25% Trip Completed (Egypt)
I made it safely to Istanbul a few hours ago. So I can say with confidence that 25% of this trip has been completed. Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you to one of you, who blessed my heart and actually sent me their prayer through email while I was in Cairo. It is always an encouragement to know that you are praying for me. I know that some of you even were really worried about this part of the trip, especially my family.
I would like to say that it wasn’t without incident, but you already know about my driving experience. I heard gunshots several times that were nearby where I was and there was also something that sounded like an explosion. I just looked out the window but didn’t go and investigate. Cairo definitely has changed over the years that I have been coming here. This was probably the time that I have seen the most security and the most armed men and vehicles around the city. The city is on edge right now. Each Friday, many stay in their homes because they are afraid of what might happen at any moment. I was able to drive through the square where all of the protests have happened and was amazed at the amount of Army presence that was there. There are also barricades that are ready to be put in place at a moment’s notice. Cairo is an ancient city, where history and architecture are fantastic; however today it is reason for you to be stopped and questioned if you are not in the areas of tourism. Of course in the areas of tourism there is a viable threat to kill any foreigner or tourist that can be captured by the radicals. I made the mistake one time of pointing at something to show my friends and was immediately chastised not to point because that is seen as, a reason for questioning or for you to be viewed as a threat.
The first part of the trip was hearing the stories that have transpired over the last year(s). My friend and our “Man of Peace” lives within visual of Roba Square. He also had much of the activity happen within the area that is right next to his home. Being a Christian in Cairo during this time and even now is not wise. Here are some of the basic facts:
· Actual number of churches destroyed or severely damaged-84
· Last week 4 Christians were killed in Alexandria by having their throats cut.
· There is at least one Christian killed every day throughout Cairo.
· One man that was captured said he was thirsty and they give him “fire water.” This is an acid that destroys from the inside. Then after he was dead, a lady hit him with her sandals and the men then urinated on him.
Please not think that it is only the Muslims that are persecuting the Christians in this region. They are also being persecuted by the Orthodox Churches here in the region. In a local village there is an Orthodox Priest, who for the last 7-8 years has refused to let any Christians into his village. He gets angry when he meets a Christian, he tells the people that “Christians are thieves” and they are threatened to leave. When our “Man of Peace,” who was visiting the area heard this he went and met with the Priest. After the meeting, he told the Priest that now and forever the people of his village are his responsibility and he will be answerable for them to God.
But even with all of things that are happening, over the last 3 years many have become Believers because they know that our God will take care of them. There churches are growing and becoming bolder and many are willing to take a stand for our Lord. I went to church on Sunday evening to a church that I attended before and at first I thought it was smaller, however by the time the service was over, there was not an open seat in the assembly and the walls were lined with Believers.
The reason for this trip was to plan for the future, encourage, reconnect and pray. Although it is not wise for Americans to come into this region for a project, we can still come alongside of the local churches and Believers through our National to National program and assist them. And this is what we were planning for. Overall the trip was a great success. We were able to plan for 3 projects over the rest of this year to villages throughout Egypt and 5-7 projects for next year. I was able to reconnect with our people in this area, to encourage them and to plan possibly to bring one of them to the US to share how God is working in this region. There was also a great deal of training and prayer happening.
If as you read this, you can take a few minutes and pray for the Christians in Egypt, for our “Family of Peace,” and the churches; I know they would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your prayers for me and my family as I finished the first 25% of this trip. Your prayers, I believe is why nothing happened while I was in Egypt and why this part went as smooth as it did.