Letter: News from Egyptian Christians

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This letter comes from the Bible Society of Egypt. Hopefully you will find it helpful in understanding the increasingly complicated situation in Egypt and in knowing what to pray for all Egyptians.

 

"Dear friends,

The very fact that until the announcement on Sunday June 24th, Egyptians had no idea who would be declared President, is proof of the remarkable change that has taken place in our country since the January 2011 Revolution!

President Mohammad Morsi (who was the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate) is facing incredible challenges …

  • He needs to satisfy the aspirations of right-wing Muslims who dream of applying Islamic Sharia law in both belief and practice in all areas of private and public life.
  • On the other hand he needs to demonstrate to moderate Muslims and Christians (up to 30% of the population) that he will champion freedom of expression and equal rights for all Egyptians regardless of creed or political affiliation.
  • He has already declared that the army should relinquish some of the Presidential powers it appropriated just days before his election.  But he must avoid a showdown (the first of which he seems to have lost upon demanding the reinstatement of the dissolved Parliament).
  • He must quickly appease the masses by beginning to solve some of the endemic economic, employment and supply crises which are escalating at an alarming rate.

While his election was a shock for most Christians, many are relieved that the tensions and violence which could have resulted if he were not elected have been averted.  It’s now high time to “Rebuild Egypt” but we still need to draft a constitution and re-elect a Parliament!  Many fear that this process will distract us from tackling the complex immediate issues facing the nation. 

As the new president tries to work with diametrically opposed aspirations of the different groups, Christians wonder what the future holds and where the priorities will be. In the next 2-3 decades Egypt may be very different than we know it today. Decisions by the new leadership on questions related to a civil state, true democracy, freedom of religion, and rights of minorities are worrying to many.

Staff at Giza Bookshop opening 6

In the midst of these dramatic changes, the work of the Bible Society continues.  Last week, we opened our new bookshop in Giza, the world's 2nd largest suburb!  There is no other Christian bookshop on the streets of this governorate of 7 million people. We praise God and are grateful for your prayers and support which made possible the establishment of a permanent resource center in this greater Cairo metropolitan area.

Our seasonal outlets have opened as well and will continue to operate until the end of the summer, making God's Word easily accessible to thousands of people who need the Good News of the Love of God. Praise God for our children's programs that will be serving half a million children this year!  The summer Bible Competition for 100,000 young children is focusing on the Gospel of Mark and other Bible stories emphasizing God's sovereignty and love (things that are very much needed these days).  Kingo Festivals are going strong, encouraging 200,000 children in practical Biblical values with lots of fun, drama and music.

How we want you to pray for us:

  • Pray that we in the Bible Society will continue to think of creative and appropriate ways to place God’s Word in the Egyptian marketplace and in the hearts of those who seek God.
  • Pray that Christians, instead of yearning to flee Egypt, will boldly choose to remain and be a vibrant witness and influence for good in their needy nation.
  • Pray for the Coptic Orthodox Church as they seek God’s will for a new Patriarch.  (The majority of Egyptian Christians have felt bereft of leadership since the death of Pope Shenouda in March)
  • Pray that moderate Muslims will be able to resist being forced to submit to the right-wing Islamist agenda. If they are able to resist, there is a much better chance that Christians also will continue to maintain many of the freedoms they now enjoy.

Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers and financial support which mean more than words can express.

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Ramez Atallah

General Director

The Bible Society of Egypt

http://www.rebuild-egypt.org/

www.bsoe.org"

Posted in: Global Mission; Discussion Topic

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Comments

Egypt is a powder keg ready to explode and the Christian community there stands to lose the most when it happens. The economy is run by the military. Expecting the military to give up control either economically or politically is not likely to happen anytime soon or in a peaceable way. Why should it? They have control of all the levers that run everything in this society. The recent dissolution of the democratically elected parliament, by a supposed judicial decision, shows how empty and powerless the new President and his government really is and how all powerful the military is. This is where our prayers should be, like Syria, things can go very wrong, very fast when the Egyptian people realize how their being played by the military. They are figuring it out. Our prayers need to be for the Christians in this society that they don’t end up on the wrong side of events when everything hits the fan. This will take a miracle. The Christian community in Iraq was virtually destroyed by the war there. The Christian community in Syria is, for the most part, in support of the Alawite Syrians who have ruled the country for the past forty some years. If the Syrian rebels take control, the Syrian Christians there stand to lose big. Pray that divine wisdom will be given to the Christians of Egypt so they can successfully walk the very dangerous political tight rope they have found themselves on.

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