Egypt #5: Word and Deed

by Tim Norton

Word and deed. The phrase has been ringing in my ears all day. Christians join God's mission by proclaiming Christ with words and demonstrating Christ with actions. The two cannot be separated. Making Christ known is an epic pursuit of show and tell -- word and deed. The phrase is a fitting summary of our final day in Cairo before journeying to Upper Egypt.

Today we traveled to the Synod of the Nile's office in downtown Cairo to see the work of God in Egypt through a wide-angle lens. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt is organized with 8 presbyteries under 1 synod. The synod also boasts 11 committees -- they are good Presbyterians after all -- each with unique foci and contributions to local church ministry.

As we received reports from the Synod moderator Nady Labib and several committee chairs, I was struck by the relentless focus on making Christ known through word and deed. The Women's Council doesn't just encourage the ministry preparation program at Evangelical Theological Seminary, they also support outreach to the slums. The Media Council doesn't just want to produce a strong media platform with robust content, they see their ministry as integral to raising up the next generation of church leaders. From the finance committee to the Synod schools committee, the mission to make Christ known through word and deed seems to pulse in the hearts of everyone and every initiative under the Synod of the Nile.

Perhaps most striking was our visit to the Synod-sponsored hospital located directly adjacent to the Synod offices. If any of the Synod initiatives could have stopped at "deeds alone" it would be their two hospitals. Men, women, boys, and girls from every cultural background in Egypt find care within these walls. The medical professionals and staff have impacted countless lives for the better. No one would question a specific focus on physical ailments alone and leave the spiritual concerns to other synod-initiatives. Yet, when asked what was the greatest challenge facing the hospital, the administrator unflinchingly responded, "finding opportunities to share the love of Jesus." Later we were reminded that many of the patients come to the hospital with failing eyes, unable to see; however, Jazmine (an incredible nurse at the hospital) recognizes the need to treat physical blindness and spiritual blindness. Word and deed...even in a hospital.

In a whirlwind day filled with details, I'm grateful that God is faithful to spread the gospel through the imperfect words and deeds of his children. Our family members in Egypt are relentless in this balance. Perhaps many of us can take note and join them in this priority.