ICC NOTE: Muslim converts to Christianity are often castigated and ostracized from family members, acquaintances, and friends; in extreme cases, they are even subject to death.
Egyptian Pastor: Pray That God Will Reach Many in Arab World
December 8, 2006
SAN DIEGO , CA (AgapePress) – An Egyptian doctor-turned-pastor shares that he is witnessing a different kind of healing in his church and his country — a healing of people’s lives brought about through the knowledge of and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Persecution of Christians today in Muslim countries is well documented. Many Arab countries prohibit Christians from evangelizing among their predominantly Islamic populations. Open display of Bibles and Christian tracts is forbidden. Muslim converts to Christianity are often castigated and ostracized from family members, acquaintances, and friends; in extreme cases, they are even subject to death. In addition, because of U.S. oil interests in the Middle East , religious persecution in that area of the world is frequently ignored by State Department officials.
Yet, within the Arab world, there are Christian pastors who operate daily within these parameters. One such pastor is Rev. Dr. Sameh Maurice Tawfik. Tawfik gave up his practice as a prominent medical doctor in his native Egypt to become a pastor of a thriving church in Cairo — Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church. Pastor Mark Foreman of North Coast Calvary Chapel (NCCC) in Carlsbad , California , reports that Tawfik’s church continues to grow despite the persecution.
Foreman disclosed that recently the Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church has seen its membership increase from four to seven thousand. NCCC is one of a number of sponsor churches of this unusual ministry located in the heart of Egypt ‘s capital city.
Tawfik is a strong but soft-spoken man who is dedicated to his beliefs. He left a prosperous medical profession in Egypt to become a pastor. Tawfik explained last week at NCCC that members of his church cannot evangelize “outside the walls of the church [because] it is not allowed.” However, he explains that they can share the gospel with Muslims who request to hear about the salvation message that is central to the Bible.
For years Tawfik’s church has implemented creative ways to reach people in his native city of Cairo . Several years ago this Egyptian church participated in distributing video tapes — a sermon by Evangelist Luis Palau — to over 500 churches in the region. Organizers estimated that the video was viewed by more than 150,000 Egyptians.
Pastor Tawfik is asking Christians in America pray for his fellow Egyptians. Tawfik and his congregation have been praying for years that God would supernaturally reach people of the Islamic faith. The pastor reports that he knows, from firsthand knowledge, of multitudes of Muslims who have had dreams about Jesus Christ. He says Muslims give high regard to dreams, believing it is yet another way for God to communicate with his people. Tawfik believes these dreams have led large numbers of Egyptians to faith in Christ. The pastor speaks of whole communities that have dreams about Jesus Christ.
On other occasions, Tawfik tells of Muslim families who, after coming to faith in Christ, find their modest apartments filled with a heavenly light for up to 45 minutes at a time. Palua said shortly after his visit to the Kasr el-Dobara church several years ago that he has “seldom seen such an overwhelming hunger to hear the Good News.”