Here is some up to date news from Egypt from Ramez Atallah who is Chairman of Scripture Union in Egypt and General Director of the Bible Society of Egypt
December 17th, 2011
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
For many centuries Egyptians have been proud that when God’s Son needed refuge He came to their land for shelter and security.
Today, as the bright sunshine of the Arab Spring is being overshadowed by darkening clouds of the Arab Fall, many Christians and moderate Muslims are seeking to flee from Egypt for freedom.
ISLAMIST PARTIES’ GAINS
You will undoubtedly have heard that the Islamists have made significant gains in the recent first round of Parliamentary elections. This was expected but has, nevertheless, discouraged many who made great efforts to vote and somehow hoped that the non-Islamist candidates and parties would have made greater gains. Nonetheless, many believe that the next two rounds of elections will not be as favourable for the Islamists. A host of smaller parties are joining forces to counteract the Islamist takeover.
Many wonder why the Islamist parties have gotten a majority of the votes. There are several possible reasons:
• The recent Egyptian “Revolution” was against the oppression of President Mubarak’s regime, so it is logical that people would want to vote for those who were most oppressed by the former government.
• A more convincing argument is that the Islamists have campaigned on only one issue: restoring Egypt to God’s laws. Since Egyptians are one of the most religious people in the world this platform has tremendous appeal with the masses that trust these leaders to provide them with a decent life and help them get to heaven.
Before you claim that this is naïve, think of how keen Christians in your country are to vote for a Christian candidate!
GOD AT WORK
Rather than focus on the many economic, social, political, cultural and religious problems which Egyptians are struggling with, I want to share with you some remarkable news of unprecedented breakthroughs for the Gospel.
29 years ago my wife, Rebecca, began ministering with an unknown Coptic Priest who was serving the despised and neglected Garbage Collectors of Cairo. On November 11th the largest prayer meeting in the history of the Middle East took place at the Garbage Village’s Cave Church complex with more than 50,000 people from all denominations and all walks of life praying for Egypt. We are hearing dozens of stories of healings and spiritual transformation which took place among those who attended this 12 hour event or even among those who watched it on satellite TV. With all the sanctified imagination she could muster, there is no way that when Rebecca first began ministering with Father Simon could she have imagined such an event taking place. You can see it on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgch-bXGHLI&feature=BFa&list=PLCF7073A8355407F6&lf=plpp_video
During the fighting which took place in the vicinity of Liberation Square recently, the nearby hospital was damaged. Kasr El Doubara (KDC) Evangelical Church which is also nearby established a “hospital” on its premises which was manned, among others, by Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood doctors and nurses! This was picked up by the media, and when interviewed, these Islamists said how welcome and loved they felt serving in that Church hospital!
Last night I attended the opening service for a Church around the corner from my home. This is the first time since the 1950s that a Protestant Church has opened in the suburb where I live!
Last month the Bible Society bought a shop in the Giza district of Cairo (with 7 million inhabitants and 115 Churches) which we are renovating as a Bible bookshop. It will be the first Christian bookshop in Giza.
Last week we finished rebuilding the roof of the new Bible Society national distribution center (warehouse) and are hoping it will be in operation by the summer.
As you know, the objective of our “Rebuild Egypt” campaign was “To flood Egypt with God’s Word.” We began with highlighting Biblical values which resonated with the aspirations of the Egyptian youth. As the situation in Egypt has progressed and regressed, we have become increasingly more focused on equipping the church, seeking to encourage and assure people not to fear the future, but to trust in the Lord. You can follow news of this campaign on http://www.rebuild-egypt.org
THE ANTIDOTE TO FEAR
In the opening service of the new church close to us, the pastor preached on the fact that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). He went on to explain that true believers should not fear. The best antidote to fear, he said, is love. We do not fear those we love. So the solution is to love those we fear! What a message for Christians in Egypt today!!
With warm greetings,
The Bible Society of Egypt