(Later when I saw this picture I had to wonder when they found this roadway so deserted.) Today as we drive the wavy, winding roads, traffic is heavy – coming and going. So many cars, buses, motorcycles, mopeds and loaded trucks (you would have to see to believe it) on this mountainous road. Everyone is in a hurry!
Andy expertly drives through the maze. Time and time again I hold my breath as drivers pass on hairpin curves and veer into our lane. At the last mega second the car in front of us moves out of the middle of the road, and the angels God has assigned to us go into action – the head-on crash is avoided. Whew! Thank God for hearing Lane’s prayer!
David, the front seat passenger gets many thrills and he even offers to drive. In the back seat Lane, Clare and I pray, laugh, offer praise and thanksgiving – and pray again. Everyone is growing more intimately acquainted with many hours of van time.
Everywhere we see grime and dust. Just when you think it can’t get worse, the dust increases. The swirling airwaves take on a hazy color – even Andy’s van is with a strange hue. There’s so much to see. On the edge of the desert I am enthralled with rugged mountains, even a snow-topped mountain, and learn later to my surprise that this desert is only 10% sand. Surrounded by spectacular vistas we drive through this non-descript town to the modern Kasbah, a former private residence, where we pull into a parking lot filled with tour buses.
Checking in I am amazed to hear the desk clerk speaking English, Spanish, French, German or Arabic as the need arises! We decide that we are handicapped with mastery of only one language. (Thank God, Andy and Lane speak English and Spanish; they even understand a little French.) Clutching our room keys we climb the stairs to the second floor where a man is kneeling on the rug provided by the Hotel for one of his daily prayers. The housekeepers smilingly nod to us. (I wonder how long it’s been since I have actually knelt before the Lord, my God, which I was taught to do as a young child. Maybe we have thrown away those acts of reverence in favor of “freedom.”)
In my room I open the curtains and view the desert place where sparse vegetation is scattered among the rocks. I would love to hear where they’ve been and where they’re going; the sheep herders carrying their staffs, the man in his long robe leading his camel, and another man with his roped donkey laden with packs laden . I lift my eyes unto the mountains, which create a backdrop for these passersby and wonder if they ever think about the Creator of the mountains and dessert places where they walk and sleep under the stars.
I pray that they will look beyond the hills to the One who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, marked off the heavens with a [nine-inch] span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance (Isaiah 40:12 AMP). When they meet Him they will come to know the Good Shepherd and then they will understand.
On the drive to this town I saw fertile areas where olive trees, dates and other fruits grow, but now the terrain is mostly rock and dirt with a few flower gardens thrown in. Standing there at the window I remember that Jesus said if we don’t praise Him the rocks will cry out! There is an abundance of rocks, mountains of rocks.
The door opens and we are drawn inside. The captivating smile is just as I remembered; her effervescent personality as welcoming and her hug as intimate as the first time I met her.. There are introductions all around. Everyone falls in love with this charismatic lady whose face is radiant with the love of the Lord; the light in her eyes rejoices the heart of others. She and her husband compliment one another; they are a delightful couple!
No one has to remind us to take off our shoes; we are becoming accustomed to this Moroccan practice, especially here. Who would want to leave dirty footprints in this home of love and peace? We are learning to take warm socks with us; the marble and tile floors are cold.
Entering the salon we arrange ourselves on the traditional Moroccan couches. Tea is served, and the conversation is lively and comfortable; it’s as though everyone has known each other for a long time. I don’t think that I can eat anything, but soon I’m enjoying tea and the yummy dessert that has been prepared for us.
Our hosts who love the Moroccan people identify themselves as followers of Jesus. Having learned the culture and language of the people, they are involved in innovative programs that encourage independence and sustainability. They have been actively involved in development work in Morocco since 1999.
The transition from a village where they enjoyed the acceptance of their neighbors is not easy, but now that the change is here they are excited and filled with new hope. They are busy settling into their home, and getting acquainted with the neighborhood. Their new project will empower local non-profit associations to realize their initiatives.
They share their Hope as they work alongside these local development workers. We are united in prayer with them and invite you to join us as we pray that the Good News will act as yeast in existing social networks.
Before we leave their apartment David checks our emails, and we call home. Lights are turned on as shadows deepen and we say our goodbyes. Back at the Kasbah we find a corner in the elaborate dining room where we enjoy a quiet dinner before going to our rooms to prepare for the next day. (The dining room with its low couches and tables reminded me of the 1001 Arabian Nights.)
Sunday morning bursts forth with bright sunshine, and after coffee (of course) we explore our surroundings. The glorious sunshine highlights the mountains, and the surprise rose garden is in full bloom. We take time to smell the roses and take pictures. Too soon it’s time to check out and load the van for the return trip to our hotel in Ifrane later in the day. Andy takes us on a short sightseeing tour before driving to our friends’ home for lunch.
The mouth-watering Tagine along with the best bread you’ve ever eaten is the perfect complement to the camaraderie and fellowship we enjoy. When Lane shares the message, “Thy Kingdom Come” there are tears of joy and healing. After a special time of prayer, the group visits the new offices. The love for the people of Morocco is imparted to us as this beloved couple shares the customs and culture of the Berbers. We have been touched and believe that we have touched the lives of many people.
Pray for the Moroccan people! This exotic and colorful nation is known in Arabic as the Maghreb, “the place where the sun sets.” I recommend a 52-week prayer guide, “Arise Shine Morocco,” that can be used year after year. You may go to www.ariseshinemorocco.org for more information.
To Be Continued
Copyright© 2007 by Germaine Copeland
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.