‘Jacob G’ is planting a Reformed Baptist church in his home city in Egypt. He completed a pastoral internship in a solid church in the U.A.E., and then served on staff as a Pastoral Assistant in that church, before they sent him out as a church-planter to his home country of Egypt.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born into a nominal Christian family in Egypt. I grew up between two different churches, Orthodox and Catholic, and also my family had a Protestant evangelical branch. I served in those two churches from my childhood until my teen years, appearing to the people that I am perfect child. I was a good servant in the church who read and studied doctrine, especially the Orthodox doctrine because I was against the Catholic doctrines. I was also a good debater in the issues of Islam and Christianity, because I was watching a lot of the satellite Christian channels that evangelize Muslims.
But in my secret life I was a slave to sin and going deep into darkness. I was so selfish and prideful, even if the people didn’t see this, always trying to appear as good and the best among all, exactly like the Pharisee. But inside of me, while I was attending those churches, it was like a voice was saying ‘This is not Christ; this is not God.’ I believe that was the calling of God’s Spirit and His grace, even if I didn’t know Him and I was a sinful young man. I was an enemy to God by my prideful way of living, yet He is still the merciful gracious God.
During my high school time I began to be far away from the church and until the year 2006, when I started my university studies, I was totally away from God even in name. I was so empty, trying to fill my life with many worldly things, and I believe that God was preparing me. He used everything I tried to fill my life with to open my eyes that nothing can satisfy. Every pain I felt because of my sinful deeds He use to show me that He is my urgent need so I could understand His Gospel, His Good News.
In my second year of university, someone invited me to attend a concert of a famous Christian band in Egypt, and this concert was organized by Campus Crusade for Christ. At this concert I met the local leader and he invited me and my close friend to visit him. My friend and I visited his office and he shared with us the message of Christ through the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ and he asked us to give our lives to Jesus. We prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and after that he began to disciple us. We joined the disciples’ class but I wasn’t converted yet – I was still trying to be good, relying on my own works.
Then came the first conferenc ethat I attended in the same year with Campus Crusade. We came back from evangelistic visits to youth to share the gospel, and a preacher was preaching the gospel to us so that we could share it with others. In the worship time I got on my knees and I started to cry, and I lay down all my life to Jesus. My eyes were finally opened to how much He loved me and how much I am a sinner. Even if He is the holy God, He loved a wretch like me! Without any hesitation I turned my back to my old life, for He filled all my heart (mind, will and soul) and He satisfied me.
I began to serve the Lord and pursue Him daily, and I separated myself from all that I knew in the past. I kept growing in the knowledge of God, reading the Scripture with my friend who became my spiritual brother, and studying it with the discipleship group in the ministry. The Lord used us a lot to help one another to grow and serve the Lord. His Glory became the purpose of our lives, and the Lord ignited the flame and passion to make His Name known among the students in our university, and among Catholics, Orthodox, and unfortunately, even among evangelicals.
Call to Ministry
In 2011, one year before my university graduation, I was serving God as a volunteer with a global student ministry, and felt that the Lord was encouraging me in His word and also through the encouragement of the staff to be a full-time missionary. I kept praying until my graduation in 2012, and the leading of the Lord was so clear, and I knew that the Lord was encouraging me to serve Him full-time. Before my graduation, things changed in the student ministry and I wasn’t so comfortable to serve with them. Also the Lord, through His word, encouraged me to serve the local church.
I waited until I graduated and, during this period, my family brought me an opportunity to work for an accounting company headquartered in NJ, USA. I didn’t want to go to the interview, for I knew that the Lord was calling me, and my degree wasn’t in accounting. I just went to the interview so I would not disappoint my family, but knowing that I would be refused. I was so surprised that they accepted me to be an accountant trainee in their company, and I worked with them until my graduation. I decided to not join the student ministry full-time, but wait upon the Lord to clarify the call for me and show me exactly what and how He wanted me to serve Him in my country. After working for this company for three years, I couldn’t stay any longer in this line of work. I wanted to quit work, feeling so irritated that it’s not my mission, not what God was calling me for. The opportunity to work in this company is a dream for lots of young men my age, and I knew I would seem stupid for leaving it.
I was praying and praying that the Lord would show me His will and repeat for me His calling so I could leave this job. I desired this so much, but I was waiting for the Lord to speak clearly so it would not be just my emotions but a true call from Him. While I was waiting, the second revolution in Egypt started, and it was dangerous for us to stay at our office. It was God’s answer to my prayers and what happened was really unbelievable. Each of the employees had to work from home, and during my work at home I was praying more and had more chance to read the word of God.
I knew my future wife at this time, but I hadn’t proposed to her yet. I was praying overnight to God to repeat His calling for me, for I really could not handle anymore to live away from His calling. The next day my future wife called and suggested that we read and pray from Isaiah 43: 1-5. I told her everything I was struggling with, and she encouraged me to leave my job. I quit the job and even my family wasn’t upset, which was pure grace from God. I was desiring to study theology and my wife encouraged me to do so. I proposed to her and we got married 2 years later.
A week before our wedding, a brother, whom I saw only once or twice in my life during my theology studies, called me and told me that he recommended me to join the pastoral internship in Ras Al-Kaimah, U.A.E. I traveled there with my wife and we got baptized in RAK together in the Arabic Gulf. The surprising thing is that this internship was what I had always desired – to go and study under a church that will not only teach me theology, but also ecclesiology, to prepare me to plant a church. I was desiring this and praying for this while I didn’t even know anything about this pastoral internship in U.A.E. But it was our God who gave me the passion and He granted everything else in His providence, and here I am in my country to start serving Him. Glory be to His Holy Name forever and ever.