Egypt’s People ‘Taught Me the Definition of Gratefulness’ — Magy Mekhail Reflects on Serve to Learn

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Magy Mekhail takes a perfect selfie with her class and Abouna Maximos.

Dear Friends,
I’ve traveled all over Egypt, but every time I visit an Upper Egyptian village I’m still amazed at the simplicity, generosity, and hospitality I find there. So in the interview below, when Serve to Learn volunteer Magy Mekhail says she learned the “definition of gratefulness” from the people of Matay in Upper Egypt, I believe her. Serve to Learn is a three-week service trip in Egypt where you teach, play, and love the world’s greatest kids! Come to Egypt and find out what these kids can teach you. Applications for the Jan. 22 – Feb. 13 trip are being accepted until Nov. 15.
— Nermien

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For you, what was the most moving or life-changing part of Serve to Learn?

How grateful people are. In the midst of all their hardships and struggles they are so thankful and hospitable. They just want to invite us in and feed us because they are so happy we visited — they taught me the definition of gratefulness.

Did Serve to Learn deepen your understanding of Egypt and your roots? 

Yes, I understood the culture better, why people act a certain way. It just added to my Coptic pride :)

Given the chance, what would you have done more of during the program?

I would have done more home visits and visited my kids (from my class) more than once.

What advice would you give anyone considering applying for Serve to Learn?

Talk with your partner and plan materials ahead of time. Don’t worry about accommodations or comfort or whatever because all that doesn’t matter when you are with your kids.

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Interested in learning more about Serve to Learn? Check out our video, which gives a snapshot of the program! 

If this blog makes you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are those of Marianne SawiresJessica HannaJessica AyobPheobe, and Ryan. If that’s not enough, you can read Serve to Learn  interviews with ToniJohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and MirelleYou may also enjoy these video interviews with NadinePeter, and Mary.  

Any questions you’d like to ask a real human being? Call or email Mira Fouad, who runs Serve to Learn, at 703-641-8910 or at mfouad@copticorphans.org

‘I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me’ — Andero Morgos Enters 10K London Run for Coptic Orphans!

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Dear Friends,
It’s always a huge source of encouragement when someone spontaneously dedicates a sponsored run or similar event to Coptic Orphans. So it was great to hear from Andero Morgos, our friend in the UK, that he was taking part in the Nov. 15 Vitality WestRun London 10k. We’re grateful for his love for the children of Egypt… and I managed to catch up with him for the interview below!
— Nermien

PS Please support Andero’s commitment to the kids by making a contribution to his Indiegogo campaign!

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What convinced you to run the Vitality WestRun London 10k in support of Coptic Orphans?

I have previously done four 5k, a 10k and a 1-half marathon run for local charities and one major charity being Cancer Research UK. At the moment the plan is to run alone, but I’m trying to get friends involved as I previously have done.

How long have you been training for this event, and how?

I run regularly and always try and keep fit but have been pushing myself in the last 3-4 weeks in training for this run and to keep up with my previous finishing times.

What experiences have you had in Egypt or elsewhere that make you want to connect your life with the lives of kids in Egypt?

I’ve seen and heard of a lot of the work that Coptic Orphans does and have always been interested in serving. I have done this before in Kenya and in Egypt with a charity that is based in my church at St. Mary and St. Abraam Orthodox Church in Brighton, England called A.C.T.I.O.N ( “Act Charitably Towards Incapable Other Nations”) and decided by the Grace of God I’d like to support this charity in a way that I can and enjoy and that is by dedicating a sponsored run to this charity.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing what you’re doing?

GO FOR IT! Don’t hesitate and push yourself to do it! Easier said than done, but going by the verse which said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” never let anyone hold you back or make you doubt your abilities. It could be your first run or one in many but always keep the thought that you are doing this for a purpose and as a service to people who aren’t as fortunate you.
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Egypt’s Kids, Music & ‘Pure Joy’ — Crestin Andrews Recalls Serve to Learn

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Crestin and her teaching partner Nancy taking a picture with their students in between classes.

Dear Friends,
This “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” entry is one of my favorites because it shows how Serve to Learn gives volunteers opportunities to use their talents to play with, empower, and love the world’s greatest kids! Play an instrument? Draw? Tell funny jokes? Come share the gifts God has given to you with the kids of Egypt. Applications for the Jan. 22 – Feb. 13 Serve to Learn trip are now available and are due by Nov. 15. For those of you who have never heard of Serve to Learn, it’s three weeks of service in Upper Egypt teaching English. You’ll offer the kids respect, hope, and love—and they will love you, and transform you. Now, here is Crestin Andrews on how she used her gift of music to connect with her kids.
— Nermien

Who’s in this photo?

Me, my partner Nancy, and my kids, David, Mina, and Mark (I tried so hard not to pick favorites… but I failed!).

Where was it taken?

In the classroom after we did “taraneem” (spiritual songs) in class that morning.

What’s happening in the photo?

They were all just so excited about the guitar and everyone wanted to take a picture with it.

How did you feel when it was taken?

Pure joy. I was so excited that they loved music and I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Why do you want to remember this moment?

Each of the kids in this picture touched me in a very specific and unique way.

If you could help people understand one thing with this photo, what would it be?

You never know what it is about you that will resonate with these kids. I had music, and it was such an incredible feeling to share this with them.

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Interested in learning more about Serve to Learn? Check out our page and video, which gives a snapshot of the program! 

If this “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” blog makes you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are those of Nancy GwanyMarianne SawiresJessica HannaJessica AyobPheobe, and Ryan. If that’s not enough, you can read Serve to Learn  interviews with ToniJohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle.

You may also enjoy these video interviews with NadinePeter and Mary.  Any questions you’d like to ask a real human being? Call or email Mira Fouad, who runs Serve to Learn, at 703-641-8910 or mfouad@copticorphans.org