It is difficult to go against tradition, especially if you are a young woman who lives in Upper Egypt.
Anne,* a young woman who attended a house church seminar, is positive, active and hungry for the Word of God. Everyone in this seminar loved her. After the seminar, Anne asked to join a nearby village house church. We introduced her to the group five miles from her home.
After a few meetings, Anne’s father would not allow her to return to the house church. His list of reasons were related to Middle Eastern customs: he heard some young men also attended; he didn’t know the owner of the house; the hosts weren’t related to her family; and above of all, the meeting finished at 9 p.m. which is too late for a young woman to be outside her home.
Anne tried to convince her father about the benefits and joys of the meeting, but he didn’t understand what she said. He did not relent.
I offered some solutions: “We could ask the group to start the meeting early so you can be home early. Someone from your family could pick you up from the meeting, or one of the older ladies who attends could take you home after the meeting.” None of my solutions satisfied Anne’s father. I was disappointed.
A few days later, Anne’s father said she could host the house church at their home. The other members of the group, however, turned Anne down for the same reasons that kept her away – distance, time and the involvement of people they didn’t know. Then Anne came up with a plan that surprised some of us. She decided to start a new house church with some of her local friends. Who would have thought of this solution? I believe the Lord went before us, preparing Anne to start a new group, increasing the reach of these house churches.
*Names have been changed.
– a man who has brain cancer to come to faith
– safety for the people of Egypt
– online connection for many groups through the Facebook house church project
– physical, spiritual and mental protection for leaders on the road
– hope for young people’s futures