Category Archives: Morocco

Late Night with Random Thoughts (#2)

It’s 12:34. I can’t fall asleep. My body is exhausted but my mind is in midday stride. I have a test tomorrow that I need to study for but I can’t concentrate on the material so I find myself delivering my thoughts to you.

Just finished reading a book called Tribes by Seth Godin. It’s all about leadership and it’s importance in today’s world of movements and tribes (groups united by a single vision/motive/product). Really enjoyed it and got a lot from it. Need another good read now.

Sometimes I get behind on stuff and it overwhelmes me. It happens with schoolwork. Today, it happened with my room. I was supposed to clean it (we just moved into a new house and are in the process of unpacking boxes) but I didn’t know where to put anything so I just didn’t do anything for awhile. After some time of doing nothing, I felt behind and overwhelmed. My mom gave me some practical/obvious tips and You gave me some much needed encouragement. I was able to get a lot done. I hate being immobilized.

Regarding the new home, it is quite amazing and fits our needs perfectly. It is a lot smaller than our previous behemoth of a house but I like that very much. It forces us to be closer as a family. We can no longer all go into separate corners of the house (all the kids rooms are about five feet away from each other). We have a huge (by East Valley, Arizona standards) backyard with a pool and patio with fireplace. And we have numerous parks and fields in our neighborhood. I love it. Thank You so much!

When someone encourages me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I want to give other people that feeling.

Sometime soon, I need to apply to college.

Packers. Ouch! Losing to the previously winless Bucs? They only had to go about ten yards everytime they touched the ball. Our offensive line is stinky.

I’ve been listening to Switchfoot’s new album Hello Hurricane and it is really good. Sound is rocking, anthemic, and ambient. Lyrics are full of hope in the hard times. Really, really like this album!

Wondering, if I had the chance to go back to either Morocco or Rwanda, where would I choose?

Goodnight. I hope I dream about freedom.

Morocco Highlight Film

Here are some of the best clips from my flip that tell a pretty good story of our journey.

Nate

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.

wall

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!!!

An Ending… A Beginning

An end of a trip, but the beginning of another journey.

An end to a foreign experience, but the beginning of feeling foriegn back home.

An end to being special, but the beginning of being ordinary with a special heart for God and for people.

An end to being stared at, but the beginning of looking at people and the world through different eyes.

An end to simple living, but the beginning of a different lifestyle.

An end to crowded housing, but the beginning of a bigger worldview.

An end to eating strange food, but the beginning of friendships with strangers and internationals in your midst.

[these are not my words but they speak from my heart]

Tomorrow is go time!

Tomorrow morning I leave with five other guys, including my Dad, to go to Morocco. We will be there for about two weeks. During our time in the country, we will be doing lots of manual labor/renovation stuff for some rehabilitation centers, traveling, meeting with people, living life, hanging out, and in general loving people. It’s going to be a great trip and the guys I’m going with are some of the greatest guys I know. Three of them go to school with me and we are practically already family. The other guy is a college student from Missouri who went to Lebanon with my Dad a few years back. He stayed with us last night and we’ve already hit it off. I probably won’t write anything while we’re there but I’ll take some videos with my new Flip camcorder. So when I get back hopefully I’ll have videos, photos, and much to write about. We all would appreciate your prayers for this trip and that God would move in powerful and mysterious ways while we’re in Morocco. Thanks so much!!!

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The Power of Preparation

Next Wednesday, I leave for Morocco with my Dad and some of my closest friends. It’s gonna be a great experience no matter what happens. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to prepare and plan for it. I haven’t started getting things together or anything like that but I have been praying and reading and hanging out with the guys I’m going with. 

Usually, when I go on a trip like this, I just go. I don’t really prepare myself that much, I just jump in. Now part of that is because I usually go with a lot people that either live far away or that I don’t know. Another part of it, though, is that I usually don’t function that way. I just go into things and see what happens.

This trip is different though. We’ve already had a couple of meetings to discuss the trip. We’ve prayed together and spent a lot of time together focusing on the trip. It’s been really cool. I really do think it’s a good idea to go to God and ask Him to prepare the way. Ask Him to give people dreams and to open their hears for what is to come. I really do think it makes a difference.

We have another meeting tonight and I hope that it proves to be fruitful!

Muslims, Christians, and Jesus

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In preparation for my trip to Morocco, I’ve received a lot of reading material regarding Muslims and overseas work and stuff like that. I haven’t really read much of it but I did read a book that is not on the “required reading” list by Carl Medearis called Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. The Medearis’ are family friends and Carl and my Dad are pretty close. Though I’ve never actually met Carl, I feel like I know him farely well because I’ve listened to him talk numerous times. The Medearis’ lived in Beirut, Lebanon for twelve years trying to follow Jesus, all the while collecting many incredible stories.

Carl is one of the most intriguing story tellers I’ve ever listened to. I’ve heard his stories over and over again and they haven’t gotten old yet. He is all about trying to follow Jesus. Carl is not the smartest or coolest person I’ve ever seen but it doesn’t matter because with him it’s all about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. Jesus is the answer, not the cliche.

Carl is a refreshing breeze on top of everything that is wrong with the religion of Christianity. Instead of reading biblical texts, he tells stories from his own life that illuminate truth. Instead of trying to convert people to another religion, he builds relationships focused on Jesus and lets God do what He does. Instead of defending his faith with sound theological answers, he speaks to the heart.

The book is kind of an introductory course into the world of Islam. Living in the Middle-East for twelve years has given Carl incredible insight into the religion of Islam and the people it includes. Instead of highlighting the differences between Christianity and Islam, he focuses on the things the two have in common. Namely Jesus (surprise right?) Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet of God (Allah) and that he was sinless, righteous, rose from the dead, was aided by the Holy Spirit, was God’s preferred messenger, was near to God, was blessed, performed miracles, had the title Christ, and is God’s word. God gave Jesus the New Testament, in which is guidance and light. God taught Jesus the Bible and wisdom. All of that is in the Qur’an. WOW!!!

So with all that in mind, why would a Christian (“little Christ”, someone who follows Jesus of Nazareth) skip right to the end of the story when talking to a Muslim (“one who is submitted to God”, someone who respects Jesus very much but does not believe He is God). Why not just talk about Jesus’ life and His teachings and build a relationship on that.

While this book definitely focuses on relationships between Muslims and Christians, it has a message that all Christians need to hear no matter who they have relationships with. Take a time out from the religion of Christianity and discover who Jesus really was and really is. You might be surprised at what you find but you won’t be dissapointed. I don’t think that was the lone message or even the main message of the book but it’s what I remember. If you have the chance, definitely check it out for yourself.