I KNOW I STILL OWE SOME SEGMENTS FROM MY CUBA TRIP LAST JANUARY! I have been traveling a bit and time has been flying by and I have simply not been able to sit and write. But this post is so important for the Christians in Egypt that I knew I simply needed to sit down and make myself get it out.
TROUBLES IN EGYPT
If you have been watching the news about Egypt you know that the political atmosphere there is explosive…literally. In the midst of the Muslim upheaval, the Christian church is caught in the crossfire. I have received numerous emails and updates from people I know there and all are in great need for our prayers. There have been more than 50 Christian (Coptic) churches burned and many Christians attacked. The stark realization of the violence was described by Ravi Zacharias in his RZIM August newsletter:
“The prolonged nationwide disruption and brutality of those supposedly just staging a “sit-in” are horrific. How can anyone so destroy their own country and kill their own people and murder minorities and still claim to be for the democratic process? The tragedy is beyond description.”
Perhaps for a more complete understanding of the situation, reading from people on the ground in Egypt will help us in the U.S. to understand more than what we will read or hear from our American media.
The situation now in Egypt is not good; there is more violence and destruction than the news is covering. Most of the violence is close to where my family and I live, but thankfully we have all been out of Cairo. Please be praying for Egypt and especially the churches and Christian buildings that have been torched. Many of our church leaders’ homes and churches are in danger. We really need all of your prayers now. However, we trust in God and we believe He will do miraculous things in Egypt. The hostilities and confrontations have been going on in Egypt for months now and we pray that there is a swift and peaceful end to them.
In the past 6 weeks the Muslim Brotherhood has occupied a number of public spaces, to demonstrate for the reinstatement of the former President (currently being held by the army and facing charges related to abuse of power, including substantial material and intelligence support to Hamas). Unlike the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square by demonstrators in January 2011, and again at the end of June 2013, these Muslim Brotherhood occupations were dominated by calls for violence against the army, the police, the liberals and, specifically, the Coptic Christians in Egypt – all resulting in the violence witnessed on August 14th, when police stations, hospitals, private and public property were destroyed. Many Christian churches (at least 40 so far), homes and businesses were also attacked, as well as a monastery, three religious societies, three key bookshops belonging to the Bible Society in Egypt, three Christian schools and an orphanage.
For the complete commentary from SAT-7 written by Dr. Terence Ascott, CEO and Founder, SAT-7 International, go to https://www.sat7usa.org/understanding-the-present-situation-in-egypt?srctid=1&erid=144131&trid=f5168b62-25d9-4187-93eb-9b8e74d6ffed. (Photos from SAT-7)
MY CONCERN IS THE CHURCH
I know that the troubles in Egypt seem far away and you may think that they have nothing to do with us here in the U.S. Well on a political front, we (the U.S.) are intertwined with Egypt in many ways and our relationship with this country that is a mighty force in the ME is in jeopardy. If Egypt were to collapse or turn totally radical Muslim, the U.S. would certainly be impacted if the Suez Canal were to be closed or the oil pipelines were shut down. I don’t even pretend to know all the intricacies of that relationship but Egypt is an important ally in the ME who we need as a friend and not as an enemy. Abraham Lincoln stated, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
But the reason for our interest in Egypt needs to go way beyond political concerns. As Christian, we are called to be supporters, encouragers and prayer partners for our fellow Christians around the world. Christians are dying friends, and they are suffering at the hands of those that oppose Christ and the Gospel. When one of us suffers, all of us should feel the suffering. When a Christian suffers for Christ, Christ suffers. Romans 15:1-7 says to us:
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
So with these verses in mind, may I ask that you remember our brothers and sisters in Egypt in your prayers? As Christians, we are one body under our Lord, whether it is in America or the Middle East or in a remote part of the globe. When we pray for our fellow Christians, we are honoring Christ.
…`I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
PLEASE PRAY THAT:
- The current violence in Egypt (and all of the MENA region) will end soon.
- The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens, Christian and Muslin alike.
- There will be effective protection of the Christians, Christian churches and other property against attacks by extremists.
- Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably.
- Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to grow in an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country.
*A NOTE ABOUT SAT-7 (From their website): Since the first program aired in 1996, SAT-7 broadcasts have brought quality Christian television programming directly into millions of homes throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). SAT-7 airs 5 channels in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish languages to a known audience of over 15 million viewers! In a region characterized by high illiteracy rates, media censorship, and limited incomes, anyone with a satellite dish can turn on SAT-7 and hear the Word of God in his or her language.
Overseas Council is partnering with SAT-7 in a new initiative to bring Theological Education
to remote parts of the Middle East and North Africa through satellite transmission and long-distance mentoring.
For more information about this partnership go to http://overseas.org/our-work/programs/teach/.