During the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been the targets of persecution. Comprising nearly 10% of the nation’s population, they were beaten, raped, tortured, burned out of their homes and churches and killed. A large part of the violence came from Egyptian police and military acting on the orders of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi made it clear that all non-Muslims in the country faced three choices: convert to Islam, pay a tax for not being Muslim or leave the country. Coptic Christians were not given much of any choice before they were brutally attacked.
Facing the brutal persecution from the Egyptian government and other Muslims, around 1,400 Christian teenagers from 8 to 14 years old gathered at the desert oasis of Wadi El Natroun for the One Thing Kids festival. Starting on the 16th of July, they worshipped God and prayed that they would be the salt and light for Jesus and become the change-makers in their communities. The festival ended on July 18 as they returned home, all fired up to be disciples of Christ and witnesses to their neighbors.
Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church (KDEC) and the children’s prayer ministry of the Synod of the Nile of the Presbyterian Church were the organizers of the event. They stated:
“Our vision is to have this generation praying and worshipping God, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be able to change the world.”
The event, with all of its sessions was telecast live on SAT-7, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 ARABIC channels and on SAT-7 KIDS YouTube Live. Farid Samir, Director of Egypt’s SAT-7 commented about the festival saying:
“In a conference like this we saw kids worshipping and praying from their pure hearts, hearing God’s voice and sharing it. Some kids told their testimonies of special encounters with the Lord.”
Samir’s own kids attended the festival and he said they:
“Were spiritually stretched, they memorized Bible verses, learnt new songs, and learnt how to intercede for their country”.
“We believe God is going to change things in Egypt because of the faithful intercession of kids, and there will be reconciliation, salt and light especially at the communities the kids will get back to.”
I wonder how many of America’s Christians, facing the persecution that Egypt’s Christians have been facing would be strong enough in their faith to send their kids to such a festival? From what I’ve seen over the past decade, most of the people that call themselves Christians here in America would shrink away and hide at the first sign of persecution. If threatened, they would be like Peter and deny knowing Christ. Many Christians are embarrassed to pray for their food when out in public for fear of what others will think.
I admire the strength of the faith of Egypt’s Coptic Christians and pray that American Christians would learn from their example. The difference between Egypt’s Christians and many of America’s Christians can be seen in what Jesus Christ said in Luke 9:23-26:
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’”