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‘Hang out’ with Mideast students & make a difference, U.S. Egyptian student says

VIDEO: Watch a U.S. Egyptian student talk about how he discussed Christianity with Muslims here: http://bit.ly/g6UW3n.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Tapping away on his computer keyboard, David uses Facebook to read the latest on what’s happening in Egypt and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East — and to monitor his family’s safety.

Amid tumult in Egypt over demands that President Hosni Mubarak relinquish power, this 23-year-old U.S. Egyptian — and soon-to-be-medical student — prays for his family and fellow Egyptian Christians who have struggled to cope during the past few weeks.

“Sometimes when I see the news I just want to turn it off,” said David, a member of Aletheia Church in Richmond, Va.

He hopes the news headlines will challenge other Christian students to care more about the ongoing crisis in Egypt and find a way to get involved.

“Whether you’re in high school or you’re in college,” he said, “it’s our job as Christians to be able to help those people. Don’t just look at the news and say [I] can’t do anything about it.

“You can make a difference,” he said. “You can pray about it, and you can see what God’s calling you to do. The thing is, you have to listen to God.”

The crisis in Egypt should serve as a reminder for Christians to pray for believers there and to build relationships with Middle Eastern students around them, David said. Many of the protesters in Egypt are students under the age of 30. He contends they are hungry for something to believe in and for somewhere to place their hope.

Students on college campuses today have more opportunities than ever before to build relationships with people from around the globe.

David described many of the people he met in college from regions like the Middle East as “very open” to the Gospel.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to them,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to invite them to church. Don’t be afraid to just hang out with them wherever it may be.”

Building relationships is easier than you might think, he said.

“We’ll go get some chipotle and just hang out and talk,” he said. “I had people living down the [college dorm] hall from me from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait.

“They come to America and … have an opportunity for freedom,” he added. “In their country [they might] want to go to a church, [but] there is no way they can. Here, they can.”

David’s Egyptian Christian family knows personally about stereotypes, as well as how Christians can be persecuted for their faith. He has one relative in Egypt whose business was threatened, and the local people were encouraged to shop in other places.

Though it’s not illegal to be a Christian in Egypt, there are risks to living out one’s faith in a country where 90 percent of the people are Muslim.

“You just can’t go out into the streets like we do here and talk freely however you want,” he said. “There are certain limitations.”

David continues to pray for “spiritual reform” and for believers throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

“They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Alan James is a writer for the International Mission Board.

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  • Alan James