The History of the Reformed Church in Egypt
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge to Western Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west. Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and Western Asia. The great majority of its estimated 76 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
MERF operates a ministry center in the capital city of Cairo. From here, we provide training to pastors and evangelists so that they can carry the Gospel back to their communities. MERF's Arabic Gospel broadcasts are also prepared in Cairo (and Beirut, Lebanon) with a special emphasis on appealing to Muslim young people. These daily half-hour radio programs extend to the whole of the Middle East and North Africa, with 340 million Arabs able to tune in daily to a thought-provoking, conversational broadcast on a popular radio station. Hundreds reply by text message, email, or letter and receive personal follow-up. The engaging, youth-centered Arabic website receives almost 5,000 visits per month, and workers follow up with all enquirers.
Response:"I am now a believer in Christ and spend as much time every day reading the Bible. Thank you for the material on the website. It is very helpful to my growth." - M. from Cairo
MERF also supports the work of many Egyptian pastors and evangelists (through the Synod of the Nile) who are working in their communities to further the Kingdom of God. For example, in the Minya province in Middle Egypt, we have partnered with local churches to work for a revival among its population of 5.5 million.Although about 50 percent of Minya province is nominally Christian, many localities are without a church. Last year the local committee targeted fourteen communities in four areas for outreach activities. We support three evangelists for this work, who have organized MERF-sponsored training sessions for 47 young people from established churches in Minya, who volunteer their time to bring the gospel to unreached areas of their province. They learned to lead a group Bible study, teach Sunday school, and do home visitation and simple lay preaching. In addition to the targeted communities, the volunteer evangelistic teams worked with five existing Minya churches that requested help with local outreach. These five churches were also assisted by three seminary student interns working under the oversight of larger congregations. MERF is also providing Bibles, Christian literature, and Sunday school materials as well as transportation costs for the Minya outreach.
Praise God that these evangelistic efforts have already achieved or exceeded target goals. Bible study groups were established in eighteen communities. Three of these have already become new congregations which are actively seeking pastors. Bible study groups in a cluster of villages in another area are also putting their resources together for a meeting place. The growing town near Minya city called Minya Jadida (New Minya) now has more than sixty believing families. Already gathered in Bible study groups, they hope to begin Sunday worship and other church activities soon.
This is just one example of how the Lord is working through local congregations to proclaim the Gospel and bring Egyptians to Himself. MERF enables and supports these churches in their outreach ministries. Churches are being planted in four new areas, and the recent unrest there has caused churches to be more united and more actively prayerful and the youth to be more involved in service. Please pray for the work of the Lord in Egypt.
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