CAIRO (BP) — One year after becoming president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power Wednesday (July 3) by the military, calling to memory the removal of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, as a result of Arab Spring protests.
His removal came following days of protests that brought millions of Egyptians to the streets and resulted in multiple deaths, injuries and atrocities.
Many people feel conditions in the country have worsened in the past year under Morsi. Patrick Stein*, a Christian worker living in Egypt, said a sense of lawlessness has abounded. As kidnappings and robberies escalated, unemployment, gas shortages, electricity cuts and rising food prices affected people’s everyday lives.
According to the BBC, 22 million Egyptians signed a petition expressing concern about security not being restored, poor people having no place in society, there being no justice for those killed by security forces, a loss of dignity and fears of economic collapse.
Among the millions of demonstrators were both supporters and opponents of President Morsi. Groups gathered throughout Cairo, with the largest concentration in Tahrir Square, known as a site of the Arab Spring protests of early 2011.
“Tahrir Square is where people go to voice their opinions,” said Rye Martins*, a Christian worker living in Egypt. “The square has come to be a symbol for change and people looking for hope.”
Christian workers within Egypt share feelings of hope, but hope for a different type of change.
“As they go to the square …, pray they … will find a spiritual revolution that is greater than any political revolution,” Martins said.
As the protests continue, within the crowds are Egyptian Christians who are using this gathering as an opportunity to share their faith with those standing next to them.
“When we see those masses of people in the square, we see spiritual need,” Diedre Martins* said. “They are desperate, so desperate that they are willing to put everything else on hold and go stand in a square for weeks on end to fight for what they think is going to solve their problems; but we know it’s not.”
“It’s not just riots and chaos, this is opportunity,” says Stein, “For the first time in hundreds of years people are questioning everything. This is the greatest opportunity we have had in a long time in a city that is promised to the Lord.”
Stein prays that Egyptian Christians will be bold in sharing their faith during this season, and that they won’t hesitate. “It wrecks my heart to know that people are dying without hearing the Good News.”
As the world watches, Jack Logan*, a Christian worker in the Middle East, asks that people view the humanity of the faces on the TV screen.
“If you look at the pictures, there are grandmothers and teenagers out in the streets, these are real people, with real families, with real problems,” Logan said.
“I pray that people can see Egyptians through God’s eyes…. Once we see them the way God sees them …, we begin praying in the right direction.”
According to the BBC, the protestors said they “swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people.”
Logan, the Martins and Stein hope that the millions of Egyptians who say they would lay down their lives for their country will learn of the One Who has already sacrificed Himself for them.
“Pray that people will encounter Jesus Christ, however that happens in this time, whatever the medium, that He will be glorified in all of this,” said Logan, “that His kingdom will come and that His will will be done.”
*Names changed. Eden Nelson is an International Mission Board writer based in the Middle East.