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A staff member and customers discuss one of the books available at a Bible Society bookshop in the Heliopolis area on the outskirts of Cairo. Photo credit: Bible Society of Egypt

Light shines in the darkness in Covid-stricken Egypt

As many Bible Societies struggle worldwide due to the pandemic, the Bible Society team in Egypt has made the most of a difficult situation, and been blessed greatly.

Ramez Attalah, General Secretary of Bible Society in Egypt, feared the worst. Closed churches and no large events during the Covid pandemic meant local funds had dropped by 30 per cent. He expected a ‘depressing report full of problems’ for Bible mission in Egypt when he attended a Zoom meeting with bookshop managers.

A short while later, he was praising the Lord. Local income for mission work might have fallen and Bible sales had dropped, but his team was making the most of a raft of new opportunities that had opened up to engage in Bible work.

Newly embraced methods of online outreach to a growing network of customers was having a tremendous impact.

‘I was amazed as the bookshop salesmen shared enthusiastically from all parts of the country, how each one felt the Lord leading them,’ said Ramez.

Staying connected

Social media was used to send encouraging messages and news and links to all the free digital productions and competitions the team have been making available during the months of the pandemic. 

‘Through one of our bookshops in the [Nile] Delta, where there are very few Christians, one minister has 1,900 people in several WhatsApp groups who are receiving our Daily Bible Readings and using this for their daily Bible study together,’ said Ramez. 

Bible Society of Egypt team members meet on Zoom to discuss Bible mission strategy during the pandemic. Photo credit: Bible Society of Egypt

Bookshops open, expanded

Bible Society bookshops remained open despite fewer customers due to the pandemic. Bible Society bookshops in the Middle East are much more significant as ministry outposts than Christian bookshops here in England and Wales. Many people come in not just to buy books but to have conversations and ask questions. Often these are the best and safest places for people of other faiths to engage with Christians.

‘As most church bookshops have been closed, the Bible Society bookshops are the only place to get a Bible in many, many cities. Our staff also make home deliveries to those afraid to leave their homes during this pandemic,’ Ramez explained.

The Bible Society team used lockdown time wisely to complete work on three bookshops.

‘There had been various challenges to the work, but by the grace of God, we were able to overcome all of the problems, and these bookshops are ready to be opened shortly. We are especially thanking the Lord for our newest bookshop in the city of Hurghada, an important international resort on the Red Sea coast, with a large population of Egyptian Christians living and working there,’ said Ramez.

Please pray for Bible Society of Egypt that it will continue to build on the good work already completed. Thank you for your continued support for the worldwide Bible mission. We might be living in a time of uncertainty but one thing we know is that our God is unchangeable in his faithfulness.

Support Bible work in Egypt and the Middle East

Author: Simon Bartz, 10 July 2020

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