Massage of a dear friend:
I’m sure you are following the news and aware of the unrest and tensions in Egypt and several other countries in this part of the world, so I will not try to analyze the situation, which is changing by the minute! The demonstrations last night were amazingly peaceful! But what might be stated one day may prove to be obsolete the next! But we want you to know that we are very appreciative of your love and concern and your continued prayers for us, and for this country.
We are safe, and we are in no way being targeted or threatened. On the contrary. Despite the general turmoil and uncertainty and fear and anger and the many other emotions and realities of our situation, there is a general spirit of solidarity that is being felt by all. As people purchase supplies, they are chatting in line, looking each other in the eye, there is less honking, more patience… it really is amazing and beautiful. This forced vacation has every one slowed down!
As some take advantage of the chaos to loot and steal, neighbors are coming together. Many are getting to know each other for the first time, both Christians and Muslims, as they protect their neighborhoods and property together on overnight shifts, (due to the lack off police security). Each evening as curfew nears, barrels and bags and bins are positioned into barricades and all cars are stopped and people questioned by men armed with sticks and clubs, guns and knives… This however has provided most people with a real feeling of security and goodwill! But that was yesterday….
This could possibly make a turn for the worse however, as civilians take the law into their own hands. Prices have begun to rise. Food, medical and other supplies are dwindling since most factories and businesses are closed after last week’s wave of vandalism and the daily 3 pm curfew. There are fears concerning the availability of necessities. And of course, there is continued unrest and anger with the government… We continue to pray for rapid resolution. Today the internet is back, and this is a very exciting development! Yet, even as I write there has also been much provocation and increased violence between the two groups right now downtown… pray that people would yet embrace this sense of camaraderie, which has been felt in the past few days.
Please be praying for the poor and destitute who suffer most at this time. We are fine and safe… there are masses that are not! Pray for wisdom for the Army to know how to control the situation without resorting to brutal means to control the crowds.
Pray that Christians in Egypt (both locals and expats) will not flee when things get hard. Libby Little whose husband Tom was brutally murdered in Afghanistan last summer said that during that terrible war they and their daughters were called “the people who stayed”! Lucien Accad, the former head of the Bible Society of Lebanon stayed with his family during that dangerous civil war even though they all had Swiss passports and could leave.
Ramez Atallah, General Secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt, has lived through many of these kind of dramatic events (1952 revolution which deposed the King, the burning of much of downtown Cairo, the tri-partite attack on Egypt in 1956 by the Israelis, French and British following the nationalization of the Suez canal (a bomb fell in their garden), the nationalization of all capitalists when his family lost all their properties and were terribly humiliated, his pediatrician was tortured to death in jail during that time, the brutal assassination in 1981 of President Sadat after he made peace with Israel, the security forces rampage which caused much damage around the city and a strong earthquake in 1992 etc.. I agree with his statement earlier today: “So though this situation is volatile and unstable we’ve lived through similar crises and it’s not time to panic or leave the country.“
Many people are leaving. This is understandable, and I do not blame anyone nor do I judge anyone’s decision. While many are forced to leave by company policies, especially foreigners, we pray that the shrinking Christian population of the Middle East would not be even further diminished by these current events.
Nagieb just came back yesterday, from a month of ministry in Australia, and we are glad to have him home! He is exhausted, after an extremely full schedule of service and visiting and recording hundreds of hours of programs and music for Satellite TV. Nagieb has been watching the news from abroad (our satellite is currently broken, so that is a personal frustration!!! But now Internet was back today! Yea!!!) and his first thought is to be responsible and to protect his family. Please pray for us as a family as we have our own discussions and prayers and seek the Lord’s will for our location.
But I have 3 little Christian Egyptians in our home, named Hannah, Lydia, and Joseph, who are adamant about staying. Their passion and vision for Egypt is inspiring and humbling. I affirm and encourage this eternal perspective they hold to. To quote some of their FaceBook status statements:
I’m so excited!! I can’t wait for what God is doing!!!! We know just how much power prayer has, and ppl everywhere around the world are all praying!!!!! God is going to turn Egypt upside-down inside out! He is!!! He is!!!! And the aftermath of it all is going to be SO beautiful!!!! Oh Praise Jesus!
Isaiah 19!!! God will save Egypt… people cant, and neither can the govt. But God can use pal to do his will…. please God, take control of Egypt, and use us to do urn will! Remember mercy!
Jesus, please bring peace and order to this nation…. please take control of the govt, and revive this nation… Save us! Jesus, let it rain! open the floodgates of heaven, and let ur Spirit rain upon us! Please have mercy!
I believe that simply staying is in itself an encouragement to those who do not have the means to go. And I am anticipating opportunities to be light and salt. Please pray along those lines. There are many people who desire to serve in much more difficult situations… we are not being persecuted or cursed by enemies. But even if it came to that, is it not our commission to show love, to bless, to do well and to pray…? (I’ve been reading Matthew 5 and 6 today). Please pray for us, that we would be a blessing here and now. As events unfold, and it is really boiling now, pray that we would truly know God’s guidance, and the divine strength and the grace to indeed live up to these beliefs and ideals we so boldly proclaim!!
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We will keep in touch as we can.
Lois for all
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NKJV)