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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)


Pita Chips, an Egyptian Snack

To make an Egyptian snack, cut pita bread into triangles. Spread out the triangles on a baking sheet, and spray them very lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Stir together ¼ tsp. of garlic powder and 3 tbsp. of parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mixture over the pita triangles. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crisp.

 To find more Egyptian recipes, and stories and facts about life in Egypt, download Bold Believers in Egypt from the Downloads section.


Egypt: Bold and Faithful Under Fire

Egyptian Christian family

Christians in Egypt were in danger. A radical Muslim group had gained power in their country. In 2012, newly elected Muslim officials directed attacks in Christian neighborhoods. Tanks rolled through the streets. Christians knew their lives were at risk.

What do you suppose the Christians did?

“We thought we would be wiped out,” said one Egyptian Christian leader. “So we decided to take advantage of whatever opportunities we had left to spread the gospel.”

Cole Richards, The Voice of the Martyrs’ president said, “Many of our Egyptian brothers and sisters did not seek protection for themselves and their possessions.” Instead, they focused their energy on telling people the truth about Jesus — even though it might have been the last time they had a conversation with anyone on earth.

“Join me in praising and thanking God for our bold and faithful Egyptian Christian family members, and please continue to pray for them,” said Mr. Richards.

(Source: The March 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter)


Egypt: Walid

Walid grew up in a Muslim family in Egypt. He and his 31 brothers and sisters were taught to hate Christians by their father, who had five wives. (Islam, the religion of Muslims, teaches that men can be married to several woman at the same time. Learn more here.)

As a young man, Walid worked on a house-painting crew. One of his co-workers, Haytham, sang Christian songs while listening to music through his earbuds. Walid hated Haytham and his singing. So one night after work, he stabbed Haytham with a knife.

In the Hospital
Haytham had to go to the hospital for surgery. Walid quit work and hid in his aunt’s house, hoping the police wouldn’t find him. When he finally left the house to look for a new job, a taxi hit him and crushed one of his legs and an arm. He, too, had to go to the hospital for treatment.

Haytham, who was no longer a patient at the hospital, came to visit Walid one morning in Walid’s hospital room. Haytham brought some of his Christian friends with him. When Walid saw the Christians, he screamed. He thought they had come to kill him. But Haytham gave Walid some gifts and then left the room.

Haytham continued to help Walid as he recovered. Walid returned to work on Haytham’s painting crew. He no longer hated Haytham, and he felt guilty for attacking him. But he still didn’t understand Haytham’s faith in Jesus.

A New Life and Christian Friends
While Walid tried to deal with his confusion about Christianity, he had a dream and a vision of Jesus that brought him peace and comfort. “I felt like I was a changed person,” he said. He gave his life to Christ and began going to church.

But his troubles were not over. Some of his brothers beat him up when they found out he had decided to follow Christ. They continued to abuse and threaten him.

Today Walid lives with a church member in Cairo, hiding from his family. He is grateful that he has Christian friends in his life who care for him, including Haytham, the man he used to hate.

(In the photo above, Walid’s face is covered to protect his identity from those who might want to harm him.)

(Source: March 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter)

To Think About
*Why do you think Haytham brought gifts to Walid in the hospital?
*Walid had to go into hiding twice in the story. In each instance, why was he hiding?
*List three things you can pray about for Walid, and then pray for him.