Egypt (MNN) — Egypt is home to the largest Christian community in the Middle East. With such a significant presence, is it safe to assume every Egyptian knows who Christ is – even if they don’t follow Him? Not necessarily.
“A couple years ago, before I started [working here], I didn’t know that we have unreached people groups in Egypt,” Shereen* says. Unreached people groups (UPGs) “are totally unreached by the Word of God,” she explains.
Four of Egypt’s people groups fall into this “unreached” category, Shereen says – they do not know Christ, there are no churches in their community, and they have no access to God’s Word in their heart language. This number varies by source; PeopleGroups.com lists 22 unreached people groups in Egypt while Joshua Project lists 25.
Regardless, plans are underway to change these statistics.
Reaching Egypt’s unreached
Shereen represents an agency working with unreached people groups in Egypt. That group is now part of a collaborative, multi-agency effort to introduce Egypt’s unreached people groups to Christ. Their plans are holistic, covering everything from Bible translation and church-planting to media and physical aid.
The Saidi Arabs are one of Egypt’s unreached people groups. Learn how you can pray for them here.
The road ahead isn’t easy. “In Egypt, you’re not allowed to share Christ with Muslims,” she explains. “You’re allowed to share Christ with people who [are] inside the church only, not outside. So, it’s very challenging to reach out to these people with the Word of God.”
The indigenous ministry partners Shereen and her agency work with know the risks that lie ahead. “Those who are doing the ministry on-the-ground can be arrested and stopped by the police,” Shereen explains.
Christianity also comes at a high price for new believers. “Those who come to Christ, they will be persecuted by their families,” Shereen says. However, seeing God’s Kingdom come to unreached communities is worth the risk.
In recent weeks, Shereen spoke with her partners working among one of the unreached people groups mentioned above. One day, a Muslim woman asked the indigenous believer for a Bible, Shereen shares. When the worker agreed and gave the woman a Bible in her language, “she was so happy; she kept reading, reading and asking for more,” Shereen says.
The indigenous believer answered this woman’s questions and explained what various Scriptures meant. Shortly after the woman began reading God’s Word, “she mentioned to the ministry partners that she saw Jesus in her dreams,” Shereen says.
“God is at work and people are ready. So, we need to go in and work amongst these people groups.”
How to help
Use this brand new resource to pray for Egypt’s Saidi people. “This is our vision and our hope, and this is what we’re praying for: to have these people who come to know Jesus evangelize their families,” Shereen says.
“Please pray for God’s protection; pray for security, for those who come to Christ to not get persecuted so they can still stay amongst their families.”
You can also join us on Sunday, May 31 – the International Day for the Unreached – to pray for unreached people groups around the world.
*– Name changed for security purposes.
Header image courtesy of Prayercast.