[above photo: Marco and Mina by the truck their father was driving when ISIS militants attacked after opening fire on a bus of Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Christians on the way to the Minya monastery in rural Egypt.]
On May 26, 2017, then 10-year-old Mina and his 14-year-old brother Marco endured one of the most shocking sights a child could experience: That day, the two boys watched as ISIS militants gunned down their father, Ayed Habib Tawadros. Some 29 Christians died that day, including children, adults, and laborers. Ayed, a bellmaker at St. Samuel’s Monastery in upper Egypt, was among those who chose death over denying Jesus.
How are the boys doing now one year later after losing their dad?
A big smile on the face of little Mina, now 11 years old.
It is the first thing that stands out when our team visits Marco and Mina in their village, close to the Minya province.
“He is doing better,” his mother, Hanaa, says, grabbing Mina in a hug. Since his father’s death, Mina has suffered from anxiety and fear.
The brothers play a lot of football, and the exercise helps them process what happened, explains Hanaa.
Men of the Family
The two boys feel very responsible for the safety and protection of their mother and two sisters, Rania and Reham. During his holidays, Marco continues his father’s job of making church bells. Before the death of his father, Mina used to join Marco and his father sometimes at the monastery–not anymore.
“They always want to make sure at least one man is in the house with me and their sisters,” their mother says.
In addition to the emotional turmoil, the brothers also encountered practical hardship in the aftermath. They couldn’t focus in school anymore, which delayed them in their schoolwork.
Slowly, things are getting better, Hanaa says–a testimony of God’s promise and power to restore and redeem. The boys are daring to dream again like young boys should. Marco wants to become an engineer. Mina hopes to become a police officer.
“Then I can protect the Christians and prevent attacks like what happened to my father,” he explains.
The boys continue to be proud of their father and how he stood for Jesus. They will always miss him, but they also believe he made the right choice.
He remains in their hearts, and now they need only to look up for a visible reminder of their father’s life and faith each day they walk out and see the renamed street sign their village changed and erected recently.
Ayed Habib Tawadros Street.
Praying with Ayed’s Family
- For Hanaa, pray for continued provision, discernment, and insight for raising her children and caring for her family. Pray that she would continue to seek His wisdom and that she would lean on Him for understanding and comfort as she misses Ayad.
- Pray for Marco as he works at the monastery and helps care for his younger brother. Pray that he would continue to trust God and that God would place people in his life to encourage and remind him of his father’s strong character and faith.
- Pray for Mina, that he would continue to heal and that the love of God through his family and church would conquer his fears and anxiety. Ask God to be near to him as he misses his father. Pray that he would learn to love God and walk with Him as he grows.
- Pray for daughters Rania and Reham that they would continue to follow God and stand strong in the face of rising persecution. Pray for their protection and provision as they carry Ayad’s legacy of faith.
- Pray for their church and family, that they would continue to minister to Hanaa’s family through their presence and provision–offering the critical support Hanaa and her children need.
- Pray for justice. Pray that these terrible events over the last year will draw the attention of world leaders to focus more heavily on human rights and religious freedom in Egypt.
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