Egyptian Missionaries Hopeful
Starting to Rebuild for the Future
March 6, 2011
In 2008, Africa Director Rae Burnett visited Bible School students in Egypt, some of whom are in touch with her now.
Violent government crackdowns on demonstrations continue in some North African countries this week. In Egypt, long-time Dictator/President Mubarak has been forced to resign. Native missionaries are concerned about the country's unpredictable future.
A steady stream of 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 ask 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. 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.
Burnett says that one of the most active mission teams 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 two 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 tracts and pamphlets biblically based on the themes and aspirations of the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, as Burnett travels in Africa in February and 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 Christian books in Egypt.
"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."
ABOUT CHRISTIAN AID MISSION: Founded by Bob Finley in 1953, Christian Aid is your link to indigenous missions. Today, it sends help to 796 indigenous ministries that deploy over 80,000 missionary workers serving the Lord among 3000 tribes and nations. Prayerline, a monthly prayer guide, lists a daily prayer request form indigenous ministries spreading the gospel. It is sent free to all who contribute to Christian Aid.
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