Meet the students: Joseph Louis Shafirk

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Joseph graduated in May this year. He is 26 and comes from Ayoub in Upper Egypt. He studied English at the local College of Arts, but one day, while trying to catch the train, he was involved in an accident, which resulted in his leg being amputated above the knee. This was obviously a traumatic time, and Joseph had to undergo 4 operations. He now uses a prosthetic leg (which he bought on Ebay!!) and is well able to walk around. Remarkably he continued with his studies and, even more remarkable, he felt his call to the ministry strengthened by what he had suffered. His family has had a very strong connection with the Synod of the Nile, with his father being an elder and two cousins pastors. His disability did not hinder him from taking up a place at the Seminary, and in fact during his studies for his M.Div. he wrote a research paper on the difficulties (indeed, abuse) suffered by those who are disabled within the Church in Egypt. Joseph has a very open and positive personality, and he has made the most of his time at the College, grateful for the relationships he has made with both staff and students, but also for the exposure to new ideas. In summer 2016 he will become the pastor of the congregation of Jarf Sarhan-Dairut in Upper Egypt, where he did his summer placement in 2015. This will be a challenge, as although built in 1922, the church has never had a pastor and does not even have any elders. However, 40-50 attend worship with 100+ children. Joseph is certainly well up to the challenge, but would very much value our prayers.

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