Maggie Gobran, sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of Egypt,” was invited to speak at the 2011 internationally televised Global Leadership Summit, sponsored by the Willow Creek Community Church, Chicago, IL. I was able to sit in on the broadcast.
In concluding her remarks, Mama Gobran as she is affectionally known, made this comment:
“Silence your words that you may listen to your thoughts; silence your thoughts that you may listen to your heart; silence your heart that you may listen to God.”
And then, resplendent in her all-white habit, she said, “I would like to end my presentation by thanking God and blessing you.” And then, kneeling to the carpet, face in her hands against the floor, Mama Gobran spent the next five minutes in silent prayer. There was not a dry eye in the house as several hundred Pastors and Church Leaders watched in awe, profoundly moved as the benevolent “Mother of Cairo” prayed for us. It was a moment I will never forget.
Mama Gobran is an apt example of what I’m writing about. She was raised in wealth and already successful in the business world when a personal visit to the garbage slums servicing the city of Cairo touched her heart. She soon sold all she owned, and together with an army of men and women who shared her vision, founded Steven’s Children and blessed over 30,000 families with God’s love.
A manufacturing center that gave many of her kids a marketable skill soon followed, along with primary and elementary schools, medical clinics, and a home for boys and one for girls who had been abandoned by their families. A new world was opened to children who had no hope, and they were able to break free from the poverty, disease, and hopelessness in which they had been trapped.
I make a point of this, for America has sometimes accused the evangelical church of being intolerant, homophobic, anti-abortion, arrogant, and out of step with this modern age. Here we have the other side of Christianity. Indeed, we have much to say about moral and social issues that violate principles given us in God’s Word, but we are also out there, wherever there is a need, lending a helping hand.
And, yes, Maggie, we heard you! We have silenced our words, quieted our hearts, and listened to God. And we have accepted your challenge. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, the Salvation Army, World Vision, and many others have joined you on the front-lines of suffering, working one-on-one with the most disadvantaged, and showing by our actions that God loves you and so do we. “By this,” Jesus said, “will everyone know you are my disciples, if you have love.” Indeed!
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