From Lower Hutt to Egypt. Rosie’s story

“There is nothing new in Egypt. Egyptians are making history as usual.”

My name is Rosie. Born and raised in Lower Hutt, New Zealand I attended Knox Church for many years. I am currently working in Egypt in the Partnership Office at the Diocese of Egypt with an Egyptian woman, Sherry. Our role is writing funding proposals, reporting on how we spend donated money, and communicating the work of the Diocese to our partners around the world.

Here is a glimpse of my life in Egypt during the crisis of 2011.

It’s been an amazing year to be living in Cairo and serving at the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

The first day of the year was marked with sadness as 21 Christians were killed in Alexandria when a church was bombed on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t know at that time that there would be other attacks on Christians in Egypt, with Christian houses and shops being attacked in Moqattam and Imbaba (areas of Cairo) and when the Egyptian army attacked peaceful Christian protestors in October killing 25 people. There is an alternative narrative to this violence, stories of when Muslims and Christians have stood together. On Coptic Christmas (7 January), Muslims stood outside churches to protect them and in Tahrir Square, Christians stood in a circle around Muslims to protect them while they prayed.

Twenty five days into 2011, brave young Egyptians stood up against the injustice of their government and started a revolution. Eighteen days later, President Mubarak resigned, and I was privileged to witness the dancing and celebrating in Tahrir Square the next day. Nine months later, millions of Egyptians began voting in the first free elections held in their country for many years.

For my Egyptian friends, it’s been a hopeful, difficult, confusing, and eventful year. We don’t know what will happen next. Many are worried about the outcomes of the election, and what will happen with an Islamic majority in Parliament. However, we know that we have one certainty, that God is with us and whatever happens, it is in God’s plan for this country. We also have a greater hope, in the promises of Christ Jesus and his plans for the world. The writer of Hebrews instructs us

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10v23)

The Anglican Church in Egypt has been actively involved in the community throughout all that is happening in Egypt, through its churches, hospitals, schools and community development centres. Egyptians paid a heavy price during and after the January 25 revolution. After the revolution many people came to our community centres crying. They had lost their jobs and didn’t have money to buy food and could not provide for their families.

In response to this crisis, and with the support of many of our partners, the Diocese of Egypt distributed 564,678 Egyptian pounds (over $120,000 NZ) to over 7,283 poor families. 1,466 people were provided with micro-loans to start their own businesses, and 4,112 people were assisted with medical care. In addition, 600 people attended political awareness seminars, and 171 people assisted in obtaining ID cards and registered to vote.

I am so privileged to be serving at the Diocese of Egypt, and I am looking forward to what 2012 will bring.