Before the father of 17-year-old Marqos was killed, Marqos didn’t think too much about God. His mother described him as a “difficult teenager.” But when he heard about how his father, Baghat, had refused to deny Christ and as Marqos thought about how his father has lived his faith, his heart began to change. Recently, our team in Egypt visited Marqos and his mother, Fawziya. Together, they share how God is moving in the midst of their tragedy to draw them closer to Him.
Marqos starts out, talking about life before he lost his father.
“Before he was killed, we were a family of four living in El-Arish (a small city on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast)l: me, my sister, my mother and my father. It wasn’t a bad place to live. We lived in peace with our Muslim neighbors. My father was a veterinarian, and had good relations with his Muslim colleagues and friends.”
“At some point, new people moved to the village, Fawziya adds. “They were Palestinian immigrants with a very strict view on Islam. That changed everything.”
The new residents of El-Arish began threatening believers by spreading leaflets warning Christians to leave the city or die. In the beginning of 2017, they started their killings. Baghat was one of the first victims.
“It was a Sunday, and my husband woke up early to go to church,” Fawziya says. “After that, he went to work at the veterinarian clinic of one of his Muslim friends.”
Marqos and Fawziya weren’t present at the tragedy that followed, but Marqos spoke with a Muslim friend of his father who witnessed the event.
“He told me that two young masked men entered the pharmacy and dragged my father outside,” Marqos says. They told him to kneel in the street. They put two guns at my father’s head and told him to convert to Islam. But he shook his head. Then they shot him. When I heard he’d died, I couldn’t walk to the morgue.”
Fawiziya shares about Baghat.
“My husband was a loved man in El-Arish; a respected veterinarian. I’ve heard that the terrorists were keeping an eye on him for some time before they killed him.”
Marqos runs to another room to get his father’s cross necklace.
“He wore it every day, also the day he died. I was proud of my father, for standing by his faith until the last moment. It made me curious. When my father was still alive, he woke up every morning at 5 am to study the Bible and pray. Apparently, that helped him become a strong believer. My father’s death for Christ has made me search for Jesus.”
Fawziya has seen a noticeable change in her son’s heart and habits.
“You know, Marqos used to be a difficult teenager. But after the murder, all of a sudden, I found him reading his Bible and praying. He started going to church often, studied harder. He really changed as a person. If he doesn’t understand a verse, he asks me about it. And we pray together.
“This is what my husband and I have always prayed for together: that the Lord would touch our son’s heart and pull him closer to Him.”
Egypt is No. 16 on Open Doors’ World Watch List and continues to be a country that poses extreme danger and violence for Christians. Please pray with Marqos, Fawziya and their family as they live life without Baghat, and for the many believers in Egypt who have lost loved ones to persecution.