Back in 2019, pro-Islamist President Mohammed Morsi supporters took to the streets. Thousands took part in the protests in Alexandria, Suez and other cities calling for Morsi to be reinstated and urging military leader General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to step aside.
According to David an I.N. Network worker, these protests put his family at risk. David says protesters surrounded his home for 50 days.
“They consider the area as a holy place, and they try to come back to the area again and again,” he says. “So the police and the army surround the area. Every Friday there is a big group of the Muslim Brotherhood. They try to come back, and they fight with the army and police.”
While David and his family have had to leave their home for a time, they are safe.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood took power, Christians have been the targets of violence. Once the government was sacked, Christians had hoped that would change. But, David says, it hasn’t.
“They are still creating troubles and problems,” he says. “The militants want to destroy the country. They attack many churches. Many churches have been burned. Many Christians have been killed.”
David says that’s why the I.N. Network has established an emergency fund to help survivors of the violence.
“Winter is approaching in Egypt,” he says. “And many families—especially in the south—don’t have enough clothes. They need blankets, so we’re doing a project to distribute blankets.”
While the violence has been difficult, David says there is good news.
“Churches are united together. And the spirit of prayer is happening in all the churches. People are praying all the time,” he says.
The response to the violence against burned churches has also been remarkable. Christians posted signs on their burned-out churches that read, “You burned our church, but we love you.”
David says,”It’s a great message of forgiveness. This makes many Muslims discover the reality of Christianity, and many of them come to know Jesus.”
While Muslims are turning, that’s creating another problem.
“Until now, they find difficulty for security reasons to join local churches, so they meet underground in a secret way,” David says. “They worship the Lord together, and they’re growing.”
As Muslims come to Christ, they’re uniquely qualified to share the gospel. “The easiest way to reach Muslims is through converted Muslims,” David says.
While David isn’t praying for more persecution, he’s excited about the Holy Spirit working. “It’s always like this,” he says. “When there is pressure over the churches, the Holy Spirit is working, and many people are coming to know Jesus as Savior.”
One reason why “many people are coming to know Jesus as Savior” is because once you have been directly persecuted as a Christian, any fear or shame you had about sharing your faith evaporates. Here’s how one believer in the Middle East put it: “Once you experience persecution, the fear goes away … you lose it. Persecution has made me bolder in sharing my faith.
Almost 5 years on and David says the church is still powering on for God and seeing many saved. This gives us a picture of what I believe the “last days” church will look like only “in spades”.