The unexpected highlight of the latest Willow Creek Leadership Summit was Mama Maggie Gobran, the diminutive Coptic Christian who works in the slums of Cairo, Egypt, with destitute children, both Christian and Muslim, who "are hungry every hour."
While she heads an organization, Stephen's Children, it was clear that the power of her leadership was a more mystical kind than normally spotlighted at leadership summits.
In her remarks, Mama Maggie said, "The hardest task of a leader is to get to know the Almighty and to keep your heart pure." One way to do that, she said, is through silence. There "you discover a taste of eternity." Her means:
"Silence your body to listen to words.
"Silence your tongue to listen to thoughts.
"Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating.
"Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
"Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit."
The leaders at the summit were fascinated by the power of her gentle spirit. Afterward, Marshall Shelley and Drew Dyck asked her a few questions.
How do you feel when people call you "the Mother Teresa of Cairo"?
Every time I hear it I feel that she's coming to me saying, "I'm blessing you." And I want her to keep on blessing me and the children until the day we stand before Jesus. I'm not worthy to untie her sandal. But I know she's with me. We have the same lover.
My nephew, a physician, gave me a Christmas gift, a framed photo of Mother Teresa, and she is in front of me every day. She comes to me in dreams. Also in hard times.
What do you do in times of discouragement, when it seems the needs outweigh the resources?
When you are heading anything, it's a very lonely place. Sometimes it's not easy. When we started this ministry one leader told me one thing—never give up. I keep that thought in front of me all the time.
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