Tom Elliott at Cannon UMC sent the following email with an update on a missionary couple the church supports in Egypt.
Cannon Family & Friends,
On Monday, I sent out an urgent request asking you to pray for our missionaries in Egypt. Below is their latest update. We are thankful that they are safe. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
We are amazed to receive your encouraging responses with many prayers lifted up on our behalf in such devastating time we go through! We are so thankful to each of you and we urge you to keep on praying. Only God knows what the future of Egypt is going to be as hundreds of thousands are still protesting in downtown Cairo just in front of our home church. We as believers are communicating through telephone calls to encourage each other and set a time for each family to fast, pray and intercede for our country.
Last Thursday, Just before the protest began, our beloved orphans went to a retreat. Two days ago they saw a prison's gate open, releasing around four hundred prisoners with chains still around their hands. One of the prisoners came up to them and said "For your safety, it is better to go back" he showed them a way to return!! The following day, the children were able to come back safely, and they are doing fine now!
Our Muslim neighbors around the orphanage have been so kind and supportive. In times of chaos and unrest they came with sticks and stood outside our gates to protect the children from potential harm. They kept asking "are you ok? Do you need anything?" We are very thankful to have such a wide support group.
We live in a relatively safe area, though; no place in all Egypt is excluded from danger! On mornings, we are able to go out to buy food from a close by shopping center, it is very crowded, and we have to stay in long lines to buy bread! The rest of the day, we are forced to stay in our homes. Banks, schools, factories...etc. are all closed! Life in Egypt has been almost paralyzed during the past six days!
Here is a word from our daughter concerning the release of prisoners and thieves around Cairo: On Saturday afternoon tanks, yes MILITARY TANKS went around to insure protection. Security cars went around saying "please remain in your apartments, do not go out tonight." We later found out our neighborhood was surrounded by hundreds of thugs.
Every five seconds our phone rang, relatives and friends calling to say "we heard on the news, looters are coming to your city. Please be careful!" The police was nowhere to be found. Our only source of protection was ourselves and the military (which had just been released to attempt to protect the Egyptians, I'm sure you guys know this, but the military is not trained to protect its citizens but rather to fight wars. So this was something very new to the army soldiers). In that moment, what I saw was unbelievable panic, but indescribable courage. Men everywhere picked up whatever object they could find and surrounded the apartments and streets to provide protection for the residents (in this case, the residents would be their mothers, fathers, sisters, grandmas, friends...etc.). Every young man I saw was holding a stick of some sort, a kitchen knife, or even a water pipe. They were going to take on whoever comes to attack. They organized themselves and appointed different people for different areas. Suddenly our neighbor shouted "they're here! They're here!!" and everyone around me ran into their apartment, turned off the lights, locked their door and sat in silence. It was then that I could sense a peace I had never thought existed inside of me. Jesus spoke "you're not of this world." That gave me the most comfort, the fact that heaven's my home, not earth. I found myself instead of asking "God, please don't let me die tonight", it was more like "God, speak your living peace into every neighbor around me". My parents and I turned off the lights, played some Jesus music and rested in His presence till we each went to bed. The next morning we heard the prisoners/thieves were unable to come in. I'm thankful for 1) God 2) the men of our neighborhood 3) the military.
This is why nothing happened and I am safe today and able to share this.