Welcome to Egypt for our Advent calendar today, where we visit Hadad and his family. They have been helped through a Bright Hope World project, supporting local churches in Egypt.
Life for Hadad* was very difficult as he grew up in Upper Egypt. His family were very poor and with his five brothers and sisters he struggled to get to school. When he was quite young his father died and he was sent to Cairo to live with his uncle. Life was tough there too, with many mouths to feed and not enough money to go around.
Hadad’s family was Christian and, when it was time leave school, there were few jobs available. He always found others getting the job ahead of him and he lost heart and became very sad. Finally, when he was 15, a man from his church gave him a job working in his vegetable stall. Hadad was a good salesman and did very well at the job. By the time he was 17, he had his own stall. He gave his life to Jesus during that period and, soon after that, met Phoebe,* the girl who would become his wife.
Fifteen years later, Hadad is married with three children. About three years ago he got a loan from a programme organised by his church and started a business ironing clothes. The business went well and grew quickly, and he quickly paid back his loan. A year later he took out a second loan and purchased some washing machines and a dryer. This has boosted his business and recently he told us with pride and dignity in his eyes that he was ‘a businessman’.
Every day he thanks God for his family and for the church that loved him enough to share resources with him.
Hadad’s life is very different from what he imagined it would be as a boy. He thought he would never own anything and would be as poor as others in his family. But he is now able to send his children to school and look after them well. He sends money to support his mother and other family members. His wife does not have to work full time, and she can focus on caring for the children. Hadad is an active member of his church and loves to tell the children about Jesus. His eldest son, Samy,* comes to work with him in his spare time and during vacations.
There are large festivals from time to time in Egypt, and Hadad is very busy during those times. Christmas is a big event, even though most people in Egypt are Muslims. During the Christmas season, it is possible to tell anyone about Jesus, and Hadad makes the most of those opportunities.
Samy is very proud of his father and the business and hopes one day to become a schoolteacher. Hadad smiles as he thinks about this and the way God is blessing their family. Every day he thanks God for his family and for the church that loved him enough to share resources with him.
*names changed to protect identities
Pray for Egypt:
- for Christians like Hadad in Egypt, who often suffer discrimination and exclusion from society
- that Egyptian people would know God’s saving love
- for peace in this country which faces many challenges, as resources are strained by refugees, poverty and the activities of extremists.