The houses are not extravagant, by any definition. But they are safe, they provide shelter, and they are giving members of a marginalized community a place to call home. More than that, they are a physical demonstration of unity within the worldwide body of Christ. This is all possible because you chose be a part of Focus on the Family's Global Outreach.
The Focus Egypt team is committed to long-term ministry in the area, and construction will continue for many more months. The job training center will give new opportunities for families to earn a livelihood. And the final phase of the construction will include a Memorial Community Center in honor of the men who took such a brave stand. Your willingness to contribute so generously to our efforts in Egypt is deeply appreciated. The Lord is using this initiative powerfully as we strive to “visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27)
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The news of the 20 Egyptian men and their Ghanaian coworker who were murdered by ISIS in Libya reverberated around the world. All of the Egyptian men were members of the Coptic Christian church, so the nation, and especially members of the Coptic faith, was deeply shaken by the brutal murders. A team from Focus on the Family Egypt visited the communities in Upper Egypt where 20 of the martyrs came from. They spent two days in the villages, going from door to door to meet the friends and families of these men, and were completely unprepared to see the Bible come alive through the faith of these people.
All of these young Christians were in their early to mid-20s, and they went to Libya in search of work to help feed their families living under the poverty line in Egypt. They literally had nothing, except for the very thing they died for because they would not let it go — their faith in Christ. Their families echoed that faith. They did not curse ISIS. They did not ask for pity. They did not ask for supplies or money. When the team asked several of the families what needs they had that Focus might be able to help with, they said, "We have no physical needs. Please just pray that our faith remains strong." These are people who have nothing, including what most people would call a proper home, and not one of them expressed a single need other than maintaining a strong faith. Another elderly lady, who is caring for her grandchildren because her son was one of the 20 killed, was asked how they would survive without the breadwinner. She confidently said, "Our God has always provided for our every need, and He will continue to provide."
The families and friends of the 20 men all rejoiced that the men made the choice they did. They prayed that their children would forgive ISIS. And they said they would all hope to make the same choice, if faced with the same threat. It was a stirring challenge to the team from Focus on the Family Middle East, and to Christians everywhere.
The Focus Egypt team works with the central Coptic church in the area, and is providing counseling and distributing children's Bibles. This ministry was possible because of their existing partnership with the Coptic church. The local churches and the Focus office are partnering to continue their outreach and support to the families of these 20 men. Focus on the Family's Global Partnership is meeting people at their point of need, with biblical counsel and trusted resources. The families' physical need for housing gave Focus on the Family the chance to stand with the Egypt office, and meet the needs of these families in a tangible way. Thank you for choosing to be a part of what Focus on the Family is doing around the world.