Hope House: Encouraging Faith Amidst a Pandemic
By Emma Reeves
06/03/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The coronavirus has caused shutdowns, fear, and scarcity across the world as nations come to grips with the newest reality. As social distancing guidelines, new safety practices, and work-from-home orders are instated, families everywhere are facing economic, emotional, and spiritual struggle.
The community surrounding ICC’s Hope House in Egypt is no different. With impoverished Christians treated as lower-class citizens, the trials brought on by this pandemic devastate these families. Many are already struggling to provide for their children. A crisis such as this can create extremely dire circumstances, since both work and supplies are scarce.
Working from home is not an option for the parents of Christian families in Egypt. Most of these fathers earn money as factory workers, construction crew members, or other vocational jobs. Some parents have waited at home with little or no income for over two months now.
Others go into work once or twice a week, earning just enough to get by for a few more days. Some mothers have started businesses out of their houses, sewing clothes or making jewelry, trying to bring in some extra money. It has forced some to send their young children to find whatever work is possible.
“My husband is a car driver, and there was a dispute between him and the job owner, and he did not give my husband his wage, so my husband did not work for two months. So I sent my son to work to help us,” explains one Egyptian mother.
Other families experience suffering as they await medical care. The physical conditions which Egyptian Christians are forced to live in are extremely impoverished. The majority of the children in this community suffer from some kind of medical condition, whether it is worms, anemia, or malnutrition. The mothers are doing their best to take care of them and keep them healthy, but there is only so much they can do without proper care.
The children have missed several months of schooling this year, with only some of them continuing at-home learning. During the pandemic, they have missed out on pieces of their childhood and moved straight to adult responsibilities.
“I’m so sad cause I don’t meet my friends, I miss the schooling. Sometimes I play with my cousins, but I stay at home most of the time,” said one child.
In spite of all of this, though, the families have kept a firm faith. Though the education center is closed, Hope House activities are continuing. Families are regularly visited by ICC’s team. They are provided food, hygiene, and basic medical care. Several families look forward to these visits and encouraged to use the newly available time in devotions.
The children pray nightly with their mothers, asking Jesus to protect them and save them from the virus. They trust that He is faithful. Church services are closed across the country, but these Christians continue to put their trust in the Lord, not wavering even in the midst of such fear. Despite the surrounding worry and suffering, they keep their eyes on Christ and find hope in Him.