Cast your burden on the Lord

Abanoub’s father is a laborer carrying bricks and stones all day on a construction site. He has trouble holding a job because he suffers back pains from the grueling work. But his greatest burden is supporting his seven-member family.

Many parents send their children to work to earn extra income, but Abanoub’s parents wanted him and his siblings to focus on school. As a result, they were barely surviving on the father’s living. The church helps with rent each month, but all they can afford is a small flat with broken furniture.

When Stephen’s Children began visiting Abanoub’s family, they provided beds, mattresses, a washing machine, and stove. They also took Abanoub’s father to the orthopedic doctor.

As for Abanoub, he was still suffering many problems at school. He was even afraid to walk there because street children bullied and beat him.

After the SC workers visited the homes of the street children, they stopped bothering him, and he is doing better now that SC has helped him with his studies and paid for a tutor.

When Abanoub felt safe, he had ears to hear the Bible stories the worker told him. He loves going to church and participating in the sacraments. His entire demeanor has changed as he has become a calm, secure young man who is devoted to prayer.


“I’m already poor. Isn’t that enough?”

At ten years old, Marina has endured a lot of hardship in the garbage slums, but nothing could prepare her for cancer.

With no money for treatment, living in a filthy shelter with her family of four, Marina’s spirit was crushed. She began to skip school and neglected her appearance. She felt unwanted by friends and family – and unloved by God.

Weekly visits from a Stephen’s Children worker did not seem to help. Marina could not acknowledge God’s love under the circumstances.

Something changed when she attended a Stephen’s Children “day out” program. “Days out” give kids a chance to spend a few hours outside the slums – at a SC camp center or local church. The kids play, eat a good meal, and listen to biblical teaching.

That day Marina heard about God’s overwhelming love – and how he purchased our salvation through suffering and death on the cross. She was affected, and she asked God for a new beginning.

Mama Maggie met and prayed with Marina. “Sickness is given to many great saints” she told her, “you are one of them, and you have a very special place in God’s heart.”

Since then, Marina has been hopeful. She is seeking God and joining her home visit worker for Holy Communion at the church.


God’s faithfulness at camp, 2015

Stephen’s Children recently concluded a summer filled with camping ministries in Greater Cairo and Upper Egypt. Below are stories of three children whose lives God changed at camp:

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Although she is smaller than most third graders, Marian Salah carried incredible burdens. Her chronically ill father is unable to work and her mother works all day to support the family, so Marian and her five siblings were left to themselves. They spent most of their time on the streets succumbing to a host of bad 2015 girl crying

Marian came to Stephen’s Children camp with great darkness in her life. This was clear from the foul language and lies that spewed from her tongue. She told her home visit leader that when her parents were not around, she allowed boys and girls from the alley to use her house to engage in sexual sin. She said this made her uncomfortable, but that the boys had intimidated her.

To make life more difficult, Marian is the primary care-taker for her infant nephew. His mother had abandoned him when Marian’s brother was imprisoned.

At camp, Marian listened to a talk about God’s love and forgiveness. She learned how He created us pure and enables us to keep our purity in Christ. She made the decision to stop letting those children into her home, and prayed for God to cleanse her tongue of lies and bad language.

“Jesus left his heavenly Kingdom and came to save me and suffered for my sake, so how do I do bad things to hurt Him again?” Marian said.

She trusted that Jesus will help her strop these bad things and will help her take care of the little nephew and bring up a good child of Jesus.

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Mina prayed with showers of tears.

For the first time, he was confessing his sin before God and man. He told them about his depression – how he was angry at God for taking his father long ago, leaving their mother to work herself ragged.

“When I look at my mother and see her tears, I cannot stand it. So, I spent my time in the streets with my Muslim friends. We smoke. We cuss. We harass girls on their way out of the church.”

Mina shared his shame over his crooked spine – which had never been treated because they were too poor. He shared his guilt over stealing from his mother to smoke shisha in the coffee shops. Fourteen years of frustration, pain, poverty, and sin spewed forth from his heart.

His heart had been very hard when he came to camp, but the loving environment drew him out. Through his sobs, Mina felt the tender embrace of his Stephen’s Children leader. His heart lifted even higher when his leader told him that Jesus loves and accepts sinners who repent.

Mina left camp promising to take a step of manhood. He promised to quit smoking, go to church, and read the Bible. He wants to spend more time with his poor mother, and encourage her and other widows. Because he knows his Stephen’s Children leader visits weekly, Mina knows there is someone to hold him to his promises.

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“Why did you bring this to camp?” Kyro’s leader asked, looking at the penknife the 14 year old was clutching. “It is against the rules, and desert farm - camp small groupsbesides, we all come here to have a good time.”

Kyro clutched the knife. He refused to give it up. He remembered what his older brother Atif had told him before he left for camp: “If anyone upsets you, just hit them with this.”

Mina said that all people were bad and couldn’t be trusted. Kyro believed him because, for years, that is exactly how Atif and their father had treated him. He was used to belittling and abuse from them, and camp was Kyro’s chance to make other children fear and respect him. Despite the leader’s attempts to take the knife away, Kyro refused.

Kyro’s heart needed to be disarmed before he would give up the knife, and that is exactly what happened.

Even though the staff knew he was carrying the weapon, they showered Kyro with love. After listening to Mama Maggie give a talk and participating in small group discussions, Kyro approached his leader to hand over the knife.

“I won’t need this,” he said, and he promised his leader that he was giving up bullying. He said he had learned that his worth didn’t come from being feared or respected, but by walking in all his ways with Jesus.

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Only Jesus…

Embarrassed by her poverty, Sohair always felt less than her friends at school and church. Her family of six lives in a two-room shelter and her father makes very little doing construction work in an area of religious intolerance. When she developed trachoma her parents could not afford medication, so she suffered from physical pain in addition to her poverty.

When Sohair joined Stephen’s Children, she shared her problems with her home visit minister, Magda. Magda took Sohair and her mum to the doctor. He agreed that if she began antibiotics regularly, he could perform surgery when she was 16. Magda purchased the antibiotics for Sohair.

Encouraged by this new blessing, Sohair attended Stephen’s Children camp. There, she began to consider her life and felt that she was living in a wrong way and her way of thinking was wrong. In one of the camp sessions, she realized that only Jesus can make her life different and that he will provide all her needs – even surgery expenses. Sohair decided to ask for a new beginning with Jesus, and to trust and to pray always. She knows that he can fulfill all her needs.


I won’t be afraid

One of the most common feelings we face in our ministry is fear. When fear enters the heart of a child, they are often unable to face even the simplest tasks of daily life.

George lives with five family members in a roof-top dwelling. The slum where they is known for religious intolerance. Kidnapping for ransom, harassment, and threats are commonplace.

Living here affected George negatively. He began to live in fear of being kidnapped and never seeing his family again. George’s father was frustrated by his son’s fearful ways, and frequently beat him as a way to ‘toughen him up.’

George was paralyzed by fear both inside and out. He likely never would have escaped if not for God sending a messenger who offered a bridge to healing.

At a Stephen’s Children camp George heard a sermon about feeling safe with God because he protects his children. Typically uninterested and distant, George began to share his feelings and fears with Samir, his home visit minister. During prayer time, and through many tears, George shared for the first time how his father beat him – and God began breaking the chains of fear on his heart.

After prayer time, the Samir hugged George and encouraged him for sharing his feelings. Samir and George prayed for God to change George’s father’s heart.

When they returned from camp, during his weekly visits, Samir talked seriously with George’s father about the abuse. He showed him ways to instruct George without harming him. Many parents in the slums want to be good parents to their children, but they must be shown better ways.

Samir also started a program for the little boy to get rid of the fear which controlled his life. By reading the Bible and memorizing Psalms, Samir showed George how he could put fear away for good.

Today the joy in George’s life has become a great testimony, as God set him free from the prison of his fears


An Easter Feast

Ten-year-old Dina lives with her six family members in a single-room house. Her father makes the family’s living by driving a tuk-tuk (tuk-tuks are most famous in India, but they are very common cheap transportation in Cairo’s poor districts as well).

The slum area where Dina’s family lives is notorious for immorality of many kinds. Some say their neighborhood breeds criminals. Violence, bullying, and threats are everywhere. Alcohol and drug abuse is common here too – especially cheap sedatives like tramadol.

Dina’s father became a tramadol addict. He could no longer drive and spent most days strung out. Dina’s mother was desperate. She was unable to work because she was needed at home with Dina’s two and three-year-old siblings. With their income gone, food became scarce.

When Dina shared these problems with Mariam, her Stephen’s Children home visit leader, she reported the case to our main office. By God’s grace, and through the generous hearts of our friends and network, we were able to place Dina’s father in a rehabilitation center where he could be cured of his chemical dependency. At first, he refused to go, but Mariam convinced him it would be best for his family if he left for a little while.

Dina’s family still had no income or food, so Mariam secured a regular food parcel for her family until the father returned. The first day of delivery was one of exuberant joy in Dina’s house. Her mother said they had not eaten chicken in over four months – the last time the ministry distributed food. With tears, they thanked the Lord for loving them and caring for their needs through Stephen’s Children.

We are grateful for opportunities to incarnate the love of Christ for these needy families.


I won’t stop praying

Even in her family’s tiny two-room Cairo apartment, Amira feels invisible and unloved. Her father earns a small wage at a nearby coffee shop, but refuses to spend money on her needs. He focuses his time and attention on her brothers. This is a common attitude where they live, but it does not lessen the pain of feeling unloved.

Heartbroken by her father’s harshness, Amira felt there was no one taking care of or loving her – no one to listen. Although there was no doctor to diagnose her, Amira was likely entering depression.

After several visits, Amira began discussing her problems with a Stephen’s Children home visitor, Maria. They prayed together, and Maria talked to her about staying positive. Amira decided to take a positive attitude and work in the summer so she can make money and buy her needs. She also decided to pray for her father to be changed.

At camp, Amira says she learned from Mama Maggie that she must not stop praying and that God is able to change her circumstances and make them better. She thanked Mama Maggie for giving her the chance to attend camp and for finding someone to listen to her. Amira also said that there are lots of people who are in a deep need but they don’t have the chance like she had.

“I was deeply touched by the love of God I saw in the people here in the camp.” Amira said. ”I won’t stop praying – God is listening. I trust that in the right time He will change the circumstances and my father’s heart”.