Egypt (MNN) — Many believers in the Middle East and North Africa face persecution daily.
Persecution in the Middle East and North Africa
Believers have been tortured and killed by members of ISIS for their faith, but have also been oppressed by society, resulting in beatings, imprisonment, and death.
“This part of the world is probably one of the most challenging places in the world because of the lack of tolerance for Christianity,” World Mission’s Greg Kelley says.
“When people come to know the Lord, they’re putting literally everything at risk, and many instances, when a Muslim comes to Christ, they lose their family relations, they lose their name, and in instances, they’re even killed or physically harmed.”
A report by Aid to the Church in Need looked at 13 countries with high persecution, including the nations of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.
The report found that in 12 out of the 13 countries, there has been a spike in Christian persecution between the years of 2015 and 2017 compared to the years of 2013 to 2015.
Saudi Arabia was the one country that had not worsened in persecution, but this was because the situation could not get any worse.
Persecution in these nations was found to be mainly violent. Christians were raped, unlawfully imprisoned, and sometimes crucified.
Open Doors also released their 2018 World Watch List report in January, stating that about 215 million Christians are persecuted for their faith. The Jerusalem Post reported this represents about 1 in 12 Christians.
Willing to Risk Everything for Jesus
Despite the vast oppression, people are coming to know Christ. In the Middle East and North Africa, Kelley says many are willing to put everything at risk to praise and proclaim the name of Jesus.
In response to the growth of Christianity, World Mission is offering leadership training courses in Egypt so believers can evangelize effectively.
“Cairo, Egypt is really a hub for not only, of course, Egypt, but it’s really a hub for the entire Middle East. And so, many of the neighboring countries view Egypt in high regard and it’s very highly respected. And so, things that come out of Egypt into the Arab world just have a sense of acceptance that is unique to that part of the world,” Kelley says.
“So many of these countries like Libya, and Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and other places, they don’t have leadership training opportunities that are readily available. And so, inside of Cairo, because of the amount of resources that are there, we’re seeing leaders from some of these other countries having the opportunity to go to Egypt and get training so that they can be more effective.”
World Mission is sending their solar-powered audio Bibles, the Treasure, to equip leaders with a powerful ministry tool.
Leaders gather about every quarter and during training courses, are taught how to use the Treasures in the most effective ways possible.
Kelley says World Mission has heard stories of leaders from Libya and Tunisia receiving Treasures in Egypt. They have been trained and have returned to their countries to set up listening groups, which are groups of people who gather and listen to Treasures.
Because of the leaders’ work, the Gospel is spreading and people are believing in Christ in some of the most oppressive nations.
“Everything that goes on in Cairo, in Egypt, and Lebanon, and some of these other places, a lot of it is really under the radar, but leadership training is something that transcends all of that because when you pour into and equip an individual, then they, themselves, become that individual that really starts a wildfire for the sake of the Gospel in the communities that they’re from.”
Pray for World Mission’s leadership training courses to continue taking root so it will help change lives. Pray for the safety of leaders as they train and minister to others.