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Egypt: Christine, a Christian

Girl in Egypt

The Voice of the Martyrs USA is part of a worldwide family of missions that were started through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. Stef is SDOK’s children’s magazine and website.

The following story about a girl in Egypt comes from Stef magazine.

I Wish I Could Fly
Hi, I’m Christine. I live in Egypt. In my family we have three boys and three girls. My brothers are called George, Mohammed, Mina, Anwar, Kirelos and Ahmed. My sisters are called Maryam, Souad, Marina and Yasmine. And then me. My name is Christine and Fatima.

It’s true that we have six children, but it looks like 12! Everybody has two names: an Islamic name and a Christian name.

Poverty
When I was born, my parents were Muslim. We lived in a small village and were very poor. My father is a baker. The money he earned was never enough for us. My father decided to follow Jesus, and then our lives became very different.

Baptized
After my father became a Christian, he became a better father. My mother and all of us became Christians, too, and then we were all baptized. If you are baptized, you leave your old life behind you and you get a new life with Jesus.

And with a new life, we take a new name. But we don’t use our new name. In Egypt, it is not allowed to change your faith. On my identity card, I am called Fatima, and it says I am a Muslim. Muslims are expected to go to the mosque, to learn verses from the Quran at school, and to wear a headscarf if you are a girl. [A mosque is a building where Muslims worship, and the Quran is the Muslim holy book.]

Christian?
No matter how careful we were, our neighbors noticed we were different “You have changed,” they said. “Are you Christians or something?”

That might seem like a compliment, but in our village, it is an insult. We never responded to their comments. Thankfully, other Christians invited my father to live in a big city. Nobody would know us there.

Or would they?

Recognized
It was wonderful to be in the big city and to go to church. I felt so close to God! I want to learn more about Him and to be more like Jesus.

But we lived there only a short time, then things went wrong. My brother was recognized by someone in the city from our village. The man was hostile. He said, “Now I am sure you are a Christian.” My brother ran anxiously through the city with the man chasing him. When he was sure he was no longer being chased, he came home.

Now we are moving to another part of the city. My brothers almost never go outside anymore.

Sometimes friends ask them to join them in going to the mosque. But they do not want to go, of course, and they say they are sick. I think that is true, because they do not really look good.

To Hide or Fly
I sometimes don’t know how we can go on. We cannot keep playing hide and seek. I just want to say what I am, and that is Christine. A Christian.

I wish I had wings and could fly away.

There are also people in the Bible who wanted to fly away. David wrote in a song that he wished he had wings like a dove, then he could flee to a safe place. And I want that too!

Bye, Christine

To Do
*Read Psalm 55:6-8. Pray for Christine and her family


Egypt: A Hard Situation

Egyptian boy

SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. A worker from SDOK recently visited Egypt and talked to Christians there. After she returned home, the worker wrote told the story below. It appeared in Stef, which is SDOK’s children’s magazine.

The worker asked readers who read the story, “What would you do if you were the boy?” Many readers responded. “We have had a lot of reactions,” the worker said. Read the story and see what you think. And pray for the boy and his family.

What a story I heard in Egypt!

It’s about a boy of ten. He tells his story like this:

“I have a brother and a sister. My sister is ten years older than I am. We are Muslims, and I think we are quite good people.

“My father even went to another country with my sister, and when she came back, she was wearing a long black coat with a headscarf.

[Note: In some Muslim countries, veils and other coverings are symbols of strict Islam. Some women and girls wear coverings to bring honor to their families. Others cover their heads to show they are serious about their faith. Many cover themselves in front of people outside their family.]

“But after a while she put on regular clothes. After a few months, she quit even wearing a headscarf.

“One day my father came out of my sister’s room with a black book in his hand and he was very angry. ‘What are you doing with a Bible in your bag?’ he yelled at my sister. My sister did not say anything. My father kept yelling. ‘You have changed! Have you become a Christian or something? If so, I’d rather be dead!’

“My father really said that. Suddenly he turned to me and whispered in a threatening way, ‘She cannot step outside of the house the door without you. You must spy on her. Understood?’

“I nodded, but did not understand.

“That same night, a terrible thing happened. My father suddenly died of cardiac arrest. Everyone is now blaming my sister. She is still sweet and beautiful, but she has become very pale and thin.

I’ve been worrying for weeks about what to do. I know I should obey my father’s final wishes, but I do not want to be a spy and certainly do not want to spy on my dear sister.”

“What would you do?”


Easter Luminary

Needed: Paper; a 2-inch jar lid or other circular object; scissors; pencils; a small, sturdy craft bag with handles

Note: Some Coptic Christians in Egypt tattoo a cross on the inside of their wrist as a reminder of their Christian faith. Gangs that kidnap Christians remove the cross tattoos of their victims. But they can’t remove Jesus from the Christians’ hearts.

 


Egypt: Secret Marriage, Secret Faith

Asim and Zarah, who live in Egypt, fell in love and decided to get married. Like most of the people in Egypt, they grew up in Muslim families. But before they even met each other, they had both realized that they no longer wanted to be Muslims.

Asim
Asim had visited a Christian church where he heard a song that said, “You died for me, and You took my burden for me.” He began studying the Bible to try to discover the meaning of the mysterious words. He prayed for guidance, his faith grew, and he gave his life to Christ.

When his family found out about his new faith, they locked Asim in his room and often abused him. After days of abuse, he agreed not to talk about Christianity anymore. His family believed he was no longer a Christian. But outside of the house, he was telling friends about Jesus. He and the friends who came to Jesus started a Christian fellowship group.

Zarah
Zarah was a missionary — a Muslim missionary. She learned everything she could learn about Islam, the Muslim religion, to find new ways to prove that Christianity was wrong. But the more she studied Islam, the more she doubted that it was true.

Finally, Zarah left Islam. Someone invited her to a Christian fellowship group, where she met Asim. The group taught her the truth about Jesus, and Zarah gave her life to Him.

A New Life Together
Zarah’s family thought Asim was a Muslim. Asim’s family believed Zarah was a Muslim. So their families were happy that Asim and Zarah wanted to get married.

They were married in a Muslim ceremony with their families’ blessings. But before the ceremony, they were secretly married by a Christian pastor.

Asim and Zarah attend church together without letting family members know where they are going. But relatives and neighbors are suspicious of them. They know they will be in danger if others find out that they are not Muslims.

Asim and Zarah trust in Jesus and put their future in His hands every day.

To Talk About
*Asim was puzzled about the words to the Christian song that said, “You died for me, and You took my burden for me.” If someone who was not a Christian asked you what those words about Jesus mean, how would you answer?

*If relatives and neighbors find out that Asim and Zarah are Christians, they may be kicked out of their apartment, and family members might attack them. Do you think they should tell everyone that they are Christians anyway?


Egypt: Forgiveness on TV

Nesim was a security guard at his church in Egypt. His job was to protect the congregation — including his wife, Samira, and sons, Mena and George — from radical Muslims who might want to harm Christians.

The week before Easter last year, a terrorist exploded a bomb near the main gate of the church. Sadly, Nesim died in the attack.

On TV
Samira was heartbroken. But a week after the attack, she agreed to be interviewed by a TV reporter. “What would you say to those who attacked your husband?” the reporter asked.

Millions of viewers listened intently. Most of them expected Samira to talk about revenge. Angry talk might add to the bad feelings between different groups of people in Egypt. Samira’s answer surprised them. She said, “I would ask for forgiveness for the person who killed my husband, as I know my husband has graduated to heaven with the Lord. But the killer is waiting a terrible end for his life, so I forgive him if this will help him.”

TV viewers were amazed at her answer. One TV presenter who reported on Samira’s interview even shouted at Christians who were watching, “If someone killed my father or brother, I would surely kill him to get revenge. So how come you are able to forgive those who are killing you?”

Powerful Testimony
Samira’s testimony led many people in Egypt to want to learn more about Christianity and Jesus. Out of a sad event came the amazing testimony of a woman able to forgive.

A VOM worker who met Samira said, “I was very proud to meet her and hear her story. I was touched by her loving heart.”

(Source: VOM Australia)