Standing up in the face of trials

Anne Zaki is the Assistant Professor at The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, and will be a key speaker at SUTS in January.

“A big turning point in my life was when I had the incident with preaching!”

“It was a good incident! After a sermon I delivered in the US, my husband asked me, ‘Wait a minute, are you sure your true calling is to be a pastor’s wife? Isn’t God calling YOU to be a Pastor?’”

“I was stumped, because since my teen years, all I ever wanted was to be a Pastor’s wife. My mother managed to pull that life off very well, I thought.”

“After ten days of discussion, my husband finally said, “You can’t keep fighting this forever, you have to at least pray and examine whether this is your calling!”

“He was right. But if that was the case, I would be the first female to try to be a pastor in Egypt, and I would be facing a great trial.”

As you will see, Anne’s story is one of overcoming trials through faith. It’s an inspirational story of perseverance, which will be a major theme in her talks to us at SUTS in January 2019.

Anne was a keynote speaker at Lausanne 2016, and is a highly sought-after speaker with church and mission groups for her ability to teach and inspire, from her unique experience.

Anne is a spirited, tenacious and passionate Christian who grew up as the daughter of a pastor in Cairo, Egypt.

As a very young person, she dedicated her life to church, and went along to as many Bible studies she could – even ones that were not age-appropriate!

While others felt that church was ‘boring’, it was home to Anne, and she went to every event, group and service she could.

“While I grew up in the church, I found God when I was 15 at a youth camp, which took me by surprise. I think it does with many people who come to know the Lord in their second birth. It was at this time that God said that he would put His words in my mouth and appoint me as prophet to the nations – based on Jeremiah 1.”

So Anne applied for a scholarship to study overseas, for which she felt would never be accepted. To put things in perspective, scholarships in Egypt are generally awarded to children of those ‘higher-up,’ and certainly not to a Christian girl whose father is a pastor. But the miracle happened, and Anne was selected for the scholarship, and landed in Canada at an international boarding school, which challenged her and broadened her horizons.

After graduating, Anne ended up at Calvin College in Michigan, where she met her husband, Naji Umran, who is ‘much quieter’ than Anne is. They now have 4 boys, Jonathan, Sebastian, Emmanuel and Alexander.

“At SUTS this year, I want to prepare people for realistic mission work. So many times, we are told the benefits of missionary work, and none of the trials missionaries go through.

“Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying that many missionaries are truly blessed, and at times, have an incredible sense of reward for being in God’s service.

“But often, the message of perseverance is not a popular one; even when Jesus told His disciples that they would be persecuted, they just hushed him up, and even rebuked him!

“But it’s so important to prepare for the trials to come. It’s a great encouragement to know what the Scriptures say, and learning what we can do to overcome such trials – these are precious life lessons that we must all learn.”

Anne is excited about seeing us all at SUTS this year, where we will hear her full story. Register today at