AWEMA is at work in Egypt – where all staff are reported to be ‘fine and still working in their different fields’ following the revolution of January 2011 – through Algeria, Tunisia and the Horn of Africa, to the Gulf and Syria.
Church planting and growth is central to the ministry of the broadest cooperative movement of evangelicals in North Africa and the Middle East.
AWEMA’s latest report to WorldShare cites a number of examples. “The church building in the Sinai region (of Egypt) is under construction,” say our partners, “with a large congregation regularly attending. More people from Upper Egypt are relocating to this region, and most are nominal Christians, so the Lord is sending more people to be served.”
In southern Egypt, AWEMA’s team is focusing their work on remote villages where Christians are nominal in their faith, while the team in northern Egypt held weekly outreaches at a beach town.
AWEMA’s account of recent events in Egypt makes strong reference to youth, to communications technologies, and to the potential for new-found freedoms that could extend to the country’s Christian believers.
“The people (of Egypt) suffered many pressures, fear, and poverty, which were increasing every year,” our partners explain. “The majority of youth under 30 years old – 60% of the population – felt that the future was not clear and safe.
“Through technology – the internet, and Facebook – the desire for more freedom and a better life increased and these were the main reason for the youth’s revolution. If the demands of these youth are granted, there will be freedom of expression and political participation, and freedom of worship and evangelism.”
“Many families became interested and attended an outreach event, and now the couple is visiting them regularly and providing teaching and counselling.”
In the Gulf, in a location that cannot be specified for security reasons, AWEMA took over a hospital in the last year. “Many changes have taken place, including administration and financial systems, and developing more efficient services. A new 2-storey building is in progress, which will be an extension to the outpatient clinic, which serves 200 people per week.
“There is a critical need for missions-minded medical personnel to join the hospital, which is severely understaffed in obstetricians, paediatricians, anaesthetists and midwives. Pray that these needs for staffing will be met.”
Finally, in Algeria, AWEMA report their staff in the south have started weekly prayer and worship meetings in their homes, attended by a few families.
“Often the whole group goes to the surrounding forest and holds their meetings there. The couple is also doing follow-up work with Algerian citizens who hear about the Christian faith through satellite television.”
The tumultuous events in North Africa and the Middle East have come just as AWEMA reached its own milestone – 25 years of operation, engaged in ministry in many of the places that are now in the throes of change.
“Through our existence for 25 years, AWEMA was able to see the hunger and thirst of millions of people in the different Arab countries, to know God and experience His healing,” recall our partners.
“Today, we need to join hands and fulfil together, Jesus’ mission for the Middle East and North Africa, that the Lord would be glorified and His kingdom would expand.”