THE FATHER HEART OF GOD – EGYPT MINISTRY REPORT 2016
Editor’s note: We thank all who prayed for our ministry trip to Egypt last year and also to those who supported the effort with their prayers. This report explains the successful nature of the venture and its impact upon those who were ministered to in Egypt. If you would like to have a PDF of the report, including photos, you can request it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the continuing hardship across the country and the ongoing oppression of Christians in Egypt, many arrived tired and longing for space to rest and to fellowship without all the difficulties that often accompanies church life in Egypt. So with great joy and from a safe place, behind the walled enclosure of Beit Agape, the Prayer and Mission centre in the Western desert, they freely praised and worshiped God; shared fellowship with one another and grew in their faith, understanding the Father Heart of God and learning how to strengthen their marriages. Spontaneously people prayed, praised and shared and as usual, it went on into the ‘wee-hours’ of the morning, Egyptian style.
Delegates constantly requested prayer for their church fellowships, family members and country; their personal and physical illness, their future and marriages etc. They wanted hands laid on them to be anointed and blessed.
The speaking team this year did a great job. The team consisted of Pastor Ric Benson, myself and our main speaker for the conference, Ken Symington. Ken is from Northern Ireland and is one of our CHI (CityHarvest International) Book author’s. As the main speaker he spoke from the topic of his bestselling book, “Loved Like Never Before,” which is on the Father Heart of God. In our sessions, both Ric and I spoke on the same theme. Ken’s wife, Linda, accompanied him and my wife, Liz, also joined me this year; her first time to Egypt and our Egyptian friends loved having her.
The young people who attended were passionate and keen to learn. It is encouraging to us that we are seeing such a response in this aspect of our work as we have toiled with it over the past few years. The future, if this seminar is any indication, is very promising. Praise the Lord! The stories told by many were so moving and left you very humbled. Some stories were heart wrenching others just normal Christian life for an Egyptian believer. One such story of a bother who had converted from the M Brotherhood and was beaten and thrown into jail for a time because of his conversion. A young family of 4 from a M background told of their harrowing experiences in crossing over to Christianity.
Heart wrenching as these stores where, they were balanced by the incredible commitment they had to Christ along with their resolve to see Egypt come to Christ. We heard remarkable stories of how God is moving in the midst of the hardship and difficulties. Let us not forget to prayer and support these dear ones. In the lead up to this year’s conference we gathered enough surplus funds from our ministry and Ken’s to have his bestselling book on the ‘Father Heart of God’ translated and published in Arabic ready for this conference. A special bookmark was also printed and handed out with each copy sold. Ken lost count of the hundreds he must have signed over the week. He was so delighted to see his book in Arabic.
It was something he had long-hoped for and to now see it and to be in Egypt speaking to leaders from across the church on its contents, was such a joy and a real blessing to both he and Linda. They are great people and fitted in with us all like a hand in a glove. Running concurrently to the main conference was the “marriage builder track.” Ps Ric along with Ps Rezk, from Upper Egypt (our marriage seminar interpreter), again helped many understand and address key areas in their marriages. The 45 couples thoroughly enjoying Ric’s practical, down-to-earth teaching. We again had a marriage workbook in Arabic for couples to use and then take away with them to help them in the future.
The team shared great fellowship together, were totally people focussed, delivered their teaching with commitment and great engagement and were always available to chat, pray and counsel as people requested. Also special this year was our ministry partner brother M who preached a wonderful message at our closing session on the, “7 Persecutions of the Christian life.” Wow! What a hard hitting and life transforming message it was. I would love many of our congregations in the West to hear this kind of talk. He and I had wanted to balance the teaching on the love of the Father to include how the Father also disciplines His son and daughters; this message more than adequately did that. An outstanding message!
Our incredible ministry partners, M and A without them none of this would be possible nor would it be as effective as it is; they are the real ‘heroes of faith’…they need all the prayer, support and encouragement people like us can give. They are two very dear friends; special people in God. It was again great to have our very dear friend and gifted interpreter, Sameh assisting us for the whole week; he’s such a delight to work with, a real gift from God to us. This year Liz and I got to spend a whole day with his lovely family back in Cairo after the conference. I also met his pastor Rev Youssef and got to pray over his congregation. He’s a key leader in Evangelical circles.
We have been given this God-given opportunity to encourage and lift the vision of our Egyptian brothers and sisters at this time. They are the ones commissioned to advance Christ’s kingdom in what can only be classified as a hostile environment. However for them, this is their home! On the final night of the Conference after I spoke from John 15 on, “The Robe, the Ring and the Sandals,” the team prayed over most of the delegates. it was a late night that night! A real bond of Christian fellowship and joy was experienced, with many expressing personal appreciation that Christian leaders would come from the other side of the world, like Australia, (and Northern Ireland) and at their own expense, to teach, pray and encourage them amidst the often dangerous and uncertain climate that is Egypt.
However the team felt that our sacrifice was minuscule compared to the sacrifices many of the delegates make each year to attend our conference. As always, one returns from ministry in these kinds of places not only grateful to God for the experience and the incredible opportunity, but humbled and deeply impacted through meeting brothers and sisters who are tested and tried for their faith on a daily bases, yet radiate the love of Jesus; shining examples of Christianity 101!
A very big THANK YOU to all who financially support our work in Egypt. Please continue your sponsorship by helping one or more Egyptian pastors / leaders attend: It costs just $50 per head.
Account: CityHarvest International (045-303-109) Suncorp Ltd; Bank BSB/484-799; Bank SWIFT code METWAU4B.
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