Magdy Samuel

Magdy Samuel

He Ran Until He Passed Away

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Cor. 9:24

Christ has established for us a new meaning concerning life and death, which has completely changed our perspective on both, and defined them in an entirely different understanding, unlike that which had been engrained in the human mind of old and in contrast to that of the fixed mindset of people around us today.

Had it not been for the stability of this insight in my mind, and the transformation thereof into deep convictions that penetrate my being, controlling my perception and dominating my response towards the surprises of life, I would by no means have the strength to bear this separation, nor would I dare to write about him… my younger brother. I had assumed that it would be he who would write my eulogy, and not vice-versa. Only in the light of this new meaning, I write to you who love him, a few lines, depicting only the outer shell of an exquisite portrait, sketched by the hand of the great Creator - the portrait of my brother’s beautiful life.

The Beginning: 30th December 1965

In the city of Alexandria, on the fifth floor of our family apartment in the Raghab Pasha neighborhood, just hours before this year would say her goodbye; it refused to pass before giving us the most precious gift. This valuable present made 1965 a dear and special year for our family. This happy image is deep in the furrows of my memory, and I would leap in imagination at a glance from my heart's beloved companion, to our home a picture of chaos and clamor, and of my grandmother coming to me, calming me with the promise that she would take me to see my mother whom I had been kept away from since that morning.

My grandma held my hand and led me to my mother, as she lay in bed after the delivery of her darling baby. I will never forget the beautiful, serene smile on my mother’s face as she welcomed me with the news that I now had a beautiful brother to play with me. Drying my tears with her kisses, my mother drew a smile on my face and my heart was made joyful. What wondrous news! A companion and playmate! This was all that the mind of a 4-year-old boy could grasp.

As for the rest of the wonderful news, which my mother didn’t mention at that time, was the fact that he would not only share my toys, but that as the days pass, he would be a friend and partner for life. We would always laugh together, cry together, think together, pray together, and plan together. He would be the keeper of my secrets, the safe companion whose wisdom and advice I would trust. He would be my ministry partner, the one I would feel comfortable serving with. He would be my professional colleague whose capability I completely trust.

And on the 14th of September, 2008 the portrait was finished.

The picture was completed. In the city of Cairo, the final horrific picture was forced upon me, uninvited and inescapable. The picture is dug into the furrows of my memory, it will always be there until I see him again, the picture of our mother releasing a bitter scream of extreme pain as I tell her that her sweetheart is gone.

And between these two pictures, a filmstrip records the story of my companion’s life. It is a lengthy film, though it appears short, as it moves fast and is extremely beautiful.

The existence of my brother on this earth was 42 years, drawn and divided into seven beautiful portraits by the brush of the Great and Wise Artist. And it took Him six years to paint each one.

First Portrait:

Age 0-6, Extraordinary Child

Magdy lived an idyllic childhood his first 6 years in Alexandria. Our mother used to introduce him to all of our relatives and friends as “the calm one.” He was calm in playing, calm in conversation, speaking little and extremely shy in dealing with people. That is all my memories hold of his childhood. But the picture in this stage is characterized by the gaze of his eyes, very deep and very warm, even for a child so young. My mother’s stories reveal an extraordinary child, one possessing a great amount of confidence, and always feeling greatly valued by his father and mother.

Second Portrait

Age 6-12, Excelling Pupil

Our family moved to the city of el-Qusiyya in the governorate of Asiut, and it was there that Magdy began his elementary studies. From his very first year, the marks of intelligence and excellence were clear. I have many memories of him during this stage. I remember how his non-Christian teachers would come to make acquaintance with my parents, coming often to visit, because they were so amazed by Magdy’s character and intelligence. Of course, my father would not allow these opportunities to pass without testifying to them of Salvation and the Great Savior. I also remember very well, the eagerness of my mother and father to remind me of my brother’s effort in studying, in hopes of arousing within me increased enthusiasm for my studies. However, I was just entering the adolescent stage with all of its problems, and was always out of the house and crazy for football. Magdy didn’t mind this constant comparison between him and me, because it was always to his benefit! I can’t remember once that they had to ask him to study, whereas that was their daily request of me! This comparison only encouraged him to work harder to guard this distinctiveness, and without exception, Magdy always took the first place in school those 6 years. on, Magdy always took the first place in school those 6 years.

Third Portrait

Age 12-18, Ardent Adolescent

When Magdy was in the 6th grade, we moved to the city of Der-Mowass in the governorate of Minya. It was there that he spent his teen years, and finished his preparatory and secondary education. It is no exaggeration to say that I have never seen a teenager who was such a delight to his family. While Morris and I were often a source of trouble for our parents, Magdy was not only easy-going and compliant, but he was a constant source of joy; in part, because of his excellence in studies, and in part because of his moral excellence. I remember that during this period, it became customary for our parents to be called to Magdy’s school for the presentation of honors and awards. I’ll never forget one day, when two of Magdy’s friends came over to visit. Magdy was in the 7th grade (1st prep), and they sat together in the reception room. After a short time, my mother found Magdy in his room, sitting on his bed reading a book, while his friends sat outside! Extremely astounded and upset, she asked him, “How could you just leave your friends sitting alone like that?” He replied that they had been using rude words, and he had told them that such words were not to be used in this house, and had gotten up and left them. Between amazement and admiration, mother was forced to awkwardly dismiss his colleagues as Magdy absolutely refused to return to sit with them. During this period, I’ll never forget the fun we would have together in the summers, as Magdy wrote for us a daily magazine. It included light-hearted articles and crossword puzzles made up of Bible words. He would print 4 copies, using carbon paper, and sell them for 2 pennies each… and father required us to buy them in order to encourage Magdy!

Fourth Portrait:

Age 18-24, The Man Who Is A Student

Graduating from High School, Magdy got the best grades in the whole city. As usual, he was unsurpassed as the top student in his school, and was accepted into the Medical University in Minya. At this time I was studying at the Medical University in Alexandria, and later Morris was in Pharmaceutical University, also in Alexandria, and Nivine was in Commerce University of Asiut. Of course this was a heavy financial burden for our parents. I remember well, how Magdy embraced his early manhood, sharing a great feeling of responsibility with our father. He was extremely demanding of himself, in order to lighten the load on our parents, to the degree that our father would fight with him to spend on himself. Father trusted Magdy’s good judgment, and would send him to the city of Port Said each year, to buy all of our clothes for us. The most important thing that distinguishes this period is the fact that after a time of indifference when he first entered university, Magdy returned to his Lord. Furthermore, Magdy began to serve the Lord with all his energy and effort and loyalty. I will never forget the voice of my father on the telephone one night, full of “Hallelujahs,” as he called to report, “We just now came back from the meeting and Magdy is the one who gave the sermon! It was a wonderful service and you need to come and see with your own eyes, and hear with your own ears!” I did indeed travel to Der-Mowass, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him standing there in front of the people, speaking the Word of God with freedom and abandon, with concentration and impact! My shy little brother who found it painfully difficult to simply greet people! I immediately felt that this was the grace of God, evidence of the faithfulness of His Divine work in him.

Fifth Portrait:

Age 24-30, Diligent Doctor

This was the most difficult period of Magdy’s life, beginning with the bitterest trial we would face, until later when we would be crushed by his own departure. It was the departure of our father, just before Magdy was to graduate. On that last night we took turns staying up by our father’s side. Magdy got up at 3:00am, and insisted that I go to bed and rest awhile. After one hour had passed, Magdy came to me in his accustomed quietness and steadiness: “Come, I don’t know what happened to Dad.” Immediately, I was up and running to our father. He had left his “earthly tent” to take up citizenship in heaven with the Lord. I found Magdy crying in my embrace, saying, “He didn’t give us a chance to honor him. He lived and served us, and now that the time has come for us to honor him, our dear one has left us.” Magdy spent a year working in a village of Der-Mowass, suffering much from the isolation and exertion there. But to this day, the people there still remember his hard work and faithfulness. At this time I had finished my high studies in Psychiatry, and I urged him to choose that specialization as well. He reluctantly agreed, however, he would continuously question himself, unsure that he would make a good psychiatrist. He went to Cairo, and I saw with my own eyes, the extent of his struggle, suffering and striving to his utmost. Without exaggeration, I can say that if any young person exerted even half of the effort Magdy did, they would attain excellence in all their work. Struggling, striving, doing his utmost in his work, in his studies, in public hospital, in private hospitals, with paying patients and charity cases - all which provided experience and skill. All of this was accomplished without neglecting the ministry of the Word, realizing that it was during this period that we began together many series of conferences which required of him huge efforts in preparation.

Sixth Portrait:

Age 30-36, Distinguished Minister

This period could be described as the joyful harvest. Magdy’s name began to be recognized, famed as a distinguished psychiatrist, trustworthy and faithful. He began his work with the Caritas organization and his reputation grew in the general field of human development, working with many organizations and foundations, both Egyptian and International. He was honored by the United Nations for his achievements in the area of human development. His private clinic was a huge success and he became a member of the “American Psychiatric Association.” But most importantly, his ministry and talents in preaching the Word crystallized and matured. Arabic-speaking congregations worldwide felt a need for his service. Magdy was exceedingly successful and devoted to giving the necessary attention to both his work as a doctor and his service as a minister of the Word.

Seventh Portrait:

Age 36-42, Ideal Husband

In October 2002 the Lord honored Magdy, compensating him generously with a virtuous wife who loved him with all of her heart. She lived for him, devoted and dedicated to him. He was her mission and ministry. Her undertaking and enterprise was serving him, flooding him with her feelings, providing all that he needed to be comfortable in their home. She arranged his appointments, prepared his lectures, and kept him well fed and clothed. Yes, she was truly his help-mate, prepared for him, by the God of all grace. As for him, and all that he meant to her, I will leave that up to her.


  • In 1962, my father and mother moved to a distant village in Upper Egypt, to serve the Lord who loved them. Mother was still quite young at the time, and I was only 6 months old. While they were there, the Lord gave them a beautiful baby boy, and they gave him the name Magdy. After 7 months, the child became sick and died, as there was no doctor or cure available in the village at that time. After several months, the Lord blessed them with another beautiful baby boy, whom they named Morris. But 11 months later, he too became sick and joined his brother for the same reasons. My mother’s heart was painfully broken, and she and my father returned again to Alexandria, with bleeding hearts and tearful eyes. But her faith in the goodness of God was not shaken, not even by a hair. My mother’s prayer was that the Lord would compensate her with two more boys.… two boys that would belong to Him and serve Him. A few months after their return to Alexandria, the Lord responded to her request. Showing her confidence in the Lord, that this was indeed his compensation, she named the boy Magdy. Two years later, she delivered another son, whom she named Morris, and her desire was fulfilled, that the boys would belong to the Lord and serve Him.
  • During the engagement party for Hala and Magdy, I told Hala that Magdy was one who was always running in life. And his running is so fast, that you will find yourself out of breath running after him. My brother lived running, and he departed running. I don’t believe that this was just a coincidence.
  • Magdy announced his departure to many before he left and when he departed, the seventh portrait was completed. And the reason and timing of his departure was not because of illness or a mistaken doctor. The Artist finished his work. The vessel was listening: “You shall call and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hand.” (Job 14:14). And Magdy soared to meet his Master, to join with all those whom the Potter has refined and completed his work in them, that they might forever display the greatness of His wisdom and His grace.
  • In Magdy’s farewell service, the Wise and Loving Potter was adding His finishing touches to the final portrait. We, his family, who lived the details of this terrifying event, do declare and witness that the hand of the Lord arranged everything, and was in control of everything, and His Wise hand did not neglect the smallest details or the largest, in this time when our thoughts and will were paralyzed. The Lord was indeed present and firmly in control of this incident and his passing.
  • It was not coincidence that my parents gave him the name “Magdy” (meaning: My glory). Of course, “My” glory was not intended to refer to my mother nor to my father. But it was their declaration before the Lord, for whose glory alone Magdy lived all of his life. As if the Lord is pointing to Magdy, saying of him, “That person is for My glory.”

Closing Words

The Lord has caused us to understand that true death is not at all what people call “death.”

How can we call “death” that by which we are unburdened from this earthly tent of bones and flesh, which is doomed to death and decay, that we might be freed to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven?!

How can we call “death” that by which the soul is released from the shackles of flesh and blood, to rush freely, joyfully to Jesus?!

How can we call “death” that by which the saint puts down his traveling staff to end his earthly estrangement and take up citizenship with his Master in heaven?! No! Never! It is impossible for all of this beauty and magnificence to be called “death.” Indeed, the Bible calls it departure and habitation.

No matter the cause for this earthly, temporary body to undergo this operation, the Master does not call it “death,” rather “sleep!” So the soul rushes in joy and the body lies down in peace!

Magdy did not die. Magdy is in Glory with his Master, and the Glory of His Master continues to shine through Magdy here and now.