In an attempt to show physical unity within the worldwide body of Christ, Christian organization Focus on the Family is building homes for the families of the 20 Egyptian martyrs killed earlier this year by Islamic State terrorists.
According to a blog post shared by Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, the organization decided earlier this year to help the relatives of the young Egyptian men, whose executions on a beach near Tripoli were vidoed and posted on social media, shocking the international community.
"They were attempting to provide for their impoverished families living in Egypt when they were taken hostage and beheaded because of their Christian faith," Daly writes.
He explains that immediately after the tragedy, Sami Yacoub, regional director of Focus on the Family, stepped in to talk to the martyr's families, all of whom were living in the Egyptian village of Samalout. Daly describes their reactions as "astonishing".
"A number of them shared how their pain soon gave way to joy," he writes. "They spoke of a desire to share their faith with the ISIS extremists who committed the atrocious acts. They rejoiced that the martyrs were now home with Jesus Christ. Their only prayer request? 'Please pray our faith remains strong'."
While the families exhibited infectious joy despite the tragic circumstances surrounding them, Daly explains they were in desperate need of rehousing.
"I'm thrilled to report that God has used the construction efforts to bring the community together. Our Focus team has been able to hire labourers from surrounding villages, giving them a source of income as well as a sense of pride in helping these families in need," he writes.
In addition to building houses for the families, the Focus on the Family team has been meeting with the wives of the martyrs and their children, parents and siblings.
"It brings us great joy to get to see these houses go up as a sign of love and unity within the global Church. It's amazing to see how God's presence reigns sovereign even in the midst of a horrible tragedy," he writes.
In a separate update posted on the Focus on the Family website, the organization noted that "the houses are not extravagant, by any definition," but they "are safe, they provide shelter, and they are giving members of a marginalized community a place to call home."
The update emphasizes that more importantly, the houses are "a physical demonstration of unity within the worldwide body of Christ."
"The Focus Egypt team is committed to long-term ministry in the area, and construction will continue for many more months. The job training center will give new opportunities for families to earn a livelihood. And the final phase of the construction will include a Memorial Community Center in honor of the men who took such a brave stand," the update continues.
To learn more about the project or to donate, visit the Focus on the Family website.