An Update from Egypt on a Day of Carnage

Posted by Michael Ramsden on November 24, 2017

RZIM’s International Director, Michael Ramsden, shares an update and reflection from Cairo on the day of Egypt’s deadliest attack by Islamic extremists in the country’s modern history.

Ordinarily, having spent hours and hours speaking publicly and privately about some of life’s toughest questions, sleep would be my first and only priority on returning to my room. Even the most extroverted of personalities requires some time alone, and all of us need rest. But tonight, sleep is the last thing on my mind.

Sadly, as I sit in my room in Egypt, one story dominates the headlines. Initially, the report was of 150 or so killed in a mosque- in a type of attack that no one here can remember ever happening before and therefore no one ever expected. The numbers have climbed during the day, and currently stand at over 200. Given the number injured, that number may well rise further still. 

An attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai province killed over 200 people on Friday, November 24.

In all honesty, the message I gave this morning I found hard to deliver. Sometimes, speaking publicly seems the easiest thing in the world to do – as if the message is drawn out of you without effort. At other times, it feels you need every ounce of strength to simply make it to the end. Today was one of those days. It was a sobering thought to realize, that as I struggled to speak on the importance of seeking reconciliation rather than revenge, and of the need for forgiveness which brings hope, so many lives were lost to violence.

This evening the church in Egypt fervently prayed at length for peace for the nation, comfort for those who mourn, and help for those who would seek to maintain justice in the face of militant opposition. It is a tough time here. The economy is hurting, people are questioning what their own futures will look like, and everyone is wondering what change may come. 

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden preaches at the Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church in Cairo, Egypt on November 24.

There is also great opportunity too. Historically, many key turning points that have had global repercussions have been played out on this particular stage. Given the kind of questions that have been asked over the last few years, and the deeper answers people are looking for in their lives, let us hope and pray for more positive turning points in days to come.

One person I spoke with today asked for me to pray for them to be bold in the way they lived and served amongst his peers. It was a joy to do so, and it was clear he was eager to make a difference. He was 15 years old. 

Michael Ramsden speaks with young people in Cairo, Egypt.

Please do pray for Egypt. Amongst the soul searching that may happen over the next few days, let’s pray that those who seek may find, that those who knock will find an answer.