Egypt #7: Sheep
by Peggy Shirley
Today, we were filled with great joy to visit El Adaima Church and once again see Reverend Shenouda Girgis his wife, Angel, and their children; Joshua, Jonestta, and Justin, and their congregation. We were excited to be in fellowship with them again and celebrate with them the new church they are building.
The Outreach Foundation visited El Adaima in 2012, 2015, 2017, and now in 2019. It is like coming home to family each time. The love we share for Jesus Christ makes us one family.
We were able to worship together even though it was in the middle of the day on a Thursday. The worship was holy and the sermon by Reverend Deena Candler reminded us that it is dangerous to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus never promised us it would be easy. Instead, he said we will be like sheep among the wolves. But his greatest promise to us is we will never be alone.
The congregation at El Adaima is like sheep among the wolves, who trust in Christ for all things. They spent seven years awaiting government approval to build a church. That approval finally came in 2018. Shortly after approval, a main wall in their church, which was built in 1925, caved in. In July 2018 the old building was demolished and in September 2018 construction began on the new church building. By December 31, 2018, they were worshiping in the new sanctuary.
The original plan was to build three floors, but praise God, they will have a five-story building with a beautiful tall steeple. Their congregation was very generous as its primary goal was to build a house worthy of God.
This church is in a very poor agricultural area and money is not plentiful. Many of the church members sold their gold items to help pay for the construction.
God was in the midst of the building process. He brought local Muslims to help build the church. 90% of the work was completed by Muslims and at highly discounted rates as they recognized that this was to be a House of the Lord.
There is much work yet to be done, but the 5 story shell is complete and the first-floor chapel is being used for worship. Plans are for the five floors to be used for a sanctuary, pastoral residence, nursery/medical center, fellowship hall, and a hall to celebrate weddings, funerals, and other important events. Their dream now is to be able to raise the funds to complete the construction on all the floors.
I started this story by saying El Adaima church is a sheep among wolves. We learned that a few short months ago, some extremists from outside the city wanted to destroy the church. They were angry that it went up in two short months and that it was 23 meters high. It was a visible sign to all that Jesus Christ is Lord and they were angry. The government was able to thwart their plan and arrest them. The church is now receiving government and local police support.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
El Adaima is both wise and innocent. It is an integral part of its community which is 2/3 Muslim and El Adaima spends its days being salt and light in its community.
May God Bless El Adaima Church and its congregation and continue to prosper and protect them.