Breaking the fear barrier!

Protests continue among the Egyptians. (Credit: Kathryn Berry)Debbie Meroff

A lot more is happening in Egypt these days than is apparent on our nightly news. A Christian worker on the ground in Cairo, whom we will call John Nyalls to protect his security, reports a groundswell of excitement among the Christian population who are involved in reaching Muslims. He declares, "One year of Morsi's government has done more to advance Christianity in Egypt than all the decades before it."

Media attention to Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations gives the impression that this group is much bigger than it actually is. John estimates that only about one-half to one per cent of the population are avid pro-Brotherhood and up to five per cent may be ultra-conservative Islamists. But after Morsi failed in his promise to represent all the people rather than the Islamist faction and passing an Islamist-favoured constitution, the vast majority of Egyptians made it clear they'd had enough.

So unpopular is the Muslim Brotherhood these days, observes John, that many shopkeepers are refusing to serve men with long beards (the usual Brotherhood trademark), and taxi drivers are refusing to pick them up. Some Muslims have shaved off their beards in self-defence. 

Christians—especially young people from the churches—have become proactive, handing out thousands of copies of Bibles, New Testaments and CDs of the JESUS film and other material. Very few Arabic Bibles are refused. Believers add that they've even observed some covered Muslim women, after receiving Bibles, lift the book to their lips in a reverent kiss.

It hasn't all been easy for the Christian population, however. Ultra-conservative Muslims have retaliated against what they called Christian support for Morsi's removal. A number of attacks have been launched against churches and Christians, particularly those who live in Brotherhood strongholds.

"Now," says John, "the wolf--the Brotherhood--is no longer pretending to be a sheep. Members are now unbridled in going after churches and Christians. And this is turning more moderate Muslims against them."

He pointed out the astonishing fact that tens of thousands of Bibles are being downloaded each month in the Muslim world. The website published an interview with Ahmad Al Qataan, an important Islamic cleric, who said that every year six million Muslims convert to Christianity.* Unfortunately, most disillusioned Muslims will turn to atheism rather than Christianity unless more people seize the day. John reports that Christian Egyptians who have been reaching out are coming across a significant enough number of atheists; they are feeling the need for specific training on how to reach them.

The next presidential election is not slated to be held until early 2014. The interim leader has meanwhile sworn in a Cabinet that includes women and Christians but no Islamists. Although no one wants a police or army state, John agrees with many that the longer the election is put off the better. "People need time to think through who should take control. Elections came too fast after the first revolution; the Brotherhood were the only ones organised enough to step in. Seventy per cent of the population are just struggling to survive, only maybe 30 per cent are thinking through the politics. The Brotherhood actually lost last time in Cairo and Alexandria, where the intellectuals are centred."

Considering that Christians control about 30 per cent of the economy in Egypt, it would seem that they are in a position to exert great influence. In churches the tendency has been to support Christian projects within Egypt rather than world missions. John Nyalls asserts that with the new opportunities that are now apparent, the ministry paradigm needs to change. "Pray for creativity, that churches won't just say, 'No money, no mission'".


OM exists to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.


Recent Stories


Hungary :: Hungarian children learned and performed Disney’s “Aladdin Kids” in English during a week of the drama camp outreach led by OMers.
Hungary :: OMer Rebecca Lingenhoel helps a Hungarian student adjust his costume during a drama camp outreach.
New Zealand :: A hiker looks out over a scenic view from an island off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand.
New Zealand :: Two kayakers paddle between rock formations off the coast of New Zealand.
Vietnam :: The OM team in Vietnam uses sports as an open door to minister to those who don’t know Jesus.
Near East :: OM teams find creative forms of transportation to trek to remote areas to share the message of Jesus.  Photo by Justin Lovett
Near East :: OM teams visit Bedouin tents in the desert.  Photo by Justin Lovett
Near East :: OM teams visit Bedouin tents in the desert.  Photo by Justin Lovett

Happiness, the least reached and the Global South

"More than anything else in our mobilisation activities (strategy, finance, people, knowledge), we need God," says Julio Moromisato.

Inner freedom

OM Associate International Director Viv Thomas discusses why freedom in Christ is so important and about how to cultivate that freedom.

Then the world will know

"How can we BE a vibrant community, resilient and fruitful in ministry?" asks Marijke Kuo. The answer, she says, lies with people care.