Ahmed* sat alone in a village apartment more than a three-hour drive from his wife and two young children at their home in Cairo, Egypt.
“The devil has defeated me; I have fallen into adultery and committed many sins,” he told a local missionary.
The 43-year-old man raised in a nominally Christian family had moved away from his wife and children to take a job in a pharmacy in the village, unnamed for security reasons. It was the only work he could find in Egypt’s battered economy.
The distance from Cairo didn’t keep his wife from learning of his increasingly wayward life through relatives and other contacts.
“I lost the work, and my wife knew all of what I was doing,” he said. “She left the family home and went to live with her parents. She also asked for divorce.”
He was talking with a local missionary who had involved him in a job skills training course the worker was leading. Ahmed said he was miserable and had ruined his life.
The local missionary scheduled regular prayer time with the trainees. In the course of praying and training, he had various opportunities to talk with trainees about Christ’s atoning death and resurrection. Ahmed learned not only about mobile phone maintenance but about knowing God.
“The training was really great, but what was more important was meeting Jesus in the spiritual times we used to spend daily,” Ahmed said. “God touched my heart, and I have repented for all what I was doing. I pray to restore the relationship with my wife and to rebuild my family again. I also pray to start new work in my village with the skill I have gained, and not to be away from my family anymore.”
Word and Deed
The local ministry’s staff members are trained to minister to the whole person – physical, mental and spiritual needs.
Amid rampaging poverty vocational training is especially important, and local missionaries have taken special care to help young adults enter the job market amid the coronavirus pandemic, the leader of the ministry based in Egypt said. Taking all precautionary measures, local missionaries helped 115 young men and women to attain job skills such as computer training over a period of six months.
The trainings took place both at the ministry center and in the neighborhoods of the poor. The ministry’s micro-enterprise loans also have helped widows and struggling families survive the pandemic.
“The Word of God is being proclaimed and taught, and many young men and women received Jesus in their hearts and worked within their vocation after completing the training,” the leader said. “The ministry as a whole demonstrates the love of God in word and deed. We serve the poor people, and we care about the human being as a whole.”
As COVID-19 spread earlier this year, the ministry distributed 3,109 food packs to impoverished families who saw their livelihood disappear, he said. The poor also received blankets and other relief aid.
“The heads of those families had lost their work,” the leader said. “The village workers shared in distributing packs of food to those families, which had a very touching impact on them.”
Before the coronavirus spread widely, local missionaries were able to arrange eight medical outreaches, with specialized volunteer doctors treating the illnesses of 587 people who had no other access to health care, he said. Amid the pandemic, they arrange for medical care as they are able.
At a time when many private clinics and even hospitals in Egypt maxed out their capacity or had to close due to the pandemic, another native ministry’s mission hospital was able to sustain emergency services for people in need of varying specialty treatment.
“Health care in Egypt has experienced a great shock by the pandemic,” the leader of the native ministry said. “Many patients were tremendously happy for the help given for their pain and anxiety, especially when they had been refused at other places – this was especially true for patients in our ICU and in the dental clinic.”
As an officially recognized mission hospital, doctors and nurses along with other local missionaries have many opportunities to share Christ and Scripture, he said.
Physical abuse of women is common in Egypt, with many driven from their homes while others fall prey to trafficking rings, and local missionaries counsel and help them restore their lives. The first-mentioned native ministry has begun providing a shelter for women who have been trafficked or otherwise involved in prostitution but needs assistance to complete its construction.
“We will make three flats for the women, and we finished one flat,” the leader said. “We need to finish a second flat in order to receive more girls. It is expected that from eight to 10 girls will stay in every flat. We need to make the internal finishing and equipping the flat to be ready for the girls to stay in.”
Local missionaries present the gospel in all their activities, he said.
“We could see other people coming to faith because they have seen the change of their relatives and neighbors,” he said. “Relationships have been restored between spouses, parents started to deal respectfully with their children, listening and encouraging them.”
Native-born workers throughout the country are seeing such fruit from their labors. Please consider a donation today to enable them to bring the love of Christ to poor and suffering people.
*Name changed for security reasons