Story Egypt | 11 April 2024

A rare glimpse of our ministry in Egypt


Show: true / Country: Egypt / Egypt
It’s not often we get the chance to hear directly from our Open Doors field workers who help persecuted Christians. It’s even more rare to get a firsthand glimpse of their direct work. But this is one of those special stories. On a cold winter’s night, Carol*, an Open Doors field worker, visited Mariam* in a town just south of Cairo, Egypt. The town is on the western bank of the Nile River, and Mariam lives in a small house with her four children. This is Carol’s story, and shows how God works through your support of Open Doors to strengthen His people around the world. 

Mariam got married when she was 17, and she has four daughters: Syliva*, Lydia*, Judy* and Jane*. When I met her, I could see that she was broken and hopeless. And as she told me her story, it was easy to understand why. 

For many years, her life was happy. Her husband worked as a contractor, and the family’s financial situation was stable. “My husband was very helpful and loving,” Mariam says. “He loved God and used to serve Him. He lived as salt and light for his surrounding community.” 

“He was well known in his workplace and the surrounding area because he used to help lots of needy people,” Mariam explains. “This area where he worked, was known [for having] intense persecution. [In this area], Christians suffer a lot because of their faith, and they were discriminated against on a daily basis. However, my husband never felt afraid and used to help the Christians there and donate to sick and needy people. 

“That’s why radical Muslims wanted to get rid of him, and they used to threaten him a lot; [they wanted him] to stop helping needy Christians in the area. My husband was a brave man and never listened to them and continued helping others.” 

Horrifically, the extremists’ warnings weren’t merely words. “The disaster happened in 2017, when radical Muslims in the neighborhood ambushed my husband and slaughtered him in his workplace,” Mariam says. She bursts into tears, even years after the fact. “They killed him! They killed my soulmate and my life partner. He left behind four young daughters who were in real need of their father’s love and care.” 

Naturally, the family was utterly devastated. “My heart was torn apart,” Mariam says. “I can remember the day I received the news of his death as if it was yesterday. Everything turned upside down. Nothing returned the same as before.” 

Difficult questions

Mariam blamed God for the loss of her husband and for all her difficult circumstances. Her heart was full of resentments and bitterness towards God. She was afraid and felt unsafe—and she had no hope. She grew angry and aggressive. 

Her daughters were also traumatized. They were afraid and felt unsafe; they lost self-confidence. Mariam was not able to deal with the situation on her own. She quickly realized losing her husband was more than just an emotional loss. The new school year had started, and Mariam was not able to provide her children with school supplies.

“I tried hard not to make my daughters feel less than their peers at school, but I failed,” she says. “[These years] were totally horrible for me and for my daughters. My husband was not just a husband. He was a friend, a father and a partner. He was just everything for us.” 

Mariam looked me in the eye and bombarded me with questions: “Why did God do [this]? Why has He left us in our fear? Why did God leave my four girls to be fatherless at such a very young age? Why did I become a widow while I’m still so young? Why has He forsaken us? Did all of this happen? Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

A journey of support

From that day forward, our ministry team and partners started a journey of support with Mariam and her children. First, we helped her set up a small business project to start raising poultry to help her generate regular income and provide for her daughters. We provided an inner healing program for her
and her daughters, and regular pastoral visits. We wanted to show God’s love to them in a practical way.

And thanks to your gifts and prayers, the lives of Mariam and her daughters started to change and flourish. We can see the progress and success of her business. Now, she is able to provide for her children's needs.

“I still miss my dad and wish to see him one more time to have just one more hug! However, I know he is with my heavenly Father now and we will all meet soon," said 12-year-old Sylvia, the oldest daughter.

She continued: “I learned to forgive those who have hurt me, and I want to help others like my dad did; I am sure my Heavenly Father will never forsake us. It’s now the beginning of the school year, but this time is different, because our heavenly Father provided income for my mother so she can provide for

We also enrolled Mariam in a discipleship group where she learned about God’s authority and our responsibility, forgiveness, God’s presence amidst troubles, and that God has a unique plan for everyone. Mariam is learning and growing emotionally and spiritually. She has even started serving others in her local church through a discipleship program.

“I have seen God’s practical love through your love, care, and presence,” Mariam told me. “I believed that God is my Heavenly Father and He has never forsaken me. I am blessed with the small business project, and it is now working very well. We stopped blaming God, and we worship Him instead.”

Mariam and I prayed together to close our visit: “God, thank you for showing me mercy and protecting our small family,” she prayed. “I believe You have the ability to change the circumstances to better ones. Through every challenge I face, I ask that You free me from worry and fear and bring me Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen."

Although life’s daily challenges and spiritual warfare continue for Mariam—as with every Christian—she has been able to find hope and fulfillment in the Lord. Thank you for your support of Open Doors; it helps provide this kind of care for believers like Mariam, all over the world.

Pray with us for Mariam and our family in Egypt

  • Pray that God will always strengthen Mariam and her children so that they would have power to face difficult situations.
  • Pray for Mariam and her children, that they may live as salt and light for their surrounding community and that through God's power, they would be able to comfort and strengthen others.
  • Ask God to reveal Himself to radical and fanatic Muslims.
  • Pray that the love of Jesus will be reflected to Muslims through the lives of the Christians living in Egypt. Pray that Christians will show Muslims practical love through serving them

*representative names and image used for security reasons

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