The Baptist Church in Shorouk--under construction
Pastor Yousef and Dan at the front door of the church
Today (Feb. 3) I visited a church in a city that hasn’t been built yet. The city is Shorouk, Egypt. The population of Egypt has been exploding, with over 94 million people. Metropolitan Cairo is densely packed with over 20 million people, and new cities are springing up quickly in the surrounding areas.
Sharon and I were leaders along with IM Area Director Charles Jones for a retreat for pastors and their families in the Egyptian Baptist Convention. The retreat center used to be in the desert east of the Nile. But now a city is springing up all around it. In every direction dirt streets are lined out. The concrete, brick and rebar skeletons of new buildings rise from the ground in every direction as far as you can see. The sites of other homes are marked by small brick corners sometimes with the electrical box already installed. Some streets have villas nearing completion, whereas others are still full of dust and bricks.
In the middle of this desert under construction and a short walk from the retreat center is the rising form of a Baptist Church that already has a congregation gathering in it. Pastor Yousef serves the 60 or so people who gather on Sundays in the completed ground floor. On the second floor is the sanctuary which will hold many hundreds, awaiting windows and finishing. Next to the church a medical clinic will be built to provide for the health care of the community. The street has already been named Baptist Church Street.
The city isn’t even built yet, but already the Baptist Church is present. The core congregation has gathered. As houses are completed and families move in there will be a Baptist witness to welcome them and serve them.
It isn’t easy being a Baptist Christian in Egypt. There are many pressures faced by Christians in this society, sometimes even direct harassment and threat. But these brothers and sisters are full of vision and a passion for serving Christ and the people of Egypt. As Egypt’s population grows the work of the Egyptian Baptist Convention grows as well. Remember the witness of Egyptian Christians in your prayers, even in a city that hasn’t been built yet.
In peace and hope,
You are welcome to explore my website: www.danbuttry.com