By Tom Doyle
Despite the non-stop stream of bad news from a nation falling apart at the seams, there is also good news in Egypt that isn’t getting reported by the mainstream media: we are currently seeing some significant gains in the Body of Christ, all of which is happening in response to the prayers of God’s people.
At the 2011 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, I’m looking forward to moderating a panel on how to pray for the people of the Middle East. In the meantime, Joel asked me to update friends and supporters of The Joshua Fund on what I’m seeing in Egypt, and I’m happy to do so.
I was just in Egypt one month ago and in some of the villages south of Cairo the poverty level was some of the worst that I have ever seen anywhere -- worse than in India, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon. But you would not know that these committed Jesus followers have a care in their life. Their worship was passionate and their love for Jesus was overwhelming to see.
Actually, many ministries in that Biblical country are seeing God moving in very powerful ways in recent years. Egyptians are coming to faith in Christ, growing in their faith, pastors are being trained and encouraged, and the Church as a whole is growing. One ministry, for example, saw some 3,100 people pray to receive Christ and numerous churches planted throughout the country in 2010 alone. An medical ministry team serving in Egypt recently saw over 100 people become followers of Jesus. And these young national believers are committed to reaching even the most remote villages with the Gospel and to also leave behind a life-giving church that disciples the believers. God is clearly moving powerfully in the land of the Pharaohs.
We have been talking with friends and allies in Egypt during this new political and economic crisis and they are thankful for all the prayers of believers from around the world. Please continue to pray for their families and the rest of the great young leaders who have been discipled and are now church leaders in Egypt. Nine of our Egyptian workers went to prison last year for sharing Christ. But by God’s grace and the prayers of the saints, they were released soon after and remain deeply committed to serving the Lord. They thank God for the persecution and tell us: "When we believers are persecuted we go underground, and while we are there our roots grow strong and healthy. We then emerge more fit to be Christ's ambassadors and more willing to stand firm in the midst of the persecution."
Many of the believers are calling the church to more prayer and fasting all throughout Egypt. Let’s join them.
No one is sure how this will all turn out in Egypt, except our faithful God of course. We do pray however that the vacuum of leadership does not result in a Muslim terrorist group like the Muslim Brotherhood from taking over the country. This would destabilize the Middle East, North Africa, and eventually the entire world. This would also be catastrophic for believers in Egypt.
The Egyptian believers send you their love as they seek to bring glory to our Great God in Egypt's hour of need. "H" just said over the phone to me: "We praise God for what He is doing in Egypt. Do you realize that though the news coverage there are probably more people praying for Egypt right now than ever before in the history of the nation? We are confident that God will use these prayers to build up His church in Egypt and to bring many who are frustrated and sick of religion straight into the arms of Jesus." Now that's some perspective.
Please pray with us for Egypt and the rest of the Middle East that more good news will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead!
Tom Doyle is Vice President and Middle East Director for e3 Partners, and the author of several books on the Church in the Middle East, including Breakthrough! The Return of Hope to the Middle East