Christians and churches in Egypt need prayer this week, as violent protests continue in the country in response to the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi.
Egypt’s government cracked down on protestors last week; so far, nearly 700 people have died and 3,700 more are injured. And nearly 70 churches, Christian institutions and businesses have been attacked, burned or destroyed.
Beni Mazar Baptist Church in Minya, a city of 250,000 people 150 miles south of Cairo, was burned last week. No casualties or injuries were reported, although the pastor and his family live on the premises.
Months earlier, John Amin*, pastor of the Beni Mazar church, had said, “We live here at the church, so if someone attacks our church, they attack our home. The kids are afraid.”
Many in the community around the church are afraid, Amin said, but he still had a vision to see the church packed with those seeking Christ. “We want the community to see us and come and grow the church,” he said.
Minya reported the country’s highest number of attacks against churches, totaling 14. One of Egypt’s oldest Coptic Christian churches, the fourth-century Church of the Virgin Mary there, was torched and burned Wednesday.
In addition, the Egypt Bible Society bookstore in Minya was destroyed.
“Fear is a part of life in Egypt,” said a Christian worker who serves in the region. He encourages believers in Egypt not to give in to fear. “The enemy is strong here. He makes people afraid.”
Spiritual oppression is real, the worker said, stressing that boldness to share the Gospel, especially in difficult times, must come from the Holy Spirit.