By Courtney Lott –
When my mom first considered the prospect of moving to Egypt, anxiety shouldered out excitement pretty fast. “Everything about your mindset changes if you want to go unnoticed,” she said. “Two Christians who had been there for awhile told me about clothing – making sure my arms were covered, pants are better, and keep your purse close to you.”
The effort to not stick out is an art for the ex-pats who live in Egypt. With a 90 percent Muslim population, it’s even harder if these ex-pats are Christians, like my parents. It is vitally important, then, to find a community of other believers.
When my parents discovered Maadi Community Church (MCC) not far from Cairo, it felt like stepping into an oasis. “The people in the church made us feel welcome immediately when they introduced new people and asked which country you came from,” my mom said. “Naturally, Dad said Texas and that got a pretty good laugh.”
With people from every tribe, tongue, and denomination in attendance, their influence spreads worldwide. Though the Muslim community shows disinterest in the church, they provide jobs for boabs (guards) and maids, and invite their children to the camps they host during the summer.
A multicultural haven, MCC strives to be an oasis for people like my parents. “[This] is an idea that has been around for a very long time,” says Rev. Steve Flora. “We’re using this whole metaphor of oasis as a place to come get refreshed. Not to stay and live and try to be safe gathered around the oasis like it’s a little fortress, but to be refreshed, recharged, refilled, and then you go out into the world.”
MCC impacts the world in a big way. From a refugee school that serves displaced people throughout Cairo, to training African pastors, to a prison ministry, the diverse congregation actively reaches out to the people in their community with the love of Jesus.
Through God’s goodness, MCC has outgrown the property they share with St. John’s Episcopal Church. Sharing a property with over eleven other churches limits their time and as well as their resources. Moreover, there is a unique, if small, window of opportunity for the church to gain coveted official governmental permission to find their own place of worship.
Since the time President Gamal Abdel Nasser created the modern state of Egypt in the mid-1950’s, the government has refused to grant new church licenses. Now, however, the government has begun granting new licenses for reasons unknown. Because of this, MCC is now seeking to raise funds to buy a building in Maadi.
“[A new building] offers, not only for us, but for other people, other churches, other organizations, another place that they can come and have church on a legally sanctioned church property,” says Flora. “For me and our family it’s an investment in the future, not my future so much, as the future of Egypt and the church.”
Please pray for Maadi Community Church as they seek their own property and continue to work to be the hands, feet, and mouthpiece of the Lord in a community that is not open to Jesus Christ. For more information on the work God is doing there, visit http://maadichurch.com.
Courtney Lott is editorial assistant at Good News.