From my perspective, The Global Leadership Summit is always a wild adventure. Every year God moves, stirs and shakes things up, and our hope as creatives is to stay alert and attuned to His activity, whenever and wherever it reveals itself. One compelling evidence of this stirring of God’s Spirit is the presence of Mama Maggie of Cairo in Session 5.
She is a unique, disarming leader with a deep soul and a resounding mission. Her roots run deep in the Coptic Christian tradition. Born into a family of doctors in the upper echelon of Egyptian society, she became a professor at American University, the most prestigious university in Egypt. She knew everybody who was anybody in the glitterati of Cairo. She had wealth, status, influence and elegance.
And she let go of it all because her heart was pulled by God into an entirely other world.
She found her heart broken by Mokattam, Garbage City, where Cairo’s refuse and rubbish is dumped, processed, harvested, recycled, and repurposed by a community that ekes out a meager livelihood. The children often walk barefoot among the trash and filth that lines the street and fills the yards.
When she toured Garbage City, Mama Maggie saw past the smell and the mountains of trash and saw the children. She saw Christ in their eyes, and their infinite potential. She began to visit them regularly in their shack homes, befriending them and their families. She listened to them, engaged them, and came to care about them deeply. Their need for help was so pervasive, she began to enlist others to come alongside her to share in her labor of love.
As a result, this ministry, which she calls Stephen’s Children, has grown into a dynamo of transformation. For the past 25 years, she has led a growing army of home visitors, teachers and helpers, numbering almost 1500 now, most of them young Christ-followers, who agree to give at least two years to this mission. Some of them stay much longer. She inspires them and develops them into compassionate Christ-centered leaders. They devote themselves to educating these children, spiritually mentoring them, caring for their medical needs, teaching them about hope, and preparing them for a future in a world full of new options. Last year, more than 30,000 children were impacted deeply by this ongoing ministry.
It’s a compelling story when a woman of elegance, means and high position throws it all away and becomes a Mother Teresa.
Mama Maggie’s decision to say no to the values of the prevailing social-climbing culture, and yes to the downward pull of the poorest of the poor, has given the families of Mokattam, and now other areas of Egypt as well, a dignity of soul that God has seen in them all along. She and her team have given themselves fully to revealing and nurturing that bright promise, and lifting the entire community–one child, one family at a time.
Mama Maggie will grace our stage during Session 5, Friday morning.
We’d love it if you would pray not only for her, but for the entire Summit event. God continues to stir and move and shape and surprise.
And we want to be ready.
By: Greg Ferguson
Co-producer, Writer, Experience Designer, The Global Leadership Summit
…and Blogger at 10,000 Pages.