Why invest in a confused 17 year old?

I had recently arrived to Egypt from Canada as a youth worker and was anticipating a successful ministry among youth.  But for the first many months I spent most of my time repairing our dilapidated apartment and trying to survive in the crowded metropolis of Cairo.

A friend who knew I was wanting to minister among youth introduced me to a young 17 year old seminary student from Upper Egypt who had doubts about his faith and wanted to talk with someone.  So I set up a weekly session with this young man and another seminary student to talk about crucial issues in the Christian faith mainly based on papers from the Lausanne Movement.

I have always felt that one of my gifts is to encourage Christian leaders, but at the time I really did not think that this young man had any leadership potential and wondered if I was wasting my time…  In spite of that I continued faithfully to meet weekly with these two young men for nearly two years.

Never in my wildest imagination could I have imagined that this confused 17 year old from Upper Egypt would one day be the leader of one of the largest Christian organizations in Egypt and one of the best known Christian statesmen in the Nation!  As I now listen to him on TV shows and read articles he writes in key newspapers I am humbled.  This young man’s story is a modern day verification of the truth of the Apostle Paul’s words….

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.

            Not many of you were wise by human standards;

            not many were influential;

            not many were of noble birth.

            But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;

            God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 

                        so that no one may boast before him.

            (1 Cor. 1:26-29)