‘Pray for Me’

150622_Serve Gaby
Gabrielle Salib (front row, third from right) in Cairo with the Serve to Learn 2014 team.

Dear Friends,
I’m excited about the upcoming Serve to Learn trip, which runs July 3-25! In the run-up to that trip, and the next one in early 2016, I’d like to share one of the most moving accounts I’ve ever read about Serve to Learn. Gabrielle Salib sums up the best of the experience in the piece below, which first appeared on her wonderful blog here. I’m grateful to Gaby for her beautiful writing, and most of all for loving and serving the children!
— Nermien Riad

July 18, 2014 — We’re now on the Thursday of our second week in Abnoub and I can say with confidence that I know the children I’m teaching. I’ve taken on this new perspective of each of them, because I’ve gotten to see what they like, what they don’t like, and how they live their lives on a daily basis. This was all very difficult to do, by the way. It was all very emotional; and the more I get to know them, the more emotional it gets to see the circumstances that they’ve been allotted.

Not only have the children made me emotional, but I’ve gotten to take in the beauty of El Sayeed, which touches my heart as well, because of my love for nature. I’ve seen and learned of true simplicity.

I’ve seen my children in their homes, met their mothers, and been inspired by the love of my Savior to reach each child the way they need to be met by a willing American-Egyptian during this three-week, English lesson, summer excursion.

As a matter of fact, everything is different now. I’ve listened to my people’s needs, seen their affliction, felt their love, and loved them back. Egypt will never be the same to me.

There’s this thing I do during class where I stop everything and sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, so that I can turn even a single child’s frown upside down. That’s one of the most important lessons I learned during this trip. Make people smile, because a lot of people feel they don’t have reason to do so otherwise.

Pray for me.

If Gaby’s post makes you want to know more about Serve to Learn, you can check out our page and our video, which gives a snapshot of the program. The next trip with available slots is January, so it’s a good idea to start planning now.

If you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are interviews with ToniJohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle. You may also enjoy these video interviews with Nadine Roffaell and Peter Wassef. Any questions you’d like to ask a real human being? Call Mira Fouad, who runs Serve to Learn, at 703-641-8910.

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn’t afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don’t have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.