Escape to the City

Did you know that over half of the people in the world today live in cities? Our two final summer-season book reviews are about cities.  The first is very inspiring and the second is very challenging.  I hope you get a chance to escape to the city this summer, even if only a virtual trip.

From Bonnie Gouge, who serves as Regional Director for South America and Iberia along with her husband Ron

Mama Maggie: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Mission to Love the Forgotten Children of Egypt’s Garbage Slums by Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn


This is an excellent book.  It is an easy read, yet full of opportunities to learn and be challenged in your thinking.  The book is the authorized biography of Maggie Cobran, who was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize for her work in the dumps of Cairo.  Maggie grew up in a privileged home in Cairo, Egypt, attended the university, and married.  While living an affluent life, her heart was drawn to the poor and downcast who lived in the garbage dumps in Cairo.  Soon, Maggie was visiting the “garbage villages” in the dump and realized that the call to help the poor was meant for her.  The story of her journey and her faith is inspiring.  From a visit to the garbage dump to the development of  a huge ministry, Maggie, the woman in white, has given leadership and has passionately loved those in her care.

Mama Maggie helped me catch a glimpse of Egyptian life and culture as well as reminded me to open my eyes and my heart to the needs of those around me.  It is a great story and well worth your time.


From Joy Phillips, WGM’s Compassionate Ministries Coordinator

To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams


Have you ever worn out a highlighter? Be sure and have a fresh one before starting this book. This 200 page read may not look like summer reading on the surface but I found it quite compelling. As I’ve been mulling over WGM’s central ministry focus – wholistic transformation – this book resonated with me in a big way. I’ve been in conferences that talked about the urbanization of our world and I’ve read the stats and seen the infographics but I’ve still been left with the question – what do we do about the growing urbanization of the world?

This book gives clear-cut direction for how your church can join with other churches, and even community and business groups, to make a better community or to put it another way – to facilitate the coming of His Kingdom here on earth.

So many good quotes like, “We settled for conversion rather than transformation,” said Layo Lieva from San Salvador. “We don’t need to do it better, we need to do it different. I’m not sure we need any more church plants, if they are like the ones we have now. What we need is a different kind of church.”

This book is filled with great diagrams that help the reader grasp the concepts they are putting forth. There’s also a great list of additional resources at the end of the book to further help you in your quest to see your city transformed.

I’ll close with a quote from the forward. “On a macro scale, this view of church means that every community should be better if the church gets the mission right. The scorecard can no longer be about how well our individual congregations are doing. The condition of our communities is the scorecard on how well the church is doing at being the people of God.” Reggie McNeal

That’s challenging!


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