Egypt #1: Waiting
by Marilyn Borst
It would be a few days before all 17 members of our team would be here in Egypt together – some were delayed by winter weather and others took a detour to see their sister-church in another part of the country. But on Saturday, the 10 of us who had arrived the night before greeted the new day in our ”home” for the next 6 days: ETSC (Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo). We soon saw precious family like Mariam Hanna, who is Director of Development for ETSC, and students like Amen Magdy, a third-year student who was excited to share news of his engagement to Sarah Iskander!
The dual focus of our trip – like every previous trip I have led here – would be the seminary as well as the New Church Development ministry of the Synod of the Nile. With the latter focus in mind, we set out late that afternoon for a short but exciting visit with Rev. Nessiem Fadl and elders at the construction site of their Presbyterian church in Ma’adi, a suburb of Cairo. We had schwarma and sweets in the construction trailer while learning of their vision to make Christ known in this suburb of Cairo, as they were finally able to start building a church on a piece of land they had had since 1952 but for which they had just obtained official permission and secured the resources to, at least, begin.
We then drove a short distance to another new church plant in Ma’adi. For now, the local Catholic Church provides space for the Presbyterian congregation of Zahraa El Ma’adi (the Gardens of Ma’adi) but as Rev. John Sammy Habib shared with us, they are praying earnestly for their own land and a building where they can be Salt and Light and serve their community in Christ’s name. We made many new friends as we fellowshipped and worshipped together (our own Mark Mueller preached) and shared communion with our welcoming family-by-faith.
We came away from both places with a sense of the eager anticipation of these congregations: a waiting infused with an assurance that God is working out his plans and purposes here in Egypt!