Is going up in the world about gaining more stuff, more status, etc., or is going up what happens when we lose ourselves and replace the old self with the new? Shaun Groves set me thinking with his blog post

Mama Maggie certainly chose the (seemingly) downwardly mobile. But her journey towards God is clearly on the up! I shan’t be able to get to her UK talk tomorrow evening, but this blog post has been in the pipeline for a little while.

There are 12 million Christians in Egypt, of whom at least six million are living in poverty. Mama Maggie, as she is affectionately known, left a privileged background as a professor in an elite Egyptian university to spend her life taking care of the most vulnerable. She and her team at Stephen’s Children (named after the first Christian martyr) have developed a whole-person approach, meeting the needs of the individual. This happens in many different ways. The work of Stephen’s Children includes home visits, community education, literacy classes, social gatherings for mums, sports camps and healthcare. In his article for Sword magazine, May/June 2010 issue, Wilfred Wong, director of Stephen’s Children in the UK, writes:

‘Mama Maggie and her team of workers radically live out the Gospel on a daily basis. Some months ago I was standing in one of Cairo’s garbage dumps watching a Stephen’s Children worker lovingly washing the blackened, dirt covered feet, arms and faces of a group of little Christian children. In the garbage areas hygiene is neglected and it’s common to see the children who live there covered not only in dirt but also with numerous cuts caused by their contact with the rubbish. Water is also scarce, making washing a rare event.

I was immediately reminded of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. Just in front of me was the literal living out of Jesus’ teachings on servanthood. Mama Maggie herself tenderly washes the children’s feet whenever she can.’

In her address to the Global Leadership Summit in 2011, Mama Maggie (whom I mentioned previously, here: said,

“… we don’t choose where to be born, but we do choose either to be sinners or saints; to be nobody, or heroes.

If you want to be a hero, do what God wants you to do…”

What is it that God wants us to do? In Jesus’ own words:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father… For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:34-36 & 40 (GNT)

Are you as challenged as I am by these words? What is it that God is asking you to do? I have to do something this week that will take as much courage as anything I have ever done. I will do it with Mama Maggie’s words echoing in my head. I choose to be a hero, with God’s grace.