The Love and Compassion of Egyptian Pastors
Turn to me and be saved all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other.
by Mary Lynne Nielsen
Yesterday we were in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, where six million people are served by ten Presbyterian churches. In the morning we visited Attareen church, founded in 1882 by a pastor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The building has beautiful features including a wood ceiling and beams – the same design as a church in Pittsburgh. At the front of the sanctuary is a large blue arch on which Isaiah 45:22 is written in Arabic script.
Pastor Radi stood in front of that arch and shared with us his heart to serve both his educated congregants and the 60% of Alexandria’s congregants who live in the slums. His love and compassion for the many difficult social problems faced by the people of this city is evident. He is much like other Alexandrian pastors we met in the afternoon who go above and beyond what most Americans think is the “job” of a pastor. They run literacy programs, vocational training, they help provide inexpensive clothing and food, help with drug addiction and domestic violence issues . . . to build bridges and extend the love of Christ and His message of Hope to all the people of this city, regardless of religion.
In the afternoon we drove into the slums served by the churches of Alexandria. We saw first hand the never ending piles of trash, the unpainted buildings, the dirt, the open air markets, the young and the old, the sweet smiles of children; and we were so thankful for these pastors, whose love and compassion drives them to face the pain and suffering, and do hard things to bring the message of Christ’s love to all the ends of the earth.
Mary Lynne Nielsen for the team