By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
“The way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). More workers are needed to deliver the Good News on trails like these in the High Atlas Mountains.
Thursday, April 25
Brandy Everts and I have returned to North America, knowing, of course, that this is not our home and that our mission is not complete. We will continue to GO to the ends of the earth, including Morocco, until the work is finished.
Michael Heitland left Morocco Wednesday morning, bound for South Africa and some work with his Equipping Saints For Ministry organization.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” – Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)
Wednesday, April 24
We had a final team dinner this evening and discussed how God might use us here in the future. Sean and Map’s Edge are extremely pleased with what was accomplished on this trip. We expressed a desire to continue sending workers and likely will look at the next two trekking seasons – Oct. 15-Dec. 15, 2013 and Feb. 1-June 1, 2014 – to prayerfully provide laborers to serve in the High Atlas Mountains. Specific dates will be determined in the coming weeks. Anyone interested in serving should email info@ClimbingForChrist.org for more information about GO-ing to reach one of the largest unreached populations in the world.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14 (ESV)
Tuesday, April 23
Sean, left, on a trail with one of our village hosts.
Another of our goals when we arrived in Morocco was to encourage a brother. We have been blessed to share time and serve alongside Sean, who has worked here since 2010. “This trip has reminded me of all the reasons I came here and has given me an increased passion for being here,” Sean said, adding that he hopes to see us send more teams to trek the High Atlas Mountains. Amen to that! “Lord willing I will stay here and lead those teams,” Sean said.
More teams will come as we continue to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send willing servants into this field.
Monday, April 22
We trekked throughout the day, following an ever-widening mountain stream down the valley, all the way back to the village we started in. It was 10 to 12 miles of hiking, descending nearly 3,000 vertical feet, and required countless stream crossings. We finished by cutting through a slot canyon, and then walking down a road to get a ride back to Marrakech.
The team hiking out of the valley through a slot canyon
The trek was finished as we accomplished what we came to do: finding a circular route up and down three valleys and identifying friendly homes in strategic villages so future teams may continue and increase the work here. We praise God for what He has accomplished with us the past six days.
We still have some time to pray, plan and prepare for the future here in North Africa. But our visit in the High Atlas Mountains has been fruitful and filled with joy.
"...therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:37 (ESV)
Sunday, April 21
The home we stayed in Saturday night will be inviting for future visits. It was a very welcoming place. The man of the house led us on the trail out of his village, showing us where to go to get to the next mountain pass. We climbed more than 1,000 vertical feet before dropping down into our third valley. We entered our eighth village and were taken to the house where we planned to stay for the fifth night of the trek.
Sean and his co-worker had visited a few times before and the time was ripe for more sharing. The Jesus Film was played on our iPad under the moon and stars with the outline of a mountain behind us. God created those hills just as He created the man (and other family members) with whom we were blessed to share. The man is interested in following this Jesus whose way is so different from the religion that has imprisoned most of this nation.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32 (NIV)
Saturday, April 20
We prayed under the shade of a walnut tree before entering another village. This was our second straight day to reach our hoped-for destination with no set place to stay. Last night and tonight were crucial to the exploration of this part of the High Atlas Mountains for future teams to return.
Once a stay has been made we are always welcome back at the house and, as a result, have made an inroad into the family and community. It is the first step in building relationships.
As on Friday, God immediately answered our prayer when we reached the village. We were beckoned by the man of the house and invited to tea. That was our invitation to stay the night.
We’d left our Friday night home and climbed about 1,000 vertical feet, hiking a few hours to a path from one valley into the next. Identifying this route was another important goal for future work here. We then descended 1,000 feet and hiked across the hot afternoon moonscape to this next stop, praising God for the door He would open and do His work.
Friday, April 19
The house we stayed at Thursday night will be a good overnight stop for future teams coming to this area. The family is very friendly and hospitable. In conversation, Sean mentioned “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” to the man of the house. He did not understand because he’d never heard of Jesus.
That’s what an unreached person looks like. And every village we enter is full of them.
After setting out this morning and descending 400 vertical feet to follow a torrid stream, which required multiple crossings, we climbed back up to another village located at 6,000 feet. As we entered they were chanting the Koran over the village mosque’s loud speakers. The Muslims here pray five times a day and on Friday listen to chants from the Koran, but those chants never mention even the Jesus they call a prophet. Many know nothing about Him, let alone that He is Lord and Savior.
We continue to try to engage people, displaying His love for them, and prayerfully preparing the way for others to come and spread the Word.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” – John 14:6 (NIV)
Thursday, April 18
We trekked from the first village to the fifth, stopping for food and drink, and we were welcomed into a house in the second village. This is how the work is done here: walking into villages, praying to be invited to stop or stay.
A man in the second village offered us mint tea, walnuts and almonds grown here, and buttery (or oily) rice. These are all staples. As are the bread and tajine, eaten every day. After stopping, we continued to hike for another three hours to a house in the fifth village, where we were invited to stay.
In all, we were on the trail for five hours, full packs on our backs, climbing ever higher. God opens doors, we enter, scouting the area, and prayerfully planting seeds.
“Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.” – Luke 9:4 (NIV)
Wednesday, April 17
We rode out of Marrakech toward the High Atlas Mountains in our trek up a hot, dusty road into the hills. Temperatures were easily in the 90s.
The trek begins.
It was a short day of hiking. We stopped for lunch in the shade of an olive tree stand, did our daily devotions as a team, and continued on to the first village. We located a house that Sean had visited once before, more than a year ago, and we were welcomed in.
Sean and the workers here have made amazing inroads in other parts of this range. Sean, in sharing some recent successes, has said: “What we are seeing right now is unprecedented.” The soil is untouched in the area where we are trekking. There is much ground to cover, much ground to turn.
Tuesday, April 16
We met with Sean and his co-worker here to go over our trek. We are going into a very remote area that is virtually unexplored and totally unreached. As Sean’s co-worker pointed out while showing us a map of a stretch of the High Atlas Mountains where we will be trekking: “There are 3 million people living on this map and most are unreached.” Our co-laborer friend has been working for many years in an adjoining section of these mountains and only recently began seeing fruit. “Where you guys are going is the cutting edge,” he said. We are attempting to reach one of the largest unengaged people in the world. By GO-ing to this place, we are praying that it will open the door for other workers to follow.
“And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” – Luke 10:2 (ESV)
Monday, April 15
Team members from North America arrived in Africa, all flying through Casablanca – with a shout-out to Humphrey Bogart (“Here’s looking at you, kid”). Sean surprised us at the airport, greeting Brandy Everts and me when we arrived mid-day in Marrakech. Michael Heitland joined us in the evening. There is work to be done.
“...that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” – 1 Kings 8:60 (ESV)
Sunday, April 14
The sent ones are en route. C4C Canada coordinator Brandy Everts and I were commissioned at my home church in Rochester, NY before flying out. Pastor Larry Stojkovic read Sean's quote from the Saturday Dispatch (see below), shared Psalm 43, and then prayed for us while 15-20 brothers and sisters laid hands on us.
It was especially moving to hear Pastor Larry read these words from Sean: “One day, in the throne room of heaven, these people (who may hear about Jesus through us) will stand with all the saints and worship God.” Amen!
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” – Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)
Saturday, April 13
Our trekking team is preparing to GO. Brandy Everts, Michael Heitland and I will be joining member “Sean,” who works in Morocco, to explore the High Atlas Mountains. This will be our first trip to Morocco. Here are some of Sean's thoughts on the work being accomplished there:
“The Word of God is taking hold in North Africa and mountainous people are beginning to follow the Messiah. With such great things happening it would be easy to say, 'Let's stay only with these people and help them along.' But there are still thousands of villages that have NEVER heard the Good News about who Jesus is, what He did and why it matters. Map's Edge Ministries is excited to partner with C4C and lead an exploratory trek to find open doors in the mountainous villages in order to share, for the first time ever, with people about the Messiah. One day, in the throne room of heaven, these people will stand with all the saints and worship God. Be a part of God's kingdom coming to earth in their villages!”
Please join us through prayer. Ask for our team to remain healthy and safe as we seek to fulfill His will.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15 (ESV)
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Berber people