Editor's Note: Ramez Atallah serves as general secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt. Asking for ongoing prayers, he sent this report on Feb. 2 when internet access was restored to the nation in turmoil. Since that time, protesters have continued to fill Cairo's Tahrir Square, calling for Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to resign. Although the president addressed the country on television yesterday and said he has transferred his authority to the vice president, he did not step down. As the unrest continues, Atallah asks Christians worldwide to pray.
1. Christians and Muslims have been united as never before defending their homes on overnight shifts (due to the lack of police security). This is resulting for many to make friends with neighbors they never knew, and there is a real sense of camaraderie, which we never had before.
2. Most of the demonstrations in Cairo are restricted to Tahrir Square, which is very close to Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church, so they especially need your prayers for protection.
3. No one we know has been injured or attacked.
4. Food, medical, and other supplies are dwindling, since most factories and businesses are closed after last weeks wave of vandalism and the daily 3 p.m. curfew. Pray for the poor and destitute who suffer most at this time.
5. I've 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 our garden); the nationalization of all capitalists when my family lost all their properties and were terribly humiliated—my 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. So though this situation is volatile and unstable, we've lived through similar crises and its not time to panic or leave the country.
6. All Bible Society staff and properties are safe up till now.
7. Please pray for:
a. Christians in Egypt (locals and expats) to not get tempted to "run" 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.
b. For the Bible Society of Egypt to think of creative ways to bring God's Word to the people in appropriate ways during these difficult times (much of Scripture was written in contexts of danger). Staff are working from their homes on print and audio materials to produce as soon as we get back to the office.
c. For wisdom for the Army to know how to control the situation without resorting to brutal means to control the crowds.
d. For me to quickly recuperate from a heart crisis (arrhythmia), which I succumbed to last Wednesday and spend eight days in CCU. Today is my first day home.
Ramez Atallah serves as general director of the Bible Society of Egypt and program director of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He earned his master of divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
This report first published by The Gospel Coalition. Published on the Salem Web Network with permission from The Bible Society of Egypt.