Dispatches: Morocco 2017
Morocco Trek 2017
By Gary Fallesen
Climbing For Christ
Saturday, March 11
Team Morocco 2017: (left to right) Missy, Gary, Kevin and Kris.
The team went in four directions, marking the end of this short-term trip. We left behind believers who were quizzed about and encouraged to share what they have received with others. Some are busy doing so.
One brother, speaking of those he claimed were now followers, was asked how many had counted the cost. He thought for a few moments and then said: “Five.”
Kris remarked that it took 10 years for this one man to believe and in eight months he has led five others to faith. This is God at work. We have been privileged to join in this remarkable work.
Friday, March 10
We said our goodbyes to an old friend and traveled out of the mountains and back to the city. Our friend asked: “Please remember me.” How could I forget a Berber such as him? He is a brother so full of joy and shining a special light in the darkness of these mountains and this country. We will see our friend again - on another trek or in heaven. For that I am thankful.
Time for Missy, Kevin and me to return to respective homes. Kris will stay on to continue his reunion tour. Our prayers are with him and all of those he and Kevin blessedly introduced us to during three treks here. We remain obedient to God's calling and await further instructions. For HIS glory - always.
Thursday, March 9
Our host went to work building a house and left our team for the day. The hope had been to go with him to another village to visit some fellow believers. Instead we spent the day reading and relaxing in the sun. We visited the house project at the end of the day and then enjoyed dinner and multiple teas with our brother before praying for and with him.
Wednesday, March 8
Time limitations required us to catch a ride from one valley across several mountains into another valley. Another of Kris’s friends drove up to provide transport, turning a 2-to-3-day trek into a three-hour 4WD ride.
There are roads to many of the villages that once were inaccessible. “It’s not remote,” Kris said, when discussing changes he saw during his many years here. “Anyone can get up here. It’s just time consuming.”
It makes our next move clear. Praise God.
We enjoyed a reunion with a local believer who is hosting us for the third time. We are spending our last nights in the mountains with this brother and his family.
Tuesday, March 7
We hiked one mile across the valley to visit a woman and daughter we’d stayed with previously. The woman seems prepared to believe, but as with so many individuals we have encountered in so many places she is not ready to take the most important step. It is sad. Sometimes the reason is fear and isolation – knowing of no other believers in a place where everyone worships a different religion. We pray that God’s love overwhelms this fear.
From that small village we hiked another couple miles up to the high end of the valley. We also stayed here in 2015. The man of the house was the first to believe in this valley, but he’s never been encouraging or inviting to others. His attitude is much better this time; in fact his wife and a daughter-in-law joined us for dinner, which is unusual. We are spending the night with his family.
Monday, March 6, 2017
At the top of a mountain pass.
It was a big day of trekking from the one village we visited Sunday across one pass and over another hill, covering 10 miles, to the next village on our itinerary. This host is a shopkeeper who was among a handful of believers in this particular valley. We were encouraged to hear he’s been meeting with a brother in the city for discipleship.
Sunday, March 5
We drove 50 miles into the mountains (about four hours by bus and van) and then hiked nearly three miles in an hour to our first village. We are starting where we finished in 2015. Kris arrived a few hours after us, driven in by three friends who picked him up at the airport. The entire team spent the evening with a family whose believing father is in a hospital in Marrakech for surgery. The women in the group shared with his 20-year-old daughter, also a follower. They then led us in prayer for the ailing father.
Father during our visit in 2015.
Saturday, March 4
At the market in Marrakech.
The world passes here in the same way it passes at home: briskly, full of chatter, often with laughter. The Muslim world looks no different than the one we come from, albeit with more head coverings for the women. But in the busy-ness of Marrakech, I could not stop thinking about final destinations: when the movement ceases, the noise stops, and the laughter ends. Where does this world lead? How many of these beautiful people crowding around me in the market, the public square, the coffee shop are going to hell?
Statistics don’t bode well for the population here: 99.6 percent Muslim.
We spent the day meeting up with and making friends, several of whom work in Morocco. They, like us, are seeking to de-populate hell – one soul at a time. That’s what we’re called to do.
I’ve been reading a brother in Christ’s writings. Today I read, “Satan strives to deny entire people groups and nations access to Jesus. ... Choosing Jesus as Lord and Savior and then sharing His love and grace with others is the clearest way to stand against and oppose evil.”
It is our responsibility to cross the street and cross the oceans. Matthew 28:19 is clear. As our brother wrote: “The church cannot be the church unless it is going and making disciples.”
If we are to be busy may it be as a true body of Christ.
Friday, March 3
Flying into North Africa over coast of Morocco.
Three of us left North America from different places Thursday (with the fourth to follow) and connected overseas today. Kevin and I met in Amsterdam and flew to Marrakech, where Missy was waiting for us. Kris will catch up with us in the mountains in two days when we begin our trek. The team is coming together for whatever God has in store for us.
Thursday, March 2
Looking out over a remote stretch in the Atlas Mountains and seeking God’s direction. (Photo by Adrianne Michele, Morocco Trek 2015)
Our four-person team – consisting of Kevin, Kris, Missy and me – begins traveling today. Our goal is to visit the handful of Berber who have come to Christ as we are trekking in the Atlas Mountains. As a people group these Berber are 99.99-percent Muslim, and 99.6 percent of Morocco’s nearly 35 million people follow Islam. Climbing For Christ is seeking God’s direction for the work to be done there. Are we being called to “fill the void” left by the departure of our brothers?
Please pray for this team, our time together, and the fulfillment of God’s will for our expedition to Morocco.