BREAKING NEWS: Terrorists massacre Christians in Egypt. 26 dead, 25 wounded. Please pray. Here’s the latest.

Egypt-busattack

(Washington, D.C.) — Terribly sad news out of Egypt this morning: terrorists “attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 26 people and wounding 25 others,” reports the BBC.

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I’ll post updates on Twitter as more news becomes available. In the meantime, please pray for the victims and their families. Please pray for our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt to be strong and brave and bold witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ despite such these evil attacks by the Islamic State and other jihadi groups. Please pray, too, for President el-Sisi and the leaders of Egypt, including the police and security forces, that the Lord will grant favor to their efforts to establish lasting security and calm throughout the entire country for Christians and for all Egyptians.

As it happens, yesterday morning I met with Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda at the Embassy here in Washington. We discussed a wide range of issues, including President el-Sisi’s recent visit to Washington, the important efforts Cairo is making to protect Christians, and the government’s efforts to reach out to Christian leaders — Coptic, Catholic and Protestant — to build better relations. I greatly appreciated my time with the Ambassador, and I believe that the government there is making progress, though clearly there is much more that needs to be done.

Egypt-meetingAmbassador

Earlier this month, as readers of this blog know, I visited Egyptian Christian leaders in Cairo to stand in solidarity with them, get an update on their situation, and pray together. Indeed, I am praying the Lord will open the door for me to return to Egypt later this year to deepen these relationships. Eleven years ago, Lynn and our four sons and I lived in Cairo for several months while I was working on a book. We have a great love for Egypt, and we grieve for the persecution the Christians have been going through and all the political and economic troubles the nation has endured in recent years.

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The Bible is clear: God loves the people of Egypt. Much Biblical history happened in Egypt. Many major Biblical leaders lived in Egypt at one point in their lives — Joseph, the patriarchs, the entire nation of Israel, Moses, and the prophet Jeremiah, to name a few. Even the Lord Jesus lived there for a time with his parents when He was young. John Mark took the Gospel to Egypt in the First Century, and Egypt became a great center of discipleship early on. The prophet Isaiah indicates a very difficult but also very blessed future for Egypt (see Isaiah 19), so it’s important that we pray faithfully for the Christians of Egypt, and all Egyptians in these challenging and tumultuous times and find ways to stand with them and help them.

Here is what we know so far, as reported by the BBC:

  • Gunmen have attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 26 people and wounding 25 others, state media report.
  • The bus was heading towards the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, 220km (140 miles) south of Cairo, when it came under fire.
  • No group immediately said it was behind the attack.
  • But Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months, and vowed to do so again.
  • Two suicide bombings at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta on 9 April left 46 people dead.
  • Another suicide bombing at a church in the capital in December killed 29 people, while a Christian community was forced to flee the town of el-Arish in the northern Sinai peninsula after a series of gun attacks in February.

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