10 February 2011 Cairo, Egypt [BUC News, tedNEWS] Having successfully arranged the evacuation of non-essential ex-patriots among the Adventist staff based in Egypt during the current unrest, Field President Pastor Llew Edwards, along with his wife Karin, needed to consider their own position.
Egypt is a country of 85 million people and among them is a small group of 700 Adventist members, 12 pastors, and 13 churches. Pastor Edwards reports, “No one, to my knowledge, has been involved or hurt in the present events.” He states that the churches outside of Cairo and Alexandria are meeting regularly and reports that “one of the Upper Egyptian pastors has told me that as soon as the events in Cairo began he started a series on prophecy and his meetings were full each night.”
Reporting on events last weekend, Llew states that the two churches in Cairo were both open for worship, as was the church in Alexandria. Pastor Anwar Eskander, Executive Secretary and Heliopolis pastor, reported that though attendance was not at its normal level, nevertheless a good number attended at each venue. At Nile Union Academy, where some 30 plus staff and Sudanese students remain, services were held both Friday night and Sabbath morning. Llew says, “It is a very great privilege to witness their courageous and joyful faith.”?
No churches have been damaged or affected by the troubles. There was an attempt to break in and rob a church in the city of Assuit, Upper Egypt, but the pastor reported that an army unit quickly arrived to capture the men and there was no damage done.
With the exception of Llew and Karin, all ‘foreigners’ working in Egypt are now in the safety of other countries outside of Egypt. Most are in Athens, some in Beirut and a couple are in Canada and Latvia. Llew and Karin share accommodation with an Egyptian pastor and his family in the Egypt Field Office in Heliopolis. There is also a Sudanese family and four Egyptian girls staying in flats and guests rooms in the church complex. Each night Llew seeks to join Pastor Anwar in going out into the street and talking with the vigilante street guards. Most of them are Muslim with a sprinkling of Christians. These are made up of men and youth, mostly teens, armed with their assorted clubs. There is an occasional person who, in assuring Llew of their safety, lifts his jacket to show him a revolver. Llew says, “In the absence of any other form of law and order, I am personally grateful for these community vigilantes for the security they give us as well as our office block and neighbouring church building. There are other areas within walking distance where I am told looting and arson of some buildings has happened.” Llew notes the importance of making good friends with non-Adventist neighbours. He says that “in a time of trouble they may become a great blessing.”?
Why are they still in Egypt? Llew was recently in conversation with some British friends who work for the Anglican community in Cairo. He stated that “their view was that their priority was not safety, but what was best for the work of the gospel in Egypt – none of them were or have evacuated.” He then received a phone call from a pastor who expressed surprise that he did not yet evacuate. Llew responded to him, “When I told him that I presently saw no need for evacuation, his words amounted to ‘Thank you pastor – that is so encouraging because it seems that so often when there is trouble the foreigners run away and leave us nationals to stand alone.'”
The Adventist Church in Egypt is very grateful for the prayers of ‘the saints’ around the world. Llew has shared with his members the numerous emails, phone and Skype calls, and assurances of prayer from churches and members all over the world. Last Sabbath he told worshippers at Nile Union Academy, “I am sure that around the world there may be around 10 million people praying for us here in Egypt.” The result? The meeting burst into cheers and clapping. Llew concluded, “We are grateful for the encouragement of the prayers of the saints.” [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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