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Poor Garbage Man Sets an Example for a Rich Businessman

The city of Cairo has its own unique version of poverty called Garbage City …. Each morning at dawn some seven thousand garbage collectors on horse-carts leave for Cairo, where they collect the garbage left behind by the city's seven million citizens. After their day's work they return to Garbage City, bringing the trash back to their homes, sorting out what's useful …. In Muslim countries there are certain religious restrictions on sifting through refuse, so the inhabitants of Garbage City are either nonreligious or from some Christian heritage …. These are the poorest of the poor—outcasts among outcasts.

In 1972, a young Egyptian businessman lost his wristwatch, valued at roughly $11,000. As you can imagine, it would have been unthinkable to have a valuable timepiece returned by a member of Garbage City. Yet an old garbage man dressed in rags, [found the man's name on the watch] and returned it, saying, "My Christ told me to be honest until death."

Because of the garbage man's act of obedience, the Egyptian businessman later told a reporter, "I didn't know Christ at the time, but I told [the garbage man] that I saw Christ in him. I told [him], 'Because of what you have done and your great example, I will worship the Christ you are worshiping."

The [businessman], true to his word, studied the Bible and grew in his faith. Soon he and his wife began ministering to Egypt's physically and spiritually poor. In 1978, he was ordained by the Coptic Orthodox Church and now leads [a church that meets] outside Garbage City.

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