Just a few weeks after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in Egypt, believers in the country are hoping for a new era of freedom not only in their own country, but right across the Arab world.
The revolution has been difficult, admits Abdul Al-Latif, a Christian living in Egyptian capital Cairo, where hundreds of people spent weeks in Tahrir Square protesting against the regime until it buckled.
The military has been ruling ever since and as the country reviews its constitution and its future, Abdul is hoping a new future for the church too.
“Usually we say hardship is difficult and we are scared of it. But hardship has brought blessing, it has made us stronger in our faith,” he says.
“Hopefully it will make the church bold enough to share the Gospel with the majority people.”
His hopes are shared by Mohklis Amin, an Egyptian staff member of Arab World Ministries’ media arm. Speaking on UCB radio, Amin said the church had a “big responsibility” to share the Gospel in the new Egypt.
“For so many years, the spirit of fear has dominated. People wouldn’t dare talk about Christ in public with their neighbours and friends as they were scared of being arrested,” he said.
“Now we can pray that the Lord would give freedom, a good word and a hope to a nation starving for encouragement for the last three decades.”
Al-Latif said the demonstrations had shown people that their security could not be found in a government or their bank balance but only in Jesus Christ.
He describes a radically different church post-revolution.
“[The revolution] has made Christians think completely differently. People have started to go to church everyday just to pray early in the morning,” he said.
“When I call my people in Egypt they tell me the church is full at seven o’clock in the morning.
“People have gathered to pray: for the church, for Christian leaders, for Muslims, for the country, for everything.
“That would maybe never happen if it wasn’t for the hardship our country is going through. We praise God for that.”
In the last few weeks, uprisings have ended the decades-long reigns of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and President Mubarak in Egypt. Now the world is watching to see how long Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi holds out as more of the country falls into the hands of opponents.
Under each of these regimes, the activities of the church have been restricted to varying degrees and evangelism has been virtually impossible.
Now Christians are hoping that the new orders that replace the old will be based on democratic principles and equality for all citizens, including religious equality and freedom.
Amin added: “God is shaking the nations … it is time for the Arab world to wake up to the message of the Gospel. People have been in darkness for so many years and now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”