During the mid-morning hours on May 26, south of Cairo, Egypt, two buses carrying Coptic Christians were attacked by suspected ISIS militants. They were headed to a monastery for worship and prayer, in celebration of the Egyptian festival of Miriam. The masked gunmen opened fire using automatic weapons killing at least 28 innocent worshippers, many of whom were children.
This was the most recent in a series of horrific terrorist attacks on Egyptian Christians, and Jihadists threaten even more attacks in the future. These faithful Believers have shown undaunted courage and commitment to the Lord in the midst of unimaginable persecution. After the attack, friends and family members of the victims were heard in the hospitals chanting that they would willingly sacrifice their lives for their faith.
Do we have that same passion for what we believe? What an incredible example they are to us as they continue to worship and serve the Lord even as their lives are threatened daily.
Our Egyptian team was ministering at that same location, sharing the love of Christ with “background” Christians and Muslims. These buses were attacked right outside the compound. This is a reminder of the dangers our teams face every day.
As a result of our team’s outreach, around 1500 people were able to hear the Gospel. We’re still getting reports back on how many responded. Thank you for continuing to lift up these brothers and sisters in prayer as they face oppression most of us will never experience or even be able to comprehend. This is part of our Global Church Planting Initiative in action.
The overwhelming response most of us have to what’s happening in the Middle East is, “I’m just thankful it’s there and not here, and besides, this crisis is too huge; anything I do won’t matter!” While this is, at first glance, a normal response, the fact is, we as Christians have seven reasons to care:
Disturbing facts: There are 3.4 million displaced Iraqis (refugees) and 6 million displaced Syrians within their own borders, and this crisis isn’t going anywhere. This doesn’t take into account refugees scattered world-wide. Although estimates vary on exact numbers, this humanitarian crisis presents Believers with unprecedented opportunities. So, why and how exactly, SHOULD we as the Body of Christ care?
- Christ reminds us that how we treat others in crisis matters, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” Matt. 25:40
- We are to “…do to others what you would have them do to you…” Matt. 7:12. How would you want the world at large to respond to you and your family as refugees?
- Our actions influence non-believers as they see our faith in action or not in action; “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” I Peter 2:12
- Christ is our example; he went out of his way to heal the helpless, sick, and abandoned of society. He didn’t find them repulsive or a bother.
- While we can’t help all the refugees in this enormous crisis, what we know to do and can do, we should do as unto the Lord. Col. 3:17
- We, the Church, should set the better example by caring the most, helping the most; more than the secular relief sector. Working with the local, national Church to distribute aid to refugees strengthens the national Church’s position within their local community. When our teams give out relief, the Gospel is shared. Refugees have time on their hands and are willing to listen to the one who is helping their family with more than words.
- Beyond relief aid, there are sustainable helps (English classes, job training, small business opportunities, etc.) that are helping more and more refugees to get OUT of the refugee status, back to work and back home. Indigenous Ministries is focused on both: relief aid and long term solutions.
We cannot out-give God; trust Him to meet needs as you pray for and help the refugees through the national Church. Our teams visit refugee camps and give out food and supplies as we are able to send resources. Donate online. Thank you on behalf of those who can’t say it to you.