April 18, 2019
Intercultural studies major Abby McCarty had the unique opportunity of traveling to Cairo, Egypt to work with non-profit organization Stephen’s Children, which was founded by Mama Maggie, to serve children in impoverished areas of the city. Her internship was in many ways an answer to prayer as McCarty had long desired to serve in Cairo.
“The past few years I had been pining to go, praying and trying my best to trust God, although at the time I truly didn’t know what that looked like in comparison with the way that God would grow my heart to see Him [in the process],” said McCarty.
In January 2018, McCarty transferred to Biola and began considering the 6-week internship required for her undergraduate degree in intercultural studies. Her professor, Alan McMahan, who is also the department chair of Cook School of Intercultural Studies, and volunteering internship assistant Nancy Peckham were actively involved in helping her find a fitting internship position. After weeks of internship searching, she received a voicemail with news of the potential opportunity to intern for Stephen’s Children.
McCarty was accepted as an intern and made her way to Cairo in summer 2018. She traveled to various Coptic churches and spent the majority of her time with the children in the garbage districts — urban slums “where families collect and sort rubbish from the city’s wider population,” as described on Stephen’s Children’s website. During these meetings, leaders from Stephen’s Children sought to show the children their full value in God and that they are worth caring for by teaching them practical habits, like personal hygiene.
McCarty also visited schools and centers founded by Maggie Gobran and observed how the teachers incorporated Bible stories into every class. Gobran, warmly known as Mama Maggie, visited Biola in spring 2018 during the 89th annual Missions Conference when she received Biola’s Charles W. Colson Courage and Conviction award.
“A Bible story would be selected for the week, and then each piece would be taken from the stories and integrated into each subject that was taught,” said McCarty. “They truly desire for the children to know the Bible in and out.”
McCarty visited a farm where Gobran was hosting the Discipleship Training School (DTS) for a group of Egyptian boys, who happened to be graduating from the program that day. It was there that she met Gobran, whom she describes as a kindred spirit.
“Mama Maggie has a way of exuding such a peaceful and childlike spirit to whomever she is talking to. I think it is this that has caused her to dream so big for the children,” McCarty said.
When it was time to return home, McCarty remembers feeling conflicted because she had grown attached to the people with whom she had formed close relationships. She departed with thoughts of fostering ways for others to aid the ministry.
“Within the garbage district homes, there are many needs, and God has been stirring in my heart some of the ways that these could be met,” said McCarty. “I want to continue praying about this and want to see the ministry continue to grow. I would love to see people, even students at Biola, begin to directly support what the Lord is doing in Cairo.”
Recalling her internship experience, McCarty reflects on Gobran’s commitment in helping the Coptic children know God.
“This summer was a picture of God’s grace. He uses us in ways that we lack and loves us by knowing us,” McCarty said.
McCarty referenced Psalm 113:7-8, “He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of His own people!,” as a verse that impacted her during her time in Cairo.
Written by Monica Kochan, iBiola reporter. Edited by Irene Pan, Media Relations Intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Loumagne, Manager of Media Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (562) 777-4061.