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Standing in a Very Long Line

December 19, 2012 by Open Doors in General

Standing In a Very Long Time

Millions of Egyptians wound their way through long lines on Saturday, Dec. 15, to cast their votes for or against a new constitution. A brother in Egypt shares his experience on that Saturday morning.

“I arrived at the poll center in Cairo early, at 8.30 am, only to find a long line had already formed. My wife also voted, but at a different voting center, one for women only. Citizens of ten governorates were assigned to vote on Saturday; the remaining governorates will vote next Saturday, the 22nd, to approve or reject the new constitutional draft.

“Each of us was given a small piece of paper with two circles, one marked Yes, one No, to check off whether we agreed or disagreed with the controversial constitution presented to the president.”

An Open Doors worker adds, “Our contact said he waited long hours in the line to vote and as he waited, he saw how divided the people are, divided by, as he put it, ‘the latest decrees, decisions, confusions and political tensions brought in by President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood ruling party.'”

He described the atmosphere as one of “despair and sadness” among those who came to vote “no” to a constitution for their country they see as having fallen into the hands of “fanatic political Islamic movements.” They stood alongside others who came to vote “yes” to the same constitution, connecting their vote with “causing the victory of Islam to come — and for themselves personally, the ultimate reward of avoiding hell in the last day… the victory of Islam over liberal and moderate Muslims, as well as over Christian infidels!”

He described the process as chaotic, with the absence of the judges who are required by law to supervise voting, casting doubts about the validity of the voting process. He could hear arguments, some of them quite heated, between groups on both sides, the atmosphere electric as the line crept along. In a mobile phone conversation, his wife described a similar scene at her end.

As he stood in line, the Egyptian brother pondered deep questions that reach far beyond the election: questions faced by Christians throughout Egypt. “How may I continue to truly love and forgive in the middle of this heavy atmosphere of hatred and rejection? They stand just around me! Here is a Muslim Brotherhood leader standing in front of me, using his phone all the time to urge his followers to go and vote ‘YES’ for the victory of Islam, while behind me stands a Salafist with a big beard, gloomy face and no love, calling for death to the infidels! They are all around me. So how do I love them, Lord?”

The brother adds, “How can I introduce the power of the love of Jesus Christ in the middle of such a dark atmosphere? What should I do to keep my heart busy praying, loving and forgiving rather than being pulled into the storm of hatred? Knowing is easy. I know I should love and forgive. This is what You taught me, Jesus. I know that I’m saved to bring the light of You, Jesus, to my people. Knowing is easy, but doing needs a special grace and power from above!”

Father, we call upon You to rain down the power of Your Spirit on Egyptian Christians, to fill their hearts with love and forgiveness, with both wisdom and boldness, as they seek to share Christ and His redemptive love to their neighbors. We have been given a glimpse of the people who lined up to vote last Saturday and we pray for them, that Your love might touch their lives and the lives of the millions of Egyptians who do not know You. In the name of Jesus, the Lord of lords and King of kings.

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