It is beyond difficult to capture in a few short paragraphs all we experienced during our time in Egypt. We scheduled our trip to Cairo ages ago. Our purpose? To spend time with old friends, to learn what fellow brothers and sisters were doing for the sake of the kingdom, and to connect with other followers of Christ who desire to reach Egypt's majority population. A second revolution was not on our original agenda. Neither were bread shortages or endless lines to simply replenish gasoline. And we certainly did not plan to scramble for last-minute transportation as taxi companies were grounding their cars.
Our scheduled departure on June 30th was the same day as the official protest against the Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Morsi. While we were preparing for a trip abroad, millions of Egyptians were preparing to retake their revolution and demand a leader that did not have an agenda outside of serving the people through a democratic government.
Their reasons for ousting their first elected president were many, but what we found particularly interesting was that Christians and moderate Muslims alike were banding together under the common interest of saving Egypt from economic ruin. And because of this, almost every conversation we had with close friends, new acquaintances, and even the barber in the Garbage Village, eventually turned to their personal opinions of the president, their plans for the protests, and their predictions of what these protests would bring.
While we were there, we had one unique privilege after another, meeting with believers from many different denominations and sects to hear how they are doing, what they are doing, and how they were feeling about the potential second revolution. For non-denominational Westerners, this trip was both eye opening and humbling as we learned from the Egyptian body of Christ. We were welcomed into a house church to pray together. We spent several days serving alongside our Orthodox brothers and sisters to serve children in under-resourced communities. We even had the extraordinary privilege of witnessing the baptism of a new disciple who was renouncing the majority faith system.
We met with people among the church who are inviting Muslims into the work they are doing. Many in one rural region are taking notes from a sweet lady who is working to provide women with trade skills so they can be self-sustainable. She is addressing the economic independence of women in these villages better than anyone else, and she is Muslim.
Not far from Tahrir Square, an evangelical church has set up a field hospital to serve those wounded in the protests. They are getting many of their supplies—and many of their volunteer doctors—from within the Muslim community.
We don't want to paint a rosy picture, because the Church makes up only 10 percent of the population and can quickly become the target of persecution and violence. And as we write this, we hear from our friends in Cairo that the ousted regime is making threats against the Coptic believers.
Having said that, when we think of our friends and co-laborers within Egypt, we have much to learn from them. Their joy is palpable and it is contagious.
We have reflected on the lessons we learned for our whirlwind time in Egypt, and we are rich with new relationships and understanding. We spent a lot of time listening and learning from our brothers and sisters, and several themes stood out.
First, many within the Church are actively engaged in the political processes that have led to both the first and second revolutions. They have not shied away from speaking their voices and advocating for the rights of Christians and Muslims alike.