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Alan's monthly letter for October 2013
Christians in Egypt are suffering. Their country has had two violent revolutions and three presidents in the last two years. Currently, they have no president. Fifty churches have been burned in the last month, and scores of Christians were targeted for no reason. The country is in chaos.
What can we do? Nothing. At least, that’s what it seems like. The reality is, however, you’ve already made a difference to Christians living in this hostile environment.
You’ll recall in my letter last month, I told you about my trip to Beirut, Lebanon. I was invited to train Egyptian Christians in theology and apologetics. One of topics that ended up being more challenging than expected was abortion. Part of the reason is that Islam’s cultural influence creates unique barriers to helping women who face crisis pregnancies.
It took more time than usual to persuade these future church leaders about the morality of abortion, especially in hard cases like rape and disability of the pre-born child. Although many of the students were eventually convinced, it took an extended time of discussion to get there.
A few weeks later, the students were back in Egypt. One of them, named Beshoy, put into practice the pro-life training he learned from me in Lebanon. Below is a copy of the note the conference director sent the leadership of Focus on the Family’s Middle East division:
An hour ago, I received a call from Beshoy, one of our CMI'13 students. He was meeting with a group of people in a study course, where they had an assignment to discuss an issue of an unborn child who was known to have a disability and whether they should abort her or not. First they were divided into two groups and he was on the group that was asked to play the pro-abortion role. He did it well :). But then they were seriously discussing the issue and they had 4 people of the whole group who was completely for abortion. Beshoy used the arguments he learned in the classes with Alan Shlemon during the Christian Mind Institute. He was very excited over the phone to tell me that he managed to convince them all with the pro-life way of thinking, saying no to abortion. Wow, I am so thrilled to hear such a story of how the Institute is impacting lives and sending ambassadors in our world.
This is significant on a number of levels. First, it shows that proper pro-life skills can change minds on abortion.
Second, it demonstrates the principle activity of my ministry: training. I’m not the only one out there engaging culture. I’m training others to do the same. By multiplying the number of people that are equipped in the art of pro-life persuasion (or whatever topic I’m teaching), I’m multiplying my impact. That’s leverage.
Third, it highlights the strategy of our partnership. Though you’re in the United States, you’re making a difference around the globe. By enabling me to teach in different cities domestically and in the Middle East, you are making a difference in the lives of people far removed from your location.
Perhaps we won’t see a time of peace in Egypt in the near future. Because we work together, though, you are still able to effect change for the better. Four Egyptians that are 7,000 miles away are now pro-life because we are partnering together. This might not stop the next revolution or end the country’s violence, but it may well stop an individual act of violence – abortion – should one of these Egyptians ever consider such a deadly choice.
Making a difference together,