Because I did not write about my trip to Morocco in a timely manner and because it is becoming increasingly hard to find time to write, I will, whenever possible, jot down a quick story or two. Our two weeks of adventure were filled with so many great stories. But what good are they if they are forgotten. I want/need to tell these stories because they are so meaningful to me.
The first story I’d like to tell is that of Nate.
We spent three days working at a Physical Rehab Center in the city of Nador. We painted a large wall, opposite the main building, white in order that future teams can make a mural for the children to look at. Working on the wall was a blast and an awesome way to serve like Jesus. It was hard and long and tiring and hot and sometimes gross and dirty but it was so worth it. It was the correlation between salvation and love. We didn’t do it because we wanted to check a box. We didn’t do it because we felt like we were better than these people. We didn’t do it out of religious obligation (although in one sense I think it could be considered the purest form of religion). We served because Jesus came to serve. We loved because Jesus first loved us. It was quite amazing to be a part of something so profound and yet so simple.
So what does all that have to do with Nate?
On the morning of the first day, while we were working, a black man walked by the building. You may not think that significant, especially since we were in Africa, but in that part of the continent there really aren’t many black people. The guy stopped by, interested in what a bunch of white guys were doing painting a wall in the middle of Arab/Berber Morocco. Steve, the guy who coordinated our trip and has lived in the area for about 25 years (also one of the most vibrant followers of Jesus I’ve ever met), started talking with him and asking him questions about his life. We gathered around and took it all in. His name was Nate. He was a refugee from Nigeria, staying in a camp called Gurugu up in the mountains with other refugees from many other war-torn, poverty-stricken countries. They are all trying to get into Europe in order to make a new life for themselves as well as their families. Steve asked him if he was a Muslim and he said “No, Jesus is my King”. Steve then asked if we could pray for him and he said yes wholeheartedly. Steve prayed and we all agreed with the words being lifted up. It was an incredible moment. Once it was over, we gave him some water and he went on his way. We thought that was it and that we’d never see the guy again. On the third day, he came back. He wanted us to pray for him again so we did. Only this time people were watching. The staff from the center (some of whom are followers of Jesus, most of whom are not) was out their along with some others. We had another great time talking with our King and then he was gone again. When we looked around and noticed the other people around us, we saw tears in some of their eyes. It was awkward beauty at its finest. Later, during our trip, Steve informed us that one of the women that worked at the center was saying how amazing it was that we could go to our God without horrible guilt and shame. It sure is amazing. Not enough can be said about that. It was so crazy how God used Nate in such a seemingly random way that could have such huge repercussions in the long run. Father, please keep nurturing the discussions that have come from and will keep coming from this amazing encounter. I don’t know where Nate is now. Maybe he’s with his King. If the refugees are caught crossing the border, they are either sent to no-man’s land or killed. If he is still alive, Father please keep doing crazy things through his life. Thank you so much for Nate!!!