PAACS program started in Menouf: Training Surgeons in Egypt

The first two residents of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) program at Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf, Dr. Shady Fayik and Dr. Nayer Naiem, started their training in January 2014. Both men are from Assiut. Shady is married with a one-month old baby, and Nayer has been working at Harpur Memorial Hospitals in Menouf and Sadat City for the past 2 years. Both Shady and Nayer love the Lord, and are taking the PAACS course to develop their surgical skills to serve the Lord.

PAACS (5)Dr. David Thompson is the founder of PAACS, a program run in hospitals around Africa which provides a systematic, 5-year program of academic, clinical and technical training in general surgery. This program will enable participating Egyptian doctors to experience surgical training at the same level of competency as surgical trainees receive in North America.

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Dr. David and his wife Rebecca have been in Egypt since January 2013, learning Arabic and establishing the program in Menouf. They were delighted to welcome Dr Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna in January 2014, who will partner with them in setting up the PAACS program.

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Welcome to Dr Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna!

Dr. Sherif Hanna was born and raised in Egypt. He immigrated to Canada in 1970 and from 1980 to 2013 he practiced as a General and Liver surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada and was an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He held a number of leadership positions at his hospital for over 20 years. Mary-Lou is a trained teacher and was teaching English as a second language. Sherif and Mary-Lou have two grown children (Tim & Joy) and two granddaughters.

Sherif& Mary-Lou Hanna (2)

Over the past few years however, God began to whisper to Sherif that he had something else for him to do. At first these whispers were very gentle, almost inaudible: a sense of “holy dissatisfaction” with where he was using his talents as a surgeon. After stepping down from his leadership positions at the hospital in April 2012, he began to search in earnest for where God was leading him. In fact both Sherif and Mary-Lou were praying for the past 5 years or so about this.

A friend of Sherif in Toronto connected him with Dr. David Thompson. David was a missionary surgeon in Gabon for 35 years and was the founder of PAACS (Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons). Sherif contacted David and they agreed to meet.

Oct 13, 2013 was a beautiful sunny Saturday in White Plains, New York. It would prove to be an important day in the life of the Hanna’s. Sherif and Mary-Lou met with Dr. David and Becki Thompson for a leisurely breakfast that morning. David and Becki told Sherif and Mary-Lou the amazing story of how God called them from Gabon to Egypt and how they were going to Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf, Egypt to start a surgical residency program there under PAACS. They told the Hanna’s that they were looking for a surgeon to partner with David in starting this program.

After returning to Toronto; Sherif and Mary-Lou began to pray about this need separately. After 3 weeks they compared notes : God had said to each of them the same thing : “Go to Egypt and serve at Harpur Memorial Hospital”. And so they agreed to go!!

In February 2013 Sherif and Mary-Lou went to Egypt for a visit. It was Mary-Lou’s first visit there and it was Sherif ’s first time back in 42 years. Prior to this visit , due to the situation in Egypt , several of Sherif ’s family and friends warned him not to go; but God gave him this verse :

“I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Rev 3:8.

And so they went to Egypt .Upon going to the HOME (Health Outreach in the Middle East)/ DWAM (Doctors with a Mission) conference in Wadi El Natroun and entering the church there ; they were stunned to see the theme verse at the front of the church. It read :

“I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Rev 3:8.

At that moment they knew for sure that God had called him to go to Egypt!!

Sherif and Mary-Lou arrived in Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf in January 2014 to work with Dr. David and Becki Thompson in starting a PAACS surgical residency program.

Ecumenical Prayer for Unity of Christians in Libya

Rev. Vasihar, the priest-in-charge of Christ the King Anglican Church in Tripoli, writes

“By the Grace of the Lord we all are fine.  We, the ecumenical community, met on the 19th of January  despite the very tense situation outside. God was gracious to us.

Ecumencial service in Tripoli (3)

We are praying for the referendum on the Constitution of Egypt. We prayed for Libya, where there is acute shortage of petrol and diesel and also fresh widespread violence and rumours.

Ecumencial service in Tripoli (1)

Churches which participated are the Catholic Church, Union Church, Philipino Church and our Church, Christ the King.”

Ecumencial service in Tripoli (4)

“Shining Light in Darkness” – Prison Ministry in Cairo

Many of the expatriates El Kanater prison face long sentences and difficult conditions. Yet many find hope through Jesus Christ. One of the inmates writes “while in this darkness called prison, God has shown His light onto us.  We have the privilege to gather to pray, worship and hear His word.  We have seen this light through His Word and we appreciate this light.  This is the Light we are reflecting through the darkness.”

The Prison Ministry team supports expatriate men and women imprisoned in El Kanater Prison, in the outskirts of Cairo, through weekly visits, prayer, and through gifts of food, blankets, air tickets and other items.

Please click the button below for news from the Prison Ministry team

Prison Ministry Newsletter (April – December 2013)

Leadership Training and Community Services for Sudanese in East Cairo

A large number of Sudanese refugees live in Egypt, especially those who have come from North Sudan and the Nuba Mountains due to the difficult situation in these regions. The Sudanese Christians among the refugees have added their own new flavour to the life of the Anglican Church in Egypt. The Sudanese congregation at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Heliopolis started 12 years ago; we now have a Sudanese congregation with 669 members.

One of the church members shares “Despite so many challenges for Sudanese refugees in Cairo-Egypt, St. Michael’s
church is experiencing tremendous growth numerically and spiritually, which in return resulted into a very remarkable work.” In January 2014, it was a joy to receive the visit of Bishop Ezekiel Kondo of the Diocese of Khartoum (pictured below).

Bishop Ezekiel

Nuba Mountains Bible Institute

Many of these Sudanese refugees want to use their time in Egypt for learning. They need to be equipped to play roles of pastoral and ministerial leadership in our and other churches. This is why in February 2013 we began the Nuba Mountains Bible Institute Cairo (NBIC). We train those leaders and other members of the Sudanese community in Egypt for the benefit of their own church here, both for their time now in the Egypt and hopefully later for their future in Sudan or elsewhere.

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We started the classes of NBIC in January 2013, after we interviewed 60 students and after we chose 35 of them to begin with. We began well prepared, with a curriculum of three years and teachers lined up. 2013 was not an easy year for Egypt with political disturbances, violence and street demonstrations. We thank God that we have been able to continue our work in the midst of all this and we admire our students’ perseverance and courage. They often had to travel to us in situations where the streets were unsafe at least, and sometimes more like a war zone. For more information, download the full report:

2013 Report for Nuba Mountains Bible Institute

St Gabriel Centre

The St. Gabriel Center is a ministry of St Michael’s which runs social and spiritual activities among Sudanese refugees in Cairo in the area of Kilo 4.5. This area east of Cairo was mostly illegally constructed, hence without any governmental oversight and a shortage of services. The Sudanese community shares a low standard of living with the Egyptians in the neighbourhood, facing challenges of poverty, illiteracy, chronic children’s diseases (like malnutrition and the lack of calcium) and other types of diseases.

The centres runs a medical clinic, English courses, handcrafts and domestic work, discipleship (pictured below) and youth activities.Nuba Mountains Bible Institute (1)

For more information, download the 2013 report:

2013 Report for St. Gabriel Centre

Both the Nuba Mountains Bible Institute and the St. Gabriel Centre rely on donations for their ministry. For more information please contact the Very Rev. Dr. Jos Strengholt: priest@heliopolischurch.com

Appeal to Help Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia

Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing from the violence that has caused so much death and suffering in South Sudan in the last two months. Media reports have put the death toll from the violence at 1,000, while other reports estimate the number dead to be closer to 10,000.

Refugees are flooding across the border into Gambella, a region in the west of Ethiopia (see map below). There are 70 Anglican Churches in the Gambella Region, and some of these churches are very close to the South Sudanese border.Gambella mapUrgent Needs
Bishop Grant LeMarquand, the Area Bishop for the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa, writes:

“Some of the towns where we have churches near the border have been overrun with large numbers of people fleeing the fighting in South Sudan. In the village I visited last weekend, there are now 4,000 refugees from the Nasir area of South Sudan and it is expected that more will arrive. The UN is preparing a camp, which should take about a month to prepare. Although the refugees were at first sleeping and cooking in church compounds (pictured below), they have now been integrated temporarily into the community, sleeping and cooking in the compounds of the local people.

Church compound

The refugees will receive food rations once they have been moved to the camp. In the meantime they have been surviving on the generosity of local people, especially the churches, and cutting and selling firewood. I brought 800 kilograms of maize, tarps for shelter from the intense sun, mosquito nets, soap, sugar and salt to the village to the Anglican church in the village. The pastor of church is also the chairman of the village Nuer Council of Churches, which will arrange for the supplies to be distributed.

In the coming weeks I will meet with pastors of our congregations in refugee camps to assess what new needs they have because of the situation in South Sudan. There has been an influx of new people in all of the camps, and it will take some effort on the part of relief agencies and the churches in the camps to assist in the settlement and integration of these newcomers.”

 

Samaritan Fund
The Episcopal Area has a ‘Samaritan Fund’ which enables the Anglican Church to respond quickly to help our congregations and new refugees. This fund was less than empty when this last crisis hit, as there has been a few desperate needs in the past year. This has included a localised famine in the village of Tiergol, devastating fires which burned several houses of clergy and church members in Gambella town, and surgery for a young girl shot during a cattle raid.

We are seeking support of partners to donate to the Samaritan Fund, enabling the Anglican churches in Gambella to respond to the needs around them.

 

How to Contribute
In  the  UK,  please  contact  The  Egypt  Diocesan  Association  (EDA)  through  Mr. Joseph Wasef (edasecretary@gmail.com) or visit their website: http://www.eda-egypt.org.uk/

In the USA, you can either contact The Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt (FADE) through Dr.  Randi  Wood (blessfade@gmail.com) or  visit their  website: www.friendsanglicandioceseegypt.org

or

Give through our partner the Anglican Relief and Development Fund in the USA: http://anglicanaid.net/south-sudan-refugee-crisis/

To contribute directly to Ethiopia, please contact Bishop Grant LeMarquand (bishopgrant777@gmail.com) or the bank account details are:

Account Name: The Anglican Church in Ethiopia
Account Number: 476/0130422129700
Bank Name: Awash International Bank s.c.
Branch: Arat Kilo
Swift code: AWINETAA
Address: P.O Box 12638

 

A Growing Church in Port Said

Bishop Mouneer writes about his visit to the Church of the Epiphany in Port Said “My pastoral visit to our church in Port Said was encouraging and joyful. 30 new members were confirmed. The Holy Spirit works!”

This church, led by Rev Hany Shenouda, has grown rapidly over recent years. Over 300 people come to the services each week, and there is a ministry among the poor, youth and children’s work and healing services. The church building, building in 1885 following the opening of the Suez Canal, is not big enough for the growing congregation. In March, a group of engineers from IDD will visit and spend a week creating an architectural design for new facilities.

Port Said has experienced a lot of unrest and instability over the past 3 years. In 2012, 79 people died after a football game.Pray for Rev. Hany and the congregation as they seek to serve the community around them.

Port Said Church

Update from the Menara Centre for Special Needs Children

In Arabic, ‘menara’ (منارة) means lighthouse. As the only well-equipped special needs school in Menouf and the surrounding area, the Menara Centre for Special Needs Children shines hope into lives of children and their families. There are currently 36 children enrolled at the school (18 boys and 18 girls).

The Menara Centre provides pre-academic learning (to prepare the students for academic learning), academic learning, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and basic vocational training.

The centre also supports and educates parents about how to look after their children. The staff also help the children to integrate into the community. In Egypt, children with special needs are often kept at home as their family is ashamed of them. The Menara Centre aims to raise awareness in society and change these perceptions.

The children are taught practical skills which help them to become more independent. This includes washing hands, washing dishes, cooking, buying food at the markets, picking up rubbish, getting dressed, tying shoe laces, and sewing

Pray that the centre will continue to show the love of God to the children and their families.

Download the newsletter by clicking the button below:

Menara Centre 2013 Newsletter

Update about the refugee situation in Gambella

As violence continues in South Sudan, refugees have been fleeing across the border to Gambella. Bishop Grant writes

“Some of the towns where we have churches near the border have been overrun with large numbers of people fleeing the fighting in South Sudan. For example, in the town where I am going this coming Saturday, there are about 1,000 people living without shelter and with almost no food on the Anglican church compound. The same is true of most of the churches in the town (the clergy have organized the people into groups). There is apparently some food in the town, but little money to buy and the prices are high. I’m going to bring a load of maize with me on Saturday, as well as tarps to use for shelter from the sun – it’s the beginning of dry season – no rain, but intense sun.”

“We have a woman who helps clean the compound here in Gambella. Two days ago we heard that her son had been killed in Juba (he had been staying at the UN compound, but decided to go home to get a change of clothes and was killed on the street.) Stories come to us daily of family members caught in the cross fire. Several members of the staff and clergy have family in UN compounds in Bor and Juba – but no compound is truly safe.”

Pray for Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy, and for the clergy in Gambella as they respond to the current situation. Pray that the needs of the refugees would be met.

Recent visitors to the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa (December 2013-Jan 2014)

  • The Rev Dr John Piper who preached at St Matthew’s Church, Addis Ababa
  • Former Crosslinks missionary David Harley to St Matthew’s Addis

Gambella

  • Bishop Andrew and Mrs Janice Proud, the Rev Dr Darrell Hannah, the Rev John Edwards, Ms Tina Bailey, and Ms Janet Larkine from Reading, UK
  • The Rev Dr Johann and Louise Vanderbijl, South Carolina
  • The Rev Nancy Kenney and her husband Pat from North Augusta, South Carolina
  • Mr Yien Chagor Reath of Addis Ababa
  • Mr Paul Gilbert, London, UK
  • Canon Dr John A. Macdonald of Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge PA USA and three theological students: Matthew Stromberg, Scott Gorbold and Stevan Betcher

Coming soon

  • A team to Gambella from International Design and Development (in February)
  • The Rev Dr Ashley Null guest preacher at St Matthew’s Addis Ababa (in March)

Improving Children’s Nutrition in Gambella

The 2nd training session of the Mothers’ Union Community Education and Development Program was held in December for 35 women representing 21 Mothers’ Union groups from Nuer, Anuak, Mabaan, Dinka and Opo tribes in Gambella. The theme was ‘Good Food makes Strong Bodies.’ Pictures, stories and discussions focused on how good nutrition helps us, and about the importance of eating food from the different food groups.

The pre-project survey showed the majority of children were given a diet consisting primarily of maize (corn). Statistics from the Village Medicine Conference held in Addis Ababa in 2012 showed that on average, in Ethiopia, children eat meat only once or twice a year. Serving food from a variety of food groups (if possible) at most if not all meals, is a good starting point for teaching on nutrition. On day two, the trainees presented the nutrition teaching to one another using story and picture sets.

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This was followed by a practical skills / income generation activity session on how to crochet mats using free materials such as recycled plastic bags from the market and material from torn clothing and rags. Although sets of extra large crochet hooks were given to each Mission Centre for demonstration purposes and to be shared with community members, participants were taught how to make home-made crochet hooks using twigs and a knife.

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Spiritual formation sessions provided opportunities to build upon the deepening friendships developing between participants from different tribal groups.

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After these training sessions at the Gambella Anglican Centre, the Mothers’ Union representatives return to train women in their local villages. Some of these training sessions exceeded expected numbers. For example, the Mothers Union in Pinyadu Refugee Camp held 4 separate training days on clean water with 125, 135, 109 and 123 participants respectively. Participant feedback included “we never realised that when a well person drinks from the same cup as a sick person, the well person could become sick” and “one woman has made a table on which to dry her dishes in the sun and now all her neighbours are using it.

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