Shalom from Jerusalem!
Here are a few updates about our recent trip to Egypt and the ministry work that is taking place in the country.
We just got back from Egypt after a seven-day trip. It was so amazing to see once again the faithfulness of our God. We traveled with six people from Israel and met with more people in Egypt. We drove down to the border, Taba, and after we entered Egypt, we took a shared Taxi to meet our friends near the airport in Cairo.
On the day that we had to cross the Sinai, the roads were closed due to the wind and the sand storms. After waiting for two hours, we crossed the desert with sand blowing on the roads. The Lord kept us. We changed our taxi after we crossed the Suez Canal and the Lord gave us an opportunity to witness to some of the people in the new taxi. After we met our friends in Egypt, we drove to the airport to meet some more people arriving from the US, Holland, and Lebanon, and then we went to a city in the south of Egypt. All in all, we travelled about 20 hours to reach the south from the time we left Jerusalem. It was truly a different world to see people living as they did hundreds of years ago – farming with animals and living with their livestock.
On our first night in the southern city of Egypt we went to a village with police escorting us (for our own safety), and we preached in a church building which was full of people who had come to see these strangers from another planet. Most of the pastors wore a suit and a tie and dressed differently from their flock. The first night we visited a church where the children were very noisy. The next night I preached in a church where I was able to get the children involved a little during the service. I taught them English “1,2,3” and the Arabic Yashua (Jesus) Akbar. Muslims say: “Allah Akbar,” meaning “Allah is the Greatest.” After the meeting, the children and I were still singing the Yashua song. We preached the gospel in many churches and tried to make it relevant for their lives. Sometimes when we visit other cultures we don’t know how to adapt, and we end up speaking a totally different message. We stayed in a Christian conference center where I met a pastor who is involved in house churches. He told me that the churches need audio bibles, as there are many illiterate people in Egypt – so this is a matter for prayer. There are some missions that can supply audio Bibles, but they are very expensive.
A brother told me that a Bible teacher came from the US and told him how to witness to Muslims, but it turned out to be an ineffectual method. I encouraged him to continue evangelizing one on one because it’s more effective that way. The next day I preached in a church consisting of mostly women. The food in Egypt is not very good. A few people from our group got sick, but we ate in the homes of believers and saw great hospitality. We never got sick from eating with believers, but we did get sick from eating at restaurants. This particular evening, before we went to a meeting, a group of women came to the place where we were staying, and Walid translated for me. I was able to present the gospel and give them New Testaments. We bought bibles from the Bible Society to distribute to the people we met on our travels and also to the police that was escorting us. The last meeting in the village was one of the best. As I preached, Walid interpreted for me, and I spoke about the paralyzed man let down from the roof. Once in a while Walid would say, “1,2,3” and the children would say “Yashua Akbar.” They really enjoyed this part of the service. The next day we split up, and we went to Cairo with my small group where we bought some more bibles from the Bible Society. Most of our group was not feeling well, but some still went to the Garbage City. We asked for directions and ended up getting lost, but that too was an opportunity to give literature to a young man who helped us. My glasses also broke, and we went to an optician’s office where they fixed them for free. We gave them a gift and the NT. The taxi dropped us of at a Coptic church built on a rock, and it was really amazing. The minister is an evangelical Copt, and we listened to his message on the cross and we heard repentance and faith; it was really amazing. At the end the minister prayed for some people and among them were Muslims. We got to give them NTs. This is against the Law of man but not our God. We took the bus back to our hotel, and we met some people on the way and handed out some literature. That’s what we did for the next few days: walking, traveling by bus, metro, and meeting people and handing out literature.
There is great openness in Egypt but the churches are very weak and need good teaching. Pray that many good books will be translated into Arabic. Maybe you or your church can sponsor such a book, which we can give to the pastors so that they can be encouraged in their ministry.
We hope to return to Egypt in a few months and organize more gospel meetings but we also want to have some meetings for the pastors so that we can encourage them in their feeding of their sheep.
Also if you can get any audio Arabic Bible players or know someone who can help, let us know.
Next week is Passover and we have a special service. On April 1st -3rd we go to the New Age Festival to evangelize with a small group of eight people. We will meet many young Israelis there, but there will also be opposition. Please pray that we will be able to have many good conversations and that we can give out lots of literature.
Antony and Dona