February 4, 2011
Dear concerned and previous friends,
I'm sure you are following the news and aware of the trouble, riots and tensions in Egypt and several other countries in this part of the world. I will not try to analyze the situation, which is changing by the hour. What might be stated one day may be obsolete the next! But we want you to know that we are very appreciative of your love, concern and your continued prayers for this country.
The Bible Society staff is all safe, and our properties are intact and unharmed. Despite the general turmoil, uncertainty, fear, anger and the many other emotions and realities of our situation, we as Christians are in no way being targeted or threatened.
After the absence of the police from the streets of Cairo, the burning of many police stations and escape of thousands of prisoners, some have taken advantage of the chaos to loot and steal. Neighbors are coming together, both Christians and Muslims, as together they protect their neighborhoods and property 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 as civilians take the law into their own hands.
Expatriates are being evacuated. Banks and stock market are closed. 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 curfew from 3PM to 8 AM daily. Even as I write, there have also bloody confrontations between Egyptian civilians in the main Traffic Circle downtown…
a. Pray that the situation comes under control very promptly and urgently. There are massive losses every minute. The official number of people wounded today, many of them seriously, exceeds 600 people, with at least 8 dead. Financial losses of the last eight days were announced by the official TV channel to be about 200 billion Egyptian Pounds (36 billion US$).
b. Pray for the poor and destitute, the ones who suffer most at this time.
c. Pray that Christians in Egypt (both locals and expats) will not be tempted to "run" when things get hard. Libby Little, whose husband Tom was murdered in Afghanistan last summer, said that during that terrible war they and their daughters were known as "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 have left. While many foreigners are forced to leave by company policies, we pray that the shrinking Christian population of the Middle East will not be even further diminished by these current events.
d. Pray for the Bible Society of Egypt to think of creative and appropriate ways to bring God's Word to the people during these difficult times (after all, much of Scripture was written in contexts of danger). Staff are working from their homes on printed and audio materials to produce as soon as we get back to the office. The Book Fair, which was scheduled for 29 Jan – 8 Feb has been postponed indefinitely. Book tables (an extension of the Book Fair offers) and Bible Sundays in all churches have been cancelled. As this will have a tremendously negative impact on our Bible distribution and income from sales and fundraising, as this is our peak sales season. Please pray with us as we consider how to close this income gap.
e. Pray for wisdom for the political and army leaders to know how to control the situation without resorting to brutal means.
f. Pray for the future leadership of the country. There are deep concerns over who will rule Egypt next. The door will be open to all political and religious ideologies, extremists and fundamentalists included.
g. Finally, please pray for me to quickly recuperate from a sudden heart problem (arrhythmia) which I succumbed to last Wednesday, causing me to spend 8 days in CCU. Yesterday was my first day home.
THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS, THAT'S WHAT WE NEED MOST!
Love to you all, on behalf of the Bible Society of Egypt staff,
The Bible Society of Egypt