As we celebrate International Women's Day today, we are focusing on our persecuted sisters. Christian women are often doubly vulnerable because of both their gender and their faith, and yet many are incredibly courageous in reaching out to others.
Women in rural Egypt are often seen as less important than men, and being a Christian in this Muslim-majority region creates additional challenges. But local partners of Open Doors are teaching Christian women in rural Egypt about their true value through discipleship groups.
Amany, a Christian woman from rural Egypt, leads one of the women’s discipleship groups. She says, “I want them to know they are so precious, valuable, created uniquely by God, loved and so crucial for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in Egypt.”
She explains the daily challenges Christian women in rural Egypt face: “They not only have to deal with the attacks on Christian faith, they also have to deal with the frequent dirty looks and harassment of the men in their country.”
It isn’t common for rural Christian to take a personal approach to faith, so Amany helps the women to seek a closer relationship with God, to read the Bible themselves and have fellowship with each other.
'I dare to pray to God directly'
On a visit to the group Amany leads, when she asked the ladies what their reaction would be if they stopped this weekly gathering, they all began protesting. One lady shared, “When I started to attend the group meeting, my life changed completely. I started attending church regularly. I became like light that shines in my home among my family and my neighbours. When I need advice, I talk to the group leader or other women in the group. This weekly gathering is so precious to me. Please never think of stopping this programme.”
Another woman shared her story, saying, “On the street where I live, the other mothers and I used to quarrel about the fights between our children regularly. But because of what I learned from God here, I try to change that behaviour by acknowledging my mistakes and talking about conflicts instead of ignoring them. God is using me to spread his love and peace among my neighbours.”
Another women shared, “I learned how to pray to God and talk with him, not just repeat written prayers from a book. I dare to pray to God directly now and my husband even helps me as well. I learned a lot from you, our teacher. May God bless you.”
Amany said, “How can the devil defeat a woman who is equipped by the Word of God, whose heart was healed by the loving kindness of Christ? A woman who is a beacon of love, joy and forgiveness? It’s so thrilling to see the impact a committed Christian woman can have and how she can be a real blessing for her family and her community.”
Stand with your sisters in Egypt
Alongside the daily discrimination facing Christian women in Egypt, Christian girls are increasingly being tartgeted by Islamic extremists - some are simply kidnapped, while others are groomed and lured into forced marriages. Our sisters in Egypt need our prayers and support more than ever. Here are three ways you can stand with them today:
- Pray. Praise God for the discipleship groups our partners are running in Egypt, which are helping our sisters in Egypt to understand their true value in Christ. Pray that God would continue to work through these projects. Pray for protection for our church family in Egypt, especially for Christian girls.
- Give a gift. Open Doors has been working through local partners and churches in Egypt since 1990, providing literacy training and education projects, youth and family ministry, advocacy support, medical outreach, ministry to widows and vocational training for women. But none of this would be possible without your prayers and support. £15 could go towards helping a family start a small business in the Middle East.
- Bring your friends to Standing Strong. Many people simply don't know about the challenges facing our church family around the world. Our Standing Strong celebrations in November are the perfect opportunity for your friends to meet their persecuted church family, as we hear speakers from Egypt, as well as from India and North Korea. Book your tickets today for an early bird discount.