Four-year-old Marvey had been dreaming all night of the morning trip he was going to take with his mother Samia* to visit St. Samuel’s Monastery in the western desert.
The monastery is located on the outskirts of Minya, a southern Egyptian city south of Cairo. For young Marvey, there was nothing more exciting than riding a big bus, watching the cars, fields and big buildings pass by as they drove along.
Because he lived in a small village near the city Bani Sweif, Marvey rarely rode the bus. Marvey lived his young life between the small family apartment and the playground of the Orthodox church across the street.
Early in the morning, Marvey jumped out of his bed and got dressed. His mother had booked two seats on the bus for Marvey and herself on the church trip to the monastery of St. Samuel. Just like many other Orthodox families, the monastery trips are the only outings Marvey and his family take.
That morning the bus was full of families. When the bus started to move, they enjoyed their time socializing and singing Christian songs. In his excitement, Marvey sat next to his mother eating a sandwich as he enjoyed the drive through the city and onto the highway. As they approached the monastery, the bus turned off the paved street onto a dusty side road for the remaining distance.
Then, in just one instant, the happy morning turned dark as the bus trip turned into a scene of panic and screaming when they were showered with bullets and forced to pull over.
Marvey didn’t understand what was going on. He saw his mother screaming, calling on the name of God to have mercy. Masked men climbed onto the bus with machine guns. Terrified, Marvey searched for refuge in his mother’s arms.
The men stopped at each row of seats. Marvey saw how the passengers handed over all their valuables to the masked men. He saw how shaking hands gave over mobile phones, money and jewelry. He heard how the men angrily commanded the Christians to say “Shahadas.” Marvey didn’t understand.
While Marvey was still shaking in the arms of his mother, he saw how the men went to the front of the bus. Finally, Marvey thought. But then the masked men turned around. They pointed their machine guns at the Christians and started shooting.
Marvey’s sandwich fell from his hand. He was one of the 28 victims on this terrible day for the Christian community in Egypt.
Marvey, along with 27 other men and women, boys and girls, died on May 26th. This is the fourth deadly attack on Christians in Egypt in the past six months.
Believers are facing their greatest time of need right now. It is becoming increasingly risky to be a Christian in Egypt, in the wake of so many deadly attacks. Will you partner with us to strengthen believers in Egypt by giving to Christian Community Restoration?
*Names changed for security reasons
courtesy: OPEN DOORS INTERNATIONAL