Mama Maggie’s Silent Impact
“God has chosen someone like me,” Mama Maggie Gobran humbly told thousands gathered last week at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. “And He will do miracles in you.”
Tears welled up as I listened to this once wealthy woman, who now works with hungry, impoverished children in Cairo. In incredible humility Mama Maggie left her former life after being touched by the needs of the poorest of the poor in Cairo’s slums and her ministry, Stephen’s Children, now touches more than 25,000 families through ministries that enlist almost 1,500 workers and volunteers. It also matches home mentors with children and supports 80 preschools with medical clinics.
Known as the “Mother Teresa of Egypt”, her presence changes people for good. They want to touch her… to embrace her… to feel the love flow from her, her smile, and her touch. How is it that in a world marked by self-centered celebrities, one human can radiate so much love and peace? Of course, she’s not God, but when this woman spoke last week, seven thousand people sat absolutely still in that auditorium – as did thousands in dozens of satellite locations around the world – straining to hear every quiet word. She brought God to us… all I can say.
I can only remember being touched this way by one other person: Mother Teresa herself. I was among hundreds of others gathered to simply see her when she visited Fall River, Massachusetts in the mid-1990′s. Peace. Freedom. Incredible LOVE. Other worldly influence. Her very presence silenced the people, who stared transfixed as she knelt to pray. Now, almost twenty years later, another woman shows this same spirit.
Sacrifice? Incredible! Yet she says, ”I’m so disappointing to God. How could He have chosen someone like me?” And “If you want to be a hero, do what God wants you to do.”
After listening to her speak, and even more, simply being in her presence, I am left to wonder, “Am I loving people… AT ALL?” “Am I caring about people’s needs… AT ALL?” “Am I serving God… AT ALL?” It’s not a comparison or meant in a competitive way. It feels more like a challenge flowing from silence, “How can I have more of what she has?”
Last night, I asked a friend who spent last week hosting Mama Maggie at her home, “Is there any hope for people like me, who waffle between peace and faith, between anxiety and anger? What about those of us who don’t work with the poorest of the poor? Can we have that kind of peace? That kind of love? Her response: “Yes! She wants to share her way of life with others! It begins with learning to pray as she does. It begins with YOUR OWN silence.”
And in Mama Maggie’s words :
To be in silence is to be full inside of yourself. It’s not easy.
Silence your body to listen to your words.
Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts.
Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart.
Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
Silence your spirit to listen to His presence.”
“In silence, you leave the many to be with the One.”
OK… so, to change the world… Don’t just do something, sit there. Be still. Be silent. Listen. Listen. Listen….
PS. To learn more about Mama Maggie: http://stephenschildren.org/