many people are making friends with neighbours they never knew
It started in Tunisia, then Egypt, Algeria, and Yemen: widespread unrest and outspoken opposition of governments continues to have what some are calling 'a domino effect' across the Middle East and North Africa. Protesters challenge those in authority to end corruption, lack of democracy, inflation and unemployment; protesters uncertain about the future, desiring change and longing for stability and a better life.
Christian students living in these predominantly Muslim countries feel the impact these situations have on their lives and on student ministry in their country. A member of the local Christian student group in Egypt recently reported that food, medicine and other supplies are dwindling. The country is virtually paralysed, and many schools and universities remain closed, putting their student meetings on hold.
Students in Tunisia have encountered challenges similar to those faced by their Egyptian brothers and sisters. 'There is a longing for peace and democracy in all those countries,' shares another friend in the region, 'and people simply aspire to a better future. Please pray that Christian students and churches there would remain peaceful amidst rising tensions and doubt.'
In the midst of so much turmoil, there are rays of hope. A friend of IFES living in Egypt reports: 'Christians and Muslims have been united as never before, defending their homes on overnight shifts (due to the lack of police security). As a result, many people are making friends with neighbours they never knew and there is a real sense of camaraderie which we never had before.'
Give thanks to God that even in the midst of violent protest, Christians can show the love of Christ to those around them. Pray for Christian students in Egypt and Tunisia as they respond to the current situation, that in this crucial moment in their countries' histories, they will rely on God's grace and wisdom.
Pray too for safety in the streets, and for the army and police to know how to control the situations they face without resorting to brutality.
Pray that God will set up wise leaders throughout the Middle East and North Africa, who would seek the good of the people they govern. Pray too that whatever political regimes gain power, the result will be more freedom for Christian students and churches.
Pray that Christian students would be a beacon of hope in the midst of uncertainty as they point others to the only true Prince of Peace.