New Church Development in Egypt - August 2014 Update
Depending upon where you want to draw the boundary lines, you are looking at about nine million people – making Cairo not only the largest city in Africa but in the entire Arab world. The Presbyterian Church in Egypt has a vision to see the Church greatly expanded in that strategic city and has 22 New Church Development projects currently under way there. One of those can be found in a brand new master-planned “satellite city” which is already home to over 250,000 people: Obour City. Driving through, it appears to have a lot of the trappings of a western upper middle-class suburb, complete with a large modern shopping mall featuring a Chili’s and a Starbucks. On the outer edges where huge apartment complexes are under construction on the verge of the desert, a concrete “skeleton” atop an imposing platform marks the place where a new Presbyterian church is taking shape.
Rev. Awni Salib was doing ministry in Germany before hearing a call to return to Egypt. Not long after that, the Morsi government, remarkably, gave the land for this new church plant – part of the master plan for the community (usually, the Protestants and the Orthodox are each given a plot). This is not, however, a case of “if you build it, they will come” because there are already 85 people in the area eagerly awaiting its completion, and many more are expected.
Driving back towards the main part of Cairo, you pass the poor areas where those seeking a better area have migrated from the villages in the middle of the country. Unable to afford rent in the city itself, they have put up simple brick houses connected by unpaved streets, spotted with small piles of irregularly collected trash. No malls or amenities here in Gebel Asfar. Gemy Wagih’s family lived here, as did other poor Presbyterian families from Assuit, looking for jobs. But Gemy was following a call and was accepted to study at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. One of his first classes was being taught by Dr. Sheriff, a professor of mission, who shared data indicating that there were more than five million Egyptians who had no access to a church anywhere near where they lived.
Gemy began to weep….he lived in one of those areas: Gebel Asfar. His tears watered the seeds of a vision, and now Rev. Wagih has begun a Presbyterian fellowship group in a rented store front in Gebel Asfar. They are 20 in number, and when they reach 30 (enough to pay a small salary for their pastor) they can organize. They already are searching for their own piece of land upon which to build a sanctuary.
Grateful for your partnership,
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development
Travel with The Outreach Foundation to Egypt
November 7-16, 2014
Join Associate Director Marilyn Borst to come celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo, which is training the next generation of leaders for the 400+ Presbyterian churches in Egypt and beyond. Egypt is a land with a long, grand and diverse history; this history includes the amazing stories of God’s church. We will visit new church developments in the ‘suburbs’ and ‘satellite cities’ around Cairo, meet current and future church leaders, and be inspired by the church’s bold and progressive mission vision even as our presence there will encourage local Christians. Trip application deadline is August 31, and you will also be required to book your flights at this time. Land costs ($1,800) are due to The Outreach Foundation by September 15. For more information, contact Lisa Dill at (615) 778-8881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amount needed in 2014
$600 per month will support one pastor of a new church development. The Outreach Foundation hopes to support several of these new churches each year.To make a donation, click the Donate Now link in the sidebar.
The Outreach Foundation now offers the option of receiving missionary/project updates, newsletters, and receipts by e-mail. If you would like to sign up to start receiving these communications electronically, please send your name and e-mail address, along with that request, to email@example.com, or call us at (615) 778-8881.