Baptist Press – William Bagsby – September 21, 2014

A year after more than 85 churches and Christian institutions across Egypt were destroyed and burned, and three years after the country’s longest serving president stepped down in the wake of nationwide protests, Christian workers there are finding an openness rarely experienced before.

Some workers noted that forgiveness — along with persistence in sharing the Gospel — shown by local Christians toward Muslims has played a large role in the change.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 18 days of nationwide demonstrations during what is now called the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Since then Egypt has gone through various protests, elections, presidents and the quake of upheaval.

In August last year more than 85 churches and Christian institutions were attacked and burned as a result of demonstrations across Egypt calling for an Islamic state.

There was ‘a profound blow of disgrace and humiliation in this culture of honor,’ Ramez Atallah, general director of the Bible Society of Egypt, said. ‘The non-retaliation of Christians was both unexpected and unprecedented.’

Egyptians are now openly questioning everything, including their faith, and expressing doubts aloud, Patrick Stein,* a Christian worker in Egypt and leader of a church-planting team, said. Doubting isn’t rare, he noted, but to openly challenge beliefs they have held onto is.

‘They are hungry for truth in a way that was not present before the revolution and the ensuing turmoil,’ Stein said.

‘If I am talking to people at a tea shop, people around who are not a part of the conversation will often stop me afterwards and want to know more,’ he said. ‘They will ask me their deep questions that have been troubling their hearts for years, but they never felt the ability to put those questions into actual words before.’

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