peculiar way of acceleration of their vehicles. The eyes are attracted by all sorts of bizarre vehicles including a three wheelers, a horse and donkey carriages, bikers with loads on their heads etc. It seems that most of the cars and minibuses would be fit for exhibits in some museums…
The local Arabs want to earn their living so they shout loud in order to attract the attention of too few tourists. They expose their camels and souvenirs offering stone products, cups, cards, earrings, necklaces etc. They also complain that the revolution of January 25 which successfully swept the ruling regime unfortunately stopped the tourists – their source of income.
On our way across Cairo we pass the prominent Tahrir Square where people demonstrate all the time, day and night. The people have become brave and the security is hiding these days being afraid of the angry crowds. We pass by a burnt down high-rise next to Tahrir which used to be the main office of the ruling party and now shocks with its broken windows and smoked walls. From time to time one can see the other buildings which have been burnt – usually the police stations.
We also travel to see the Cairo Garbage City. This huge district is inhabited by millions of people who are busy involved in recycling all sort of trash. Everywhere is lots of junk and the cars have to slalom through narrow streets trying to make their way forward. The people look very busy, often one can see children working alongside the adults. One feels like inside a huge and weird factory...
The Garbage City provides lots of shocking sights but is also impressive. Especially remarkable is the Cave Church which has been hammered out in the hard rock. Its open air auditorium can seat thousands of people. The walls are decorated with engravings, both pictures and texts in Arabic and English. The services are conducted according to the Coptic Orthodox liturgy.
Baptist witness in Egypt
The multiethnic and socially diverse population of Egypt numbers close to 80 millions. At least 90% of the Egyptians are Muslims and only 10% are Christians, Coptic and Orthodox being the largest groups. The Evangelical believers are the “minority of minority” in Egypt because they comprise only 10% of the Christian margin.
The beginning of Baptist movement in Egypt is usually associated with Rev. Saddik Gerges. He was the first Egyptian Baptist to study theology in the United States, and returned back home in the early 1930’s to start the Baptist ministry in his homeland. Through his efforts many churches were planted.
Today there are 15 Baptist churches in Egypt and many groups which are considered church plants. The small convention that is led by a devout president Rev. Wahba Gayed has become active in seeking to plant new churches. They either send individual full time church planters or teams for the two handed gospel campaigns with the message of the gospel in one hand and social ministry in the other.
I attend a service of the First Baptist Church where Rev. Mounir Malaty, the vice-president of Baptist Convention is the pastor. The service is arranged in the evening because Sunday is a working day and people are usually busy during the day and can attend only in the evening. About 150 are present that night. They sing very well with the accompaniment of an accordion. The singing is really strong and in a way also magnificent. The preaching is in the Egyptian language, of course.
After the service Mounir takes me to the roof of the church building where there is a plan to do some constructions to serve the increasing needs of the youth and children. They have dreamed of doing this for years but were not allowed. Mounir says that they hope to do it with the change of the regime. He and the other leaders ask for prayers that God might give the church wisdom as they plan for the future and provide them with the funds needed for the project. Baptists really see an opportunity for churches to expand their buildings these days - long waited projects which were repeatedly stopped in the past.
Mounir also explains that the convention acquired a piece of land (16 acres) where they plan to erect a conference and training center. They are raising funds in hope that the future center will serve to train so much needed leaders at the turning point of Egypt’s history.
Early in the morning Mounir and I travel to the north through the incredibly jammed by the morning traffic streets of Cairo. We are heading towards Alexandria. The goal of this trip is to visit the indigenous worker. After about two hours of travel we meet the smiling young man who invites us for a breakfast in his home. During breakfast he explains about the work. He is very active in visiting many families who welcome him to their homes.
The method he uses is the so called “Orality Ministry” (a story telling and asking questions). Most of his hearers are simple farmers, some even being illiterate. Usually the whole household is involved in meetings but they don’t invite their neighbors. His wife teaches the children by also telling stories and using some pictures and illustrations. They both have some theological training.
The indigenous worker has shared in his current report:
I visit sixty five families in several villages of the province. In three of the villages I go for regular weekly meetings on Thursday and Friday. We worship at their homes and study the Bible. People accept us however the opposition from the traditional church increases.
One day the Coptic priest requested a man I regularly visit to stop receiving me but he told the priest that he could not cease listening to the God’s word. The owner of this house said to me that he wanted us to continue visiting him.
During the last two months the Lord has blessed us and the number of children has grown from three to over twenty. This is a great success in a community that has a very small Christian minority. I prepared a Biblical teaching and designed some games and competitions which increased their participation.
I am planning to take some of them to a Baptist camp in summer. It will be a good chance for them to meet with other Baptist children. I am praying that the Lord may provide funds for 2 computer sets for the children which may enhance the work. I also keep praying for their parents that they may be open for the Gospel.
Indigenous workers always appreciate prayers of their partners. Here are several prayer requests which have been suggested to us:
Pray that the Evangelical churches may witness boldly and see opportunities for growth in the days to come.
Pray for a revolution in the minds of the Egyptians that they may be able to accept the truth and that the light of the Gospel may disperse the spiritual darkness.
Pray also for wisdom and strength to overcome obstacles in the ministry, including fanaticism that hinders people from listening to the word of God.
Pray for the coming elections of the parliament and the new president, so that those who will be elected may lead the country for a better future.
To help planting reproducing churches!
To help growing healthy churches!
For the glory of God!