Despite attacks on Coptic monasteries last week and demonstrations by Christians against the governor in Upper Egypt on Saturday, missionaries assisted by Christian Aid Mission here say they remain upbeat and hopeful about the future.
A steady stream of positive reports from indigenous ministry leaders is coming to Rae Burnett, Africa Director for Christian Aid Mission. “Christian missions are definitely on the move in Egypt, and they need our prayers and help,” she says.
“They are asking us to pray for the future leadership of the country. There are deep concerns over who will rule Egypt next. The door will be open to all political and religious ideologies, including extremists. Some Christians are concerned that the new regime may be even more restrictive than under Mubarak.”
“Our desire,” writes one ministry leader, “is to spread the Word of God in Egypt!” He said native missionaries are working in their homes to create Gospel cassettes, tracts and fliers which address the themes of the demonstrators from a biblical perspective.
“Communications have been re-established. Grateful indigenous missionary ministry leaders are sending a flood of thanks for global prayer and financial support, and they are letting us know how we can help them go forward from here,” says Burnett.
Emergency funds are needed for burial aid, clothing, food, medical treatment and security items such as fencing and repairs to damaged doors, windows and walls. Prices have skyrocketed since the upheaval. Missionary sponsorships are available to provide regular monthly support badly need by gospel workers who live by faith. Contact email@example.com if you would like to sponsor a native Egyptian missionary.
Contributions may be sent to the headquarters of Christian Aid in Charlottesville, Virginia at www.ChristianAid.org or by calling 800-977-5650 to make credit card contributions.
Burnett says that one of the most active mission teams in Cairo is moving ahead on four fronts: (1) helping the poor by giving them clothes, food, money for medical attention, or any other practical assistance they can; (2) joining Muslim neighbors in neighborhood clean-up and joint security efforts.
These efforts open doors for them to be able to (3) provide cassette tapes with a biblical interpretation of current events to their fellow Egyptians; (4) publish and distribute a new series of biblical tracts and pamphlets based on the themes and aspirations of the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, as Burnett travels in Africa in March, she is in communication with indigenous missionaries throughout the North African region to collect accurate reports of damage and injuries for the Christian Aid Emergency Fund to Help Needy Christians in Arabic-speaking Lands (Gift Code 500-IUCN).
Serious security concerns continue. With the fall of the Mubarak regime and Army take-over of security, Christians are hoping that the organized anti-Christian violence of the Christmas and New Year period has ceased.
“The events that happened have created good links between Christians and Muslims, as neighbors stood together to protect homes and families” says one leading native missionary. “This enables us to share the good news of Christ’s message with them.”
Each night, when security breaks down in the neighborhoods, the ministry workers help Christian and Muslim men work together to set up barricades and road blocks to protect their area from roaming gangs of criminals. “There is no safety yet,” says the missionary leader, “there is a lack of police presence and 15,000 escaped prisoners, many of them terrorists, are still roaming the streets.”
During the day, he says that the mission has organized five community service programs to: (1) Clean streets, repair damages and restore buildings defaced in the riots and demonstrations; (2) Publish and distribute tracts calling on the population to display moral behavior; (3) Collecting and distributing food and clothes for the poor; (4) Exhort and encourage people to trust God for safety; (5) Individually distribute Bibles, evangelistic booklets and share the gospel one on one.
International tourism has, of course, shut down, greatly harming the economy. The famous Arab Book Fair held every January in Cairo has been postponed, not only in Egypt but also in Bahrain, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen, which are all facing civil unrest. This has traditionally been the most public opportunity native missionaries have to distribute Arabic Christian books for the whole region.
“Pray for wisdom and creativity as to how to provide the appropriate message. We are planning several strategies,” says a missionary leader who must remain anonymous for security reasons.
“Because we know you are standing with us to reach Egyptians with the gospel, we unashamedly ask you to help us financially during this time of crisis and opportunity. We do not want to let our people down. But, we cannot begin producing and distributing all these materials before we have the financial help to do it.
“Please pray for anointed creativity and effective approaches to spread God’s Word in Egypt,” concludes the Egyptian evangelical leader.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN AID: Founded in 1953 by Bob Finley, Christian Aid Mission currently supports over 796 indigenous mission agencies from headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia. These missions work among 3000 language groups in 122 countries, deploying over 80,000 native missionaries. They preach the gospel and demonstrate God’s love in areas where foreign missionaries are no longer allowed to go. For more news about the indigenous mission’s movement, contact Bill Bray, a retired foreign correspondent who assists the mission in development and communications, at 434-227-0811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EGYPT AND AFRICAN UPDATES: To directly contact Rae Burnett, African director for Christian Aid, call 434-977-5650 or email email@example.com