Egypt #6: God on the Move
by Kendra Norton
If God is on the move, then his church is on the move too -- sometimes in surprising ways. That is exactly what is happening here in Luxor, the latest stop on our church journey through Egypt.
After a restful evening in this small, quiet city (at least compared to Cairo), our group divided in half to visit different churches, and one group had the privilege of visiting the Presbyterian Church of Luxor and meeting Pastor Mahrous Karam. This church is on the move in the most literal way. In 2010, the government informed the congregation that their building was to be demolished because it is sitting on top of a rich archeological site, that being the Sphinx Avenue. (I suppose this sort of problem is unique to places like Egypt). Fortunately, the government offered the church a new piece of land on the outskirts of the city, yet the church was to provide the funds for the actual building. We had the opportunity to visit the construction site of the new church building, which is coming along very well. Despite the progress of this building, the congregation is grieving the impending demolition of their other building, which holds so many powerful memories of baptisms, worship services, and the important work that God did through this location in the middle of the city. Despite this hardship, our Egyptian friends reminded us that God is on the move and so is his church. What new people will have the opportunity to respond to the Gospel? What new neighborhoods will the church be able to reach?
Yet the movement doesn't stop there. Due to the overpopulation of the major cities, the government is building 16 new cities throughout Egypt and has offered land in each city for a Presbyterian church to be built. One such city is just a short drive from Luxor and is called Tiba. Having acquired the land for a new church, the Presbyterian Church of Luxor will soon start building a church plant in Tiba, and as we visited the plot of land on which the church will be built, it is clear that God is orchestrating a divine master plan. Located in front of a hospital and next to a university, this church plant is on a ripe mission field. What new people will have the opportunity to respond to the Gospel? What new neighborhoods will the church be able to reach?
As the Lord uses Pastor Mahrous to shepherd and reach people in the midst of these two church projects, the church in Luxor further finds itself providing encouragement and outreach to the small churches in the surrounding villages, one of which just received permission from the government to rebuild itself since the building is in such disrepair. Yet if you start adding up all of these churches, both old and new, Pastor Mahrous has his hands full. He expressed that he hopes the Lord will provide five new pastors to shepherd the churches in this area. God is on the move, the church is on the move, and let us pray for leaders to be on the move.
The church in Egypt is awake and alert to how God is working through the government and society, and they are eager to respond to God's movement. Let us not limit God's movement to only Egypt. God's movement is a global movement. The church is a global church. May we all be awake and alert to God's movement in our own countries, cities, and neighborhoods.