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EGYPT: More Churches Approved

EGYPT: More Churches Approved

A committee has been working through applications to legalise unlicensed churches in Egypt after a law was passed in 2016 to expedite the process. Last year, over 1,000 churches received official approval.

Fortunately, the process has continued and, as a result, more applications have been granted. On 2 April, another 74 churches were legalised, bringing the total now to 1,568 out of the 3,730 submitted applications.

Until the 2016 legislation, it was nearly impossible for churches to obtain required licensing to build or restore a building, resulting in a large number of unlicensed structures.

Sources: Church in Chains, Watani

  • Praise God for this favourable development.
  • Pray that the committee will be equipped to continue their work of clearing up the backlog, so that churches still awaiting approval will have the needed documentation to continue in ministry.
  • Pray that Christians throughout Egypt find ways to effectively reach out with the Gospel of Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

EGYPT: Christian Woman Kidnapped, Converted

EGYPT: Christian Woman Kidnapped, Converted

An Egyptian Christian woman, Rania Abd al-Meseh, was kidnapped on 23 April by two veiled women in Monufia Governorate. A video began circulating three days later of Rania announcing that she has converted to Islam.

The video has been met with alarm by several Christians, who observe that her body language during the video appears that she is under great stress and saying the words under duress.

Rania is the mother of three daughters and her social media accounts show frequent posting of Christian material. Her brother Remon told local media that, “My sister was wearing the cross necklace and left home. If she was wanting to convert to Islam, she would have left the necklace at home.”

Christian women are often kidnapped in Egypt by extremists who force them to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. It is difficult to bring these women home – should their return be facilitated – and resume life as before because of the regional honour-shame culture.

In some cases, Christian women do indeed convert and marry Muslim men of their own free will, oftentimes further complicating these problems. Many impacted families do not feel the police seriously investigate these kidnappings nor hold the abductors accountable. The police often credit it to a misunderstanding or situation created by the woman’s own free will.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray the Lord will strengthen, uphold and protect Rania and her family. May the truth of the situation be brought to light.
  • Pray for justice for women kidnapped in Egypt and ask that the Lord will bring a cultural change to allow victims of this crime to be treated with care, respect and sympathy.
  • Pray for the protection of women across Egypt. Pray the authorities will do more to uphold the rights of the vulnerable.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Providing Medical and Spiritual Care in Egypt

Providing Medical and Spiritual Care in Egypt

Voice of the Martyrs, together with our partners in Egypt, is funding mobile medical clinics for Christians suffering from persecution and poverty in Egypt. This specialised medical project provides much-needed assistance for five villages, where Christians, including Muslim background believers (MBBs), face discrimination and oppression in Muslim-dominated areas.

The medical team includes specialists in abdominal, paediatrics, dermatology, gynaecology, ENT and ophthalmology.

Providing medical care for these believers not only assists those suffering from illness or injury but is also an opportunity to provide spiritual encouragement.

Mohammed and his wife Zainab are MBBs. They were both suffering from digestive complaints and came to the medical clinic in search of relief. One of our contacts warmly received them at the clinic, where they were diagnosed and given medicine to help in their recovery.

Mohammed was amazed by the love and care he and Zainab received at the clinic. Whilst there, he felt encouraged to share with our partner some of the struggles they have faced as new Christians.

After putting their trust in Christ, they longed to learn more about their new faith and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. They had not found a church which was open to them. In Egypt, some established churches are fearful and suspicious of former Muslims, not believing their conversions are genuine and scared that they want to infiltrate the church in order to harm the members. Mohammed and Zainab found the lack of welcome discouraging; they felt isolated and alone.

Upon hearing this, our contact invited Mohammed and Zainab to come to his church, where they found the warm and welcoming fellowship they craved. They now attend church regularly and have gone on to join one of the discipleship groups associated with the church.

Mohammed and Zainab recently told our contact that since coming to the clinic, their lives have changed completely. Mohammad has asked whether he may volunteer at the medical clinic when it next comes to their village in order to extend the love he and Zainab have received.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

Issa’s Story

Issa’s Story

Issa, a Muslim background believer, left Islam for Christianity two years ago. Filled with zeal for his new faith, he decided to inform his family about his commitment to follow Christ. Outraged by his confession, they started to beat him. In the scuffle, they noticed Issa had drawn a cross on his wrist, similar to the tattoos worn by Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians. Seeing this caused further anger and, as a result, one of Issa’s brothers sliced Issa’s wrist and severed his artery.

In fear, Issa fled the house and took himself to hospital. After receiving preliminary first aid, he fled to Upper Egypt, fearing his family would pursue him. Still suffering from his wound, he heard about VOM’s mobile medical clinics and went for treatment. There one of the surgeons provided him with the comprehensive care he needed and he has since recovered.

Please pray for Issa’s continued protection. Pray that he will be an effective witness for the Gospel. Pray too for his family, that they will come to know the message of salvation through Christ.

Voice of the Martyrs, together with our partners in Egypt, is funding mobile medical clinics for Christians suffering from persecution and poverty in Egypt.

Providing medical care for these believers not only assists those suffering from illness or injury but is also an opportunity to provide spiritual encouragement.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

ARAJ: The Cost of  Following Christ

ARAJ: The Cost of Following Christ

Araj, 16, was living with her parents and three sisters in Upper Egypt. Her parents’ marriage had not been a happy one. They used to spend much of their time arguing with one another and eventually separated.

Araj’s mother, Malli, left the marriage and along with her four daughters moved to another area. The family struggled with daily life. Malli did not receive her legal entitlements, but as her former husband is a police national security officer, she could not do anything about it.

Malli went through a period of searching. She wanted to experience true faith. As a Muslim, she started to pray to Allah asking to be shown the way to him. She wanted to be convinced that Islam was true. Nothing changed; she kept searching. One day, she met with a VOM supported frontline worker who spoke to her about Jesus. She was very open to hearing about Him and listened intently as the leader spoke of Jesus’ love for her.

Malli became convinced and accepted God’s gift of salvation. She was elated that she had finally found the true God! The frontline worker met with her regularly to help her grow in knowledge and understanding and she started to grow in faith.

Malli wanted her daughters to know Jesus, so she brought them to a meeting, where Araj and two of her sisters also accepted Christ. The youngest daughter, however showed no interest.

Soon after, Malli and her three believing daughters asked the Christian worker if they could be baptised. He agreed and arranged for the baptism to be held at his church. Malli and her three daughters were very happy at the baptism service; their hearts were filled with joy.

They continued to meet with the worker regularly, to study God’s Word.

One day, Malli‘s former husband called the family and spoke to the youngest daughter. She advised him that her mother and sisters had become Christians and were baptised. The father was outraged. Later that night, he arrived at Malli’s home. He beat Malli, Araj and the two sisters; and then forcefully removed Malli’s clothing and turned her out into the street, naked. The father demanded the daughters renounce their new faith and return to Islam. They refused.

One of the neighbours heard the commotion and took Malli into her home and provided her with some clothing. Araj’s father took her and her sisters back to Upper Egypt, where the violence continued, this time at the hands of the extended family.

He then returned to Malli’s home, arrested his wife and took her to the national security office where she was interrogated, then tortured by the authorities. They demanded to know who told her about Christianity but, courageously, she refused to answer.

Malli’s former husband then went back to Upper Egypt, where he imprisoned his Christian daughters in his home and continued to violently punish them. Araj received the worst treatment as she was the eldest; if she renounced her faith, it is likely her two sisters would have followed.

Araj, however would not deny her love for Jesus. She was determined to remain faithful. While suffering at the hands of her father, she asked Jesus to forgive him. In a rage, the father beat Araj more violently and, as a result, she died.

The father, full of sorrow because he had caused his daughter’s death, arranged for Malli to be set free. She returned home, along with her remaining daughters.

Araj’s father was never charged with her death. The family lives in fear.

Since Araj’s death, the youngest daughter has also come to faith in Jesus, though she suffers feelings of guilt over her sister’s death.

Our contacts are providing spiritual and emotional support for Malli and her daughters. VOM Australia is also providing financial assistance for the family.

Please pray for this family, that the Lord will provide protection and help them overcome what they have suffered. Pray too they will grow in their faith.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.