One main emphasis of our work is the rural area of the district of Aswan (Upper Egypt) where EMO has been working since 1900. People from different social classes or religious backgrounds find help at the Christian hospital "Al-Germaniyya" and outpatient clinics.
The charity hospital was founded in 1913 and is still an important part of the private healthcare setup in the Aswan district. The patients are from all different classes of society, regardless their religion or ethnic ancestry and travel up to 300 km to come to the hospital. Every year, more than 20,000 patients are treated, 2,000 of them as in-patients. A special aim is to treat poor people. Through deeds of love and the proclamation of the Gospel the Egyptian and foreign workers attempt to enter into a dialogue about God with these people.
18 years ago in December 1999, a Christian bookshop with the promising name "Bookshop of Hope" was opened on the street along the Nile. It is part of the EMO compound, to which a hospital, a daycare center for handicapped children, a guesthouse and a church belong. Since then, the bookshop has been a meeting point and encouragement for Christians of all denominations, as well as a place to go for people of the majority religion if they have any question or are just looking for help in difficult situations of life. The natural emphasis on Christian literature, cassettes and videos was enlarged with CDs and DVDs as well as new areas such as games helping children to learn, T-shirts with Christian designs, decorative items, gifts or finery.
For 2015 we plan to start a library and a reading room on a second floor on top of the bookshop. We want to have a place where people can study God's word intensively and where they can deal with life issues from the Christian perspective. As a result of the difficult economic situation in the country, fewer people are able to buy books. So we hope to open up a wider range of books to the local people and encourage them to read again in a comfortable atmosphere.
On the compound there is a daycare center for severely handicapped children. A trained team of workers cares for and support 5 to 7 children for several hours daily on five days of the week. This work of love gives the children's families much-appreciated help, encouraging them and giving them some rest in their frequently exhausting everyday lives. This shows the mothers and fathers that every child is valuable in God's eyes, even if they are handicapped.
The Al-Germaniyya Hospital runs a training program for assistant doctors who want to train to become specialists in general medicine. Besides the medical treatment offered, the doctors are also trained to see a patient's spiritual needs. The members of this program work in the hospital and are a valuable enrichment for the team.
Sheikh Haroun district is one of the poor areas of Aswan. Here, EMO runs a little center, where children, young people and women meet weekly. Most of them come from Christian families. With biblical schooling and discussions of issues relevant to their daily lives the women receive help in their often-difficult circumstances, which often involve a struggle for financial survival. Young people get a perspective for their lives and realize that alcohol or drugs are not a solution. The children enjoy running around the little garden, the only green spot in the whole area. And afterwards they listen carefully to the biblical stories dedicated workers tell them.
Christians live as a minority in Egypt. They are officially accepted and able to live out their faith, but they are also discriminated in some points. So our team puts a special emphasis on encouraging Christians in the churches and congregations. They want to enable them to handle their often difficult challenges. This happens through regular praise and prayer evenings, with seminars for church activities, conferences for children and adults, and through personal counseling. We do not see us as an independent church, but as a community who serves Christians in all the churches of the region.
Some members of our team offer courses for young people to significantly improve their chances of getting a job. These include language courses in German or English, technical repairs, etc. The young people appreciate these opportunities, which also open doors for personal talks about faith.
Clinic in Ballana: It is mainly Muslim patients who come for medical treatment to the outpatient clinic in the Nubian village of Ballana, north of Aswan. Our staff there communicate the love of God through this service.