Egypt (ODM/MNN) — If there’s any place the proverbial generation gap between parents and their children seems particularly difficult to resolve, rural Upper Egypt may top the list.
Open Doors USA shares some exciting results from their Women’s Ministry.
Imagine for a moment the dilemma of an illiterate Christian mother raising her teenage girl in the village where she herself grew up, just a few decades ago. In contrast to her mother, the daughter was fortunate enough to be allowed by her family to go to the village’s public school and can read and write; she also has a more expanded worldview through the rare opportunities she gets when she is given space and time to sit at the church’s computer and surf the internet. There are helpful books and media programs in Arabic to help Christian parents in developing influential relationships with their children, but this simple mother has no way to access them.
How is such an uneducated parent able to learn how to relate and communicate with her daughter, who easily becomes rebellious when her mother tries to guide her relationships and activities? In worst-case scenarios, when mothers fail to build trust with their daughters, the relationship is disconnected, so in some cases teenage girls actually run away from home, lured by the illusion of falling in love with Muslim neighbor boys.
For their part, sons can easily link up with the wrong friends in the neighborhood, cutting ties with their parents and getting involved in violence and crime. Even in better situations, the children in these rural families often grow up with hurts and emotional scars. This can result in an estrangement caused by their random upbringing based only on folk knowledge and inherited traditions and customs, rather than biblical principles.
Since the Women’s Ministry was newly started in one of the southern Egyptians cities six months ago, it has helped 1,000 rural Christian women between the ages of 20-45 years old to become better mothers who can bring up their children in the fear of God. Recently, 150 women attended a one-day conference to learn more about how to deal with their teenage children and how to pray with and for them. They learned about this phase in their children’s life to better understand their physical, mental, and psychological development needs, along with practical tips to encourage a healthy relationship with them.
“I learned the importance of encouragement and love, rather than punishment and yelling all the time. I will surely try this,” said Om Romani,* the mother of two teenage children.
When the Women’s Ministry in that city was first starting, many of the women were overwhelmed with their work at home and in the fields or markets. They felt that they had no time or energy for any more obligations. However, as they started to experience the difference the teaching was making in their homes, they began to realize that attending these one-day seminars was the best use of their time.
“We need more of such important teachings that are new to our community to deal with the new challenges and dangers that are facing our families,” said a local pastor in one of the villages.
The Women’s Ministry aims at building up the mothers spiritually in order to influence and lead, as well as give them basics of child development and best practices for raising children.
Pray for the Mothers in Egypt to learn Biblical ways to raise their children. Look at your own life: are you responding in love to your children?
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*Not their real names due to security concerns