Wednesday, September 23, 2009

John Mark

A little something I wrote (I'm actually having a good time researching this stuff) for the investment fund of our church which gave a $25,000grant to the Cairo Festival:

John Mark the Apostle traveled down dusty roads into Egypt, the country of his birth, sometime around AD 40. He wanted to return to his homeland to sow the seeds of Christianity among his former countrymen.

Walking into Alexandria, Mark encountered a cobbler whom he asked to repair his broken sandal. The cobbler did so but not without injuring himself with one of his tools. Mark miraculously healed the man’s wound, and this event led to Mark’s first baptism of a believer in Egypt and the birth of the Coptic Church.

Beginning with Mark’s work, Christianity continued to spread throughout Egypt until the Muslim Conquest in AD 639. As the language, culture and commerce of Egypt shifted toward Arabic traditions, the Islamic faith began to overtake Christianity.

Today, 90% of the Egyptian population is Islamic. It is against the law for someone born into Islam to convert to another religion. Bibles translated in Arabic are prohibited throughout the country unless they were provided by the Coptic Church.

It may seem that the fruit of Mark’s work has all but disappeared.

But what about the other ten percent of the Egyptian population?

That is where the Cairo Festival comes in.

A three day Christian festival organized to reach those among the ten percent who are not yet Believers, the Cairo Festival is held each year to reintroduce Christ to the Egyptians people. The festival events include music, drama, dance, sports, food, and an evangelical message each day. In 2008, nearly 18,000 people attended the festival; four thousand of those accepted Christ as their Savior, twice as many people than those who responded to the call in the prior year. An additional half-million Arabic-speaking viewers throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Europe heard the Word via Satellite TV.

The fruit of Mark’s work in Egypt is not lost, and today the Cairo Festival, along with the Coptic Church, is reaching many in the name of Christ. With God’s blessing, Christianity is taking root in Egypt once again.

Six partner churches in the U.S., including Perimeter Church, are sending volunteers to the Cairo Festival in November, 2009.

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