Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing prayer requests from Middle Eastern and North African leaders. 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 believers. Through LeaderStudies, ScholarLeaders currently supports nine leaders from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. Learn more.
This week, please join us in prayer for Dr. Tharwat Wahba in Egypt. A cradle of civilization, Egypt traces its history to the sixth millennium before Christ. Its rich and distinctive cultural heritage manifests centuries of interchange with Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and Nubian empires. Once an influential Christian center, Egypt has long been a Muslim-majority nation, following its Islamization in the seventh century. Today, 85% of Egypt’s 99.6 million people adhere to Islam (mostly Sunni), the official religion, while 15% follow Christianity (mostly Coptic).
Tharwat Wahba earned his PhD in 2009 from the London School of Theology. His dissertation traced the development of the Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile) and its historical relationship with the American Presbyterian Mission. Currently, Tharwat serves as Chair of the Council of Pastoral Ministry and Evangelism for the Synod of the Nile and as Chair of Missions at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, a partner school of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative.
ScholarLeaders sponsored Tharwat’s doctoral studies and work on an Arabic translation of his book, The Practice of Mission in Egypt. Tharwat also serves on the editorial board of the InSights Journal for Global Theological Education. Check out Tharwat’s 2012 InSights Perspective, Hope for the Church in Egypt. Tharwat and his wife Ibtesam have a daughter and two sons.
Tharwat shares the following message:
Peace in Christ. I hope all of you are doing fine with your loved ones during this coronavirus pandemic. We are praying for God’s protection and mercy. “Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 NIV). We trust in His word, as we are in His mighty hands.
In Egypt we are trying to adjust to new challenges. The government is making many efforts to protect people through tough measures that limit the spread of the virus. Schools, universities, cafes, and restaurants are closed. Malls and shops are open until 6pm, on Sundays through Thursdays, and are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Our curfew is from 8pm to 6am. Public transportation stops during these hours.
However, in many cities and villages people are not recognizing the danger, so they neglect to practice social distancing. The numbers of infections and deaths are increasing every day. We see panic in various fields, especially in healthcare and businesses. Doctors and nurses are facing a very hard time.
Churches and Christian organizations have mostly closed their offices. Many church services are now online. Prayers and teachings are also offered online. Even some kids’ ministries are going online. Many denominations and local churches are giving food supplies to needy families.
The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) had also moved its courses online, and provided some support to students and their families. We had our graduation in June, but without physical attendance.
We have many challenges in need of prayer.
- Pray for churches and pastors as we try to care for people.
- Pray for needy families that have lost their income because of business closures.
- Pray for church leaders to make wise decisions at the right time to comfort people amid their fears.
- Pray that God would use this time to purify and bring many to repentance.
- Pray that God would stop the virus and heal infected people.
- Pray that our Lord would empower doctors, nurses, and scientists who are trying to stop the pandemic.
- Pray that ETSC could encourage and support needy people by spreading the message of hope and peace through our faculty, students, and graduates.
We pray for the world, and for our brothers and sisters in the Global Church to be effective in carrying the Good News of the Gospel in times of confusion and panic. God is in control.