UPDATE: Nile Union Academy plans to reopen Feb. 21
Feb. 8 — Adventists living in Egypt's big cities found themselves in an uncertain situation due to massive and often violent protests in Egypt.
All Adventist student missionaries working in Egypt have left the country. They were told to leave by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. All foreign staff members at Nile Union Academy have also left Egypt, said one student missionary, whose name is omitted for her safety.
Llewellyn Edwards, president of the Egypt Field of Seventh-day Adventists told A Sabbath Blog of the courage of a number of Sudanese students and Egyptian staff, who are guarding Nile Union Academy, with teams patrolling the compound 24/7.
No church member has been injured as a result of the violence, he said. No church property had been damaged either. Some people tried breaking into a church in Upper Egypt, but were quickly caught on the scene by the army.
"Most SDAs are out in the villages –where there are no problems," Edwards said. "Don’t believe some of the news medias that are suggesting that the whole country is in crisis and danger."
One student missionary told A Sabbath Blog she felt safe when she was in Egypt because the demonstrations were all localized, but also said it could get scary at night.
"At night, people shoot into the air to scare off thieves and looters, and the falling bullets have caused minor injuries for people patrolling the campus at night," she said.
The student missionary was serving as a teacher while in Egypt. She said all her students are worried about the future of Egypt.
"It's a time of uncertainty," she said. "There is no telling what could happen in Egypt now. This could be an opportunity for Egypt to become a better place for people to live, with less poverty and corruption, but it is also possible for things to become terrible for Christians. There are 8 Muslims for every Christian (mostly Coptic) in the country, and as things were, although Christians were tolerated, they experienced prejudices on a regular basis."
The student missionary said that the demonstrations are most dangerous to the futures of her students. She said many of them have gone through tough times in their lives and that graduating from Nile Union Academy is their "only real shot at having a future that doesn't involve poverty."
One Canadian student missionary to Egypt made it back to her hometown safely. You can read about how she was able to make it back home in an article by The Daily Courier.
Student missionaries are students from Adventist-owned universities who are taking a year off from school to volunteer in the mission field around the world. Some of the universities and colleges with student missionaries in Egypt include Andrews University, Southern Adventist University, Union College and Walla Walla University.
Update #1 — Egyptians protested in the streets for 18 days, demanding President Hosni Mubarak to step down. On Feb. 11, Mubarak resigned and transfered power to the Egyptian military. Mubarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.
Update #2 — BUC News reports some staff members are returning to teach at Nile Union Academy. According to the school website, NUA will resume classes on Feb. 21, 2011. Read more about the current situation.