Meeting needs in the ‘Garbage City’ and beyond – Living Out Compassion

As part of their practical field training, students at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) serve in specialized ministries, including hospitals, homes for the elderly and disabled, orphanages, drug rehabilitation centers, prisons and mission outreach in Sudan. These experiences give the students practical skills to understand the real situations of ministry in their context. Church planting in deprived areas of Egypt is a key emphasis of service. Many of the church plants are in shanty towns and poor areas. The Manshiyat Naser (‘Garbage City’) church plant was started by the Outreach Ministry Team of Heliopolis Evangelical Church; ETSC students and graduates are members of this team.

After taking garbage to the area where they live, the garbage collectors sort it to retrieve useful or recyclable items; they burn the rest, resulting in pollution. Living in this environment makes them susceptible to various diseases and health problems. Those with chronic diseases require monthly medications that they cannot afford. The team started a healthcare project a few years ago that offers medical exams, surgical operations, prenatal care, medication and eye glasses. Patients pay only 25% of their expenses; ETSC covers the remaining 75%. Overseas Council’s Community Outreach funding covers many of the healthcare expenses, as well as the students’ transportation. In addition to healthcare, the team offers food to unemployed widows, weekly meals for children and retreats for different age groups. Communicating God’s Word and love is one of the main goals of the team’s service. They aim to communicate the message of salvation and show people that they care for their needs. As future pastors, they will have experience in addressing spiritual, physical and emotional needs in society.