Just two weeks ago Rick Segal (Vice President of Advancement, Distinguished Lecturer for Commerce and Vocation) and I were part of a U.S. delegation to Egypt to encourage religious liberty in that country and the surrounding region. It was an eye-opening experience for me as we met with political leaders, members of parliament, Christian and Muslim leaders, and worshiped together with Christians in two different churches.
What we saw and heard was certainly encouraging. Under the leadership of President el-Sisi, who is a devout Muslim, Egypt is experiencing a profound awakening of religious liberty. The long-standing persecution of Christians is no longer being tolerated, and the government is even financing the repair of churches that were bombed or damaged by extremists in recent years. And, the culminating event during our visit was to attend the inaugural service at the impressive, new Coptic Christian cathedral that was paid for by the government which stands as a powerful symbol of the new era of acceptance and encouragement of Christians in this predominantly Muslim nation.
However, as encouraging as these developments are, the vestiges of generations of conflict and hatred aimed at Christians are still evident. Armed vehicles and military personnel were highly visible at each of the churches we visited. Everywhere our delegation went, we were escorted by armed personnel and police vehicles. Such protection is still needed because the extremists still have the wherewithal and the motivation to strike out against Christians in this land. In a land of 100 million people, 90 million are Muslims. The remainder are Christian—mostly Coptic, but with at least 2 million Protestant believers.
In addition to being encouraged by the positive developments in Egypt—and indeed throughout the region—I also return committed to praying earnestly for gospel to grow and spread in this land. The Lord is at work. People are being saved by turning to Jesus Christ and hoping in Him. But much work remains.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matt. 9:36-38
We must be like Jesus in this passage of Scripture. We must have compassion on all people who are lost: “like sheep without a shepherd.” The people of Egypt need a savior, and Jesus is the only one who has the power to save.
May the Lord grant us compassion on these lost souls and pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out the laborers needed to spread the glorious gospel far and wide.
- Please be in prayer for our students and faculty as the Spring semester is now under way. Pray that the Lord would be powerfully at work among us.
- Also, please keep our Self-Study writing project in your prayers as well. We are nearing completion of this significant document and will be submitting it to our accreditation association within the next two weeks.
- Please also be in prayer for the upcoming Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders. Pray that the Lord would use the conference to inspire and uplift all of the pastors and church leaders who will be joining us from all over the country in a little more than a week from now.
- And, as always, continue to pray for our finances. We praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy and for answering our prayers during the December giving period. We humbly pray for even more grace and mercy to be given to us—especially as we look to secure a stronger financial future for the school.