Over the past eight years God has abundantly blessed the faithful preaching of the gospel throughout the ancient land of Egypt. This has been as a result of the prayers and labours of believers gathering to the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ in New Testament type assemblies that have been planted throughout the country. There are now assemblies established in towns and villages right down the River Nile starting at Aswan in the south and as far away as Alexandria situated on the Mediterranean coastline.
The Word of God in Egypt has over the years been accepted with much affliction as at Thessalonica (1 Thess 1.6), and this situation has not changed even in the present day. The believers have gone through much persecution from other religions in recent years, some having known what it is to suffer the loss of all things. Others have endured interrogation, torture and imprisonment, and yet they are faithful to the claims of their Saviour.
In the last five years we have had the joy of seeing a number converted from Islam. These have now lost their homes, families, education and employment whilst others are in hiding as they are being sought after by the authorities for further questioning and persecution, their only crime being the acceptance of God's Son as their Saviour. These beloved saints are being supported by the Egypt Christian Fund. The fund only gets involved at the request of local assembly elders, and, as required, supplies food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities of life on a regular basis.
In the year 1985 the Lord laid on my heart and that of faithful Egyptian brethren the desire to build a Conference Centre on the Mediterranean coastline to be used for Bible teaching conferences for all ages, for Sunday school conferences and gospel meetings. God graciously supplied the land and the finance to build, and now we can sleep as many as three hundred people at the centre. We also have a meeting room that will hold approximately three hundred and fifty people. This year we were able to present the message of redeeming grace to over one thousand unsaved people who had accepted invitations to a number of gospel conferences that had been arranged.
From a very poor area of Cairo we invited two hundred and eighty unsaved people for a week of gospel meetings. We thank our God that we had the joy of seeing forty-one of these souls trust Christ as Saviour. Seventeen of these new believers were baptised during this week. In some areas of Egypt the gospel is preached every night in the week. As a result our Gospel Halls are not big enough to cater for the rapid increase in numbers of those being baptised and then seeking fellowship.
Please pray for an Egyptian brother and his wife who labour amongst the people who live in the garbage tip area of Old Cairo. This couple are both highly qualified in medicine and give of their time and skill freely in helping to bring the gospel to these needy souls. A new assembly was planted in this area three years ago. Amongst our assemblies we now have eight commended Egyptian full time workers who are all evangelists and do a great work in pioneering the spread of the gospel particularly in the villages of Upper Egypt.
Six years ago we started to produce, every two months, two Bible teaching magazines which I assist in editing. They are designed for different age groups, are financed by the Egypt Christian Fund, and are printed in Egypt. The magazines go to many Arabic speaking people living outside Egypt in many parts of the world including Canada, Australia, Jordan, Syria, North America and the United Kingdom.
I have been visiting Egypt since 1978, always by invitation from responsible Egyptian brethren. In 1980, along with the help of other brethren from my own assembly and the North of England, the Egypt Christian Fund was formed. The purpose in establishing the fund was to assist in supporting the Egyptian believers in the spread of the gospel and in the planting of New Testament churches. We are still the only Trust Fund in the world seeking to help in this difficult part of God's harvest field.
I have been greatly indebted to brethren such as our late brother John Flynn, Jim Baker, Jim Hutchinson, Robert Revie, Jim Currie, William McBride, Phil Coulson, and latterly Marshall Howe and others who over the years have been prepared to accompany me to Egypt, sometimes living in difficult conditions, to help in the ministry of God's Word and the proclamation of the gospel.
We are presently involved in helping to provide the majority of the finance required for the building of three new Gospel Halls situated in Southern Egypt and the extension and renovation of two more in Upper Egypt. One of these assemblies is situated in an area where there is extreme poverty, and so, after much prayer, we have decided to link a nursery school and a medical clinic to the meeting place. These will be staffed at all times by believers from our assemblies.
During a recent visit, Phil Coulson and I were invited to speak at three conferences arranged by assemblies in Cairo and Southern Egypt. In one area we were invited to speak at a young people's conference on assembly principles. The conference was held for four days at which there were approximately two hundred and fifty young people. Whilst out in Egypt on that occasion we arranged to have distributed one thousand copies of A G Clarke's book on assembly principles to those gathered at our meetings.
Phil Coulson and I plan (God willing) to return to Upper Egypt at the end of January. Apart from travelling to different assemblies in Egypt we shall be speaking at the Servants Bible Teaching Conference to be held in the town of Samaloot. Phil has confirmed to me that he is willing to fit into his busy programme a portion of his valuable time and effort in supporting the Lord's work in Egypt. Please remember us in our future working together for God's glory.