CAIRO, Egypt (Christian Examiner)— Michael Youssef's Leading the Way ministry says at least 500 people came to faith in Jesus during a three-day evangelistic event in Cairo, Egypt, last month. According to the ministry's website, more than 5,000 people attended one of the services in person along with "millions more watching live via satellite television."
"Whatever your bondage may be—whether it's alcohol, gambling or pornography, sexual addictions or drug addictions—Jesus can set you free tonight."
"My beloved friends, a day is coming—and it may be sooner than we think—when there will be only two lists, those who are saved and those who are lost, those who have received Jesus as their only Savior in life and those who had their own ideas of who God is and what He should be," Youssef told the audience on the first day. "Where will your name be?"
Youssef's messages, which were translated from English into Arabic, focused on "salvation in Christ and victory over sin and addiction," according the ministry website.
Youssef grew up in Egypt and later moved to Australia and attended Moore Theological College. In 1977 he moved to the United States where he received a master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. In 1987 he started The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, an independent Anglican congregation.
Youssef's sermons at Cairo's Kasr El-Dobora Church were broadcasted on two satellite channels and reached 160 million homes worldwide, says Joshua Youssef, executive vice president of Leading the Way. He also added that people came to faith in Christ on the first evening of the event despite government protests outside of the church.
Yousef's messages directed at those struggling with addictions come during a critical time in the Middle Eastern country. The L.A. Times reported in 2013 that the social upheaval since 2011 has led to an increase in drug addiction in Egypt. GulfNews.com cites "official figures" claiming five million of the country's 90 million people are addicted to drugs.
Pornography, which Youssef spoke about multiple times during the four sermons over three days, has also increased in the Middle East in recent years. A 2015 article on Salon.com said that six of the eight highest porn-searching countries were predominantly Muslim—including Egypt at number two.
During the fourth of Youssef's Cairo sermons he assured the people that he had come to Egypt to bring them Good News.
"Whatever your bondage may be—whether it's alcohol, gambling or pornography, sexual addictions or drug addictions—Jesus can set you free tonight," Youssef said. "He is the God of power and might. If you don't allow Jesus to deliver you from whatever you are hooked on, you will end up being cynical in life."
Youssef asked Christians to pray for those who made commitments during the Cairo events and that those who came to faith will find opportunities for personal discipleship. He also asks Christians to pray that God will bring a mighty move of His Spirit to the city and country.