During this season of Advent, God is doing something miraculous in the politically turbulent country of Egypt by bringing Egyptians from different backgrounds together to pray and provide for one another’s needs.
Reports out of Egypt state that in November up to 70,000 Egyptian Christians, including those from Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches, gathered to participate in several hours of worship and prayer.
These times of holy togetherness are occurring despite reprisals by the Egyptian military and others against protestors who are seeking a freer voice in the country’s affairs, according to Rev. Naji Umran, a Christian minister who is working in Egypt.
Earlier this month, nearly 90 people were hurt, 28 of them seriously enough to go to a hospital, in clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which has been the center of protests that began earlier this year. The protests in Tahrir Square initially led to the resignation of long-time President Hosni Mubarak. Now protestors are directing their criticism against the military council that succeeded Mubarak.
“There’s something you need to know - and tell others: God is doing something in Egypt. It is a new and wonderful thing: full of wonders in this season of Advent,” Rev. Naji Umran wrote in a letter to friends and supporters in North America. “Who says we are not about to witness a miracle? That is faithlessness. But pray for this country. Pray for all Egyptians. Pray as we are: God’s will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Egyptians are currently starting a process of elections to form a new parliament. At the same time, the atmosphere of the country remains tense.
“The process Egypt is using, spread over a period of weeks, has citizens vote regionally, with run-off secondary elections planned, and so that stations and judges can move from place to place, to properly monitor the elections, despite small numbers of officials compared to Egypt’s total population,” wrote Umran.
After these elections are over, Egyptians will be selecting from presidential candidates, a new constitution will be formed (or the old one edited) and a transition of power will have to take place.
Umran moved to Egypt three months ago with his wife, Anne Zaki, who is coordinator of Middle East Ministry for the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice. The couple is often asked by people they meet why they returned to Egypt at a time when, since the beginning of the year, thousands of Egyptians, including many Christians, have left the country.
“Almost daily we are asked by the people we meet, on the street and in the church, why we are resettling here in Egypt now," Umran wrote. "We feel that this is God giving us an opportunity to testify to Him and encourage them. So pray that God would give us a good answer for those who ask us about how/why we walk by faith.”
Overall, he writes, “God has been incredibly faithful to us. He has kept us safe, provided for all of our family’s needs and given us a well-established network of supportive family and friends both here and in Canada/America. We are so thankful for His and your generosity to us in too many ways to count or mention here.”
(Photo of a cross in an Egyptian cemetery courtesy of khowaga1/Flickr.)