Middle East and North Africa

Religion, especially Islam, uniquely characterizes the Middle East and North Africa. Despite their ancient heritage and historical contributions since the first century, Christians remain vulnerable and relatively few in number across the region. Against considerable hardship and even violent persecution in some countries, the Church perseveres as a faithful remnant. Today, the region is home to over 20 million Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians.

As it ministers in hostile settings, the Middle Eastern and North African Church has great need for well-equipped leaders. Theological schools seek to train Christian leaders who can preach the Gospel amid adversity and address pressing issues, such as suffering and witness, forgiveness and reconciliation, and engagement with Islam. War and terrorism in the region have driven millions from their homes, but the Church is reaching out with the love of Christ. Many refugees are responding to the Gospel with encouraging openness.

Through LeaderStudies, SCHOLARLEADERS currently supports nine leaders from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. Through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, we have worked closely with leaders of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo as they develop plans for training pastors for Egypt and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. We also celebrate the work of reconciliation led by Musalaha founder and 2009 ScholarLeader of the YearDr. Salim Munayer, and his colleagues at Bethlehem Bible College.

Please join us in prayer for our sisters and brothers who live and serve in this region. Their commitment to Christ and His Church inspires and challenges us all. Pray for those who teach, train, minister, and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray especially for new believers who choose to follow Christ at great personal cost.

Photo: Coptic Church in Cairo Egypt (Credit: Evan Hunter).

Prayer Community

Vital SustainAbility: Brazil Cohort

The challenge has been how to care for and support everyone. We need to get in touch with those who are not participating in online learning, to understand the reasons, and to give the support they need. Some have infected relatives or acquaintances, and we have been praying for them. We created a “Virtual Chapel,” so students can receive messages and share prayer requests.

read more
Prayer Community

Vital SustainAbility: Ethiopia Cohort

All faculty members are now working from home, and the government has ordered that teachers continue teaching from home. We are in a very desperate situation, since the vast majority of our faculty members do not have laptops. This is a very critical and acute need. We are also in need of teleconferencing equipment, so we can continue offering lectures.

read more
Prayer Community

Vital SustainAbility: India Cohort

We have been working on contingencies for all our ministries in light of COVID-19. In India, we are currently under a nationwide lockdown, one of the most stringent in the world. This has caused difficulties for us in arranging food supplies for our campus, but the Lord has provided ways for us to get by. We have 70 students on our campus who were unable to leave before the shutdown. Daily wage workers, however, are facing a serious threat of starvation. We are currently working to supply 500 families with food for the next four weeks.

read more
Prayer Community

Stavan John in India

Before the pandemic and lockdown, I experienced an epiphany that I would like to share. It was during my recent study trip to the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS). I was asked to speak in the chapel, so I chose a passage dear to my heart: Mark 9:14-29. This passage focuses on the desperation of a father whose child is demon-possessed. Jesus heals the child, but not before addressing the father’s doubt, through both rebuke and empathy. As someone who has struggled with doubt myself, this was a good reminder.

read more
Prayer Community

Atul Aghamkar in India

The sudden shutdown of India, due to COVID-19, has taken all of us by surprise! This has led to massive confusion, as people do not know how to respond. Factories, shops, industries, offices, schools, and colleges have been shut down. Public and private transportation have completely ceased to function. People are prevented from going out of their homes, and those who venture out are beaten by the police. Heavy restrictions limit people’s movements. The shutdown has drastically affected people’s lives. While life at every level has been disturbed, the poorest of the poor are the ones most deeply affected by this shutdown.

read more
Prayer Community

Kesolenuo Suokhrie from Nagaland, India

My doctoral research focuses on social justice, particularly for immigrants. This interest comes from my own experiences working with Karen refugees, displaced by communal violence, at the Thai-Myanmar border and in Australia. In my own context, the influx of Muslim Bangladeshis into Nagaland has led to serious issues. To the natives, immigrants are outsiders who are invading our land, exhausting our resources, and threatening the identities of our indigenous peoples.

read more