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Team North Africa Hits the Road

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The North Africa REACH team spends most of their outreach trekking through rugged mountain terrain. Modern day apostles, they pray, build relationships along the trail, and share Jesus with those who invite them in for the night. Team member’s last names have been omitted for security reasons.

March 17, 2014, Our First Trek!

This week we started our first trek! Our first adventure into the wilderness went very well. It was only a small one, but that is all we needed for the first one. All four of us went together for the first trek and then we will be splitting up into pairs for the rest of the treks. The first thing we did was head to the bus station to get our tickets. This can be quite intimidating and hectic, but it ended up going really well for us. Now it was time to hit the road. We didn't have to travel very far for the day. It was only a four-hour bus ride, which was not bad at all compared to some of the other traveling we do! The first day we made it to a small town. There we ate lunch and made sure we had our bread for the night. Then it was time to head to the village for our first stop for the night. At one point we passed several working men riding donkeys home from work. They seemed like a really friendly bunch of guys. When we made it to the village we asked around for a flat place to sleep, with the intent (hope!) of being invited in for the night. That didn't happen like we hoped. However, we did find a perfect spot for our tents right by the river. It was great for us being so close to water and being out of the wind. That night we ate our bread with jam and called it a night. The next morning we headed out for the next village. On the way there we saw the men from the day before, working on irrigation trench. As we passed we said some greeting and then they invited us to sit with them and drink tea. This was really cool and our first time drinking tea in the mountains. It was a pleasant sight to see such hospitality. They also shared their bread and olive oil with us. After that, they went back to work and we made our way on the road again. We realized later in the day that the area we chose for trekking was smaller than we thought. So by the second night we were almost out of places to go. We still needed to find a place to stay though.

That night we ran into to a very nice man. We asked if there was a flat place to put our tents. He showed us somewhat flats places. They just wouldn't work for our tents though. He later decided to offer us tea and give us a place to stay for the night. This was very cool to see. He didn't really have much to give but he gave us what he had. He was a single man taking care of his grandparent. He brought us in his home and cleared out a place for us to sit. Then he made us a lamb tagine that was very delicious. We were very thankful to him for providing shelter and a warm meal. It was a blessing that the Lord was watching over us that night because we almost didn't have a place to stay. The temperature dropped a lot that night as well. The next morning we had tea and bread with our new friend. We decided to listen to some Bible stories with him and see if he would like them. At first he seemed to enjoy them. Then it became evident that he wasn't interested. It was still a good time. It was time to hit the road. We didn't have another place to go so we decided to head home a day early. It was a very successful trip and we did what we set out to do. It was just enough to get our feet wet. We now feel ready and prepared for the longer treks. God, our guide, really protected us and provided people for us.

Pray that God would give us words to say, soften people's hearts, and give us good health on the trail and direct us.

-Abel


April 3, 2014, Stories!

So we recently returned to the city from our first long trip out. Daniel and I were together for this trip, and this trip was completely different than a trek. We traveled 1400 km to the south to live on a dairy farm in the Sahara Desert. I didn't even know that such places existed; the chance to live there for a while was exciting. Our role there was to be observing the operation and looking for things that could be improved and also exploring ideas for the future. "While living in the desert I was reminded of the vital importance of water. It made me think of Jesus… the water of life."So we did our best to do that despite feeling a bit inadequate to be doing training in a place that is completely foreign to us. We feel like we were able to help them out, and we are thankful for the chance to live with the people there for a while.

While living in the desert I was reminded of the vital importance of water. Where there is water there is life, and a place without water is a barren place. It doesn't matter how much one fertilizes the soil and works hard to maintain it, without water it will fail to produce. It made me think of Jesus as the spring of life. Our time with him is vital to us; he is the water of life.

Thanks for the prayers.

-Derek


Now it's time for silly songs with Lutis (my nickname)... Where Lutis comes out and sings... A silly song. Alright I will save us all and just write about my experience instead. My best memory from this past trek was also my worst memory; it was terrible and great at the same time! It was day four and we had tented the night before. The only thing we had to eat was two handfuls of peanuts each, so we started off with low energy. After we had to wade through a river we climbed out of the valley to find ourselves on a plain. Little did we know we would spend almost the entire day on this plain. We had nothing but more peanuts for lunch and were exhausted from the walking and the heat (it was one of the hottest days yet). We made it to a road and sat down to take a break. By this point we had run out of water and really didn't know what to do. We had no energy left, but we had to keep going because there was no place to set up a tent.

The prayer "give us this day our daily bread" takes on new meaning when you have no food or a place to sleep and simply speaking of bread causes the mouth to water. In our prayers God our guide came through in big ways. He didn't make our day easier; it was still the hardest day by far. However, he always gave us just enough to keep going. He sent some guys who gave us a ride to a city for free, and we were able to get some food to eat. Later he led us to a river where we were able to get water, and once we crossed the river he gave us a friend who took us in and gave us dinner and a warm place to sleep. This friend became my favorite person we met on this trek and we ended up staying with him for three days. I believe that God was challenging me in many ways, but the big takeaway was how much do I look to him? It was easy to look to him when we needed bread to eat; we had no other choice. My challenge and lesson from this is how can I live in a way where every day, whether I have what I need or not, I seek him for my daily provisions spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Thanks for tuning in, peace on your journey and thanks for your thoughts.

-Luke


One of my favorite memories from this past trip was when Derek and I went into town Saturday afternoon to spend the weekend with some friends. They showed us around the town a little bit then we went back to their house for the evening. But what I really enjoyed was the next day when we got together with some more like-minded people from different countries. We had people from Korea, England, and the United States. I just thought that it was really amazing that it didn’t matter where in the world we were all from; we could still come together and worship one creator.

Thanks for reading.

–Daniel


It's amazing what God our guide does for us on the trail. He brought us to some cool people for sure. One of my favorite memories from the trip came on day 7 for Luke and me. We ended up in a town that we had no clue we would end up in. At this point it was hard to follow our plans. God changed our plans quite often actually. As we walked along a road we ran into some men working out in a field. They were planting apple trees. "God placed us with them that day for reasons we still don't know. He always comes through for us."One of the men greeted us in French. We told him we spoke English, but honestly sometimes I'm not sure we even know how to speak English anymore. It's something we laugh at from time to time because we mess up simple words all the time. Anyway, he started to talk to us in English which is kind of rare out in the high ground. He said that we should stay with him for the night. That sounded like a great idea to us. We told him that we would. The other guys working were brothers around the same age as us. So we spent a lot of time with them during the day. They took us around the town and showed us different places. We spoke their language with them and they tried some of their English. We went back and forth sharing our native languages with each other. It was a really great time to learn from them and spend a day with them to see how they live life. I know we ran into them for a reason. That fact that we made it to the town in the first place is surprising. We didn't feel led to give any gifts. We do know that the Holy Spirit was working through us though. They also provided supper for us later that night. I really needed that at the time because I was low on energy after having walked 15 miles the day before. God placed us with them that day for reasons we still don't know. He always comes through for us.

Thank you for your time,

–Abel


April 14, 2014 Another Week of Trekking

Greetings all, The North Africa men here to give you little snippets of our many adventures from life on the trail! It is my absolute pleasure to start things off and give you my personal story.

There has been a trend of day four being the hardest day for me (at least so far—there are still two treks left to change that however). Day four we spent hiking in the rain all day. When we woke up in the morning the guy that we stayed with walked with us for a half hour in the pouring rain (poor guy didn't have rain gear either) to make sure we found our way back to the main road. We walked along the road for a while and we had a bit of a run in with the local police. However, it was something God ended up using. Our run-in with them got us turned around and back on the right trail. We were walking down the wrong road to the city we wanted to get to, so they actually helped us by making us go back and take a taxi to the city. Once we got to that city we still had to find a place to stay, so we continued hiking up the hill (all the while it was still raining). It's hard to climb uphill and slide down a step for every three you take up. Days like this are tough. We hiked really far (around 17 kilometers) and we hiked the whole time in the rain.

There are days that are tough; we had many others. We had challenges like rationing water and trying to find ways to regain energy while on the trail. Yet it all is worth it for that one interaction. For me that happened on day seven. We gave away a toy to a man. At first he wanted to buy it from us, but we decided to give it to him for free. He lit up when we gave it to him and he wouldn't stop kissing us on the hands and forehead. It was really cool! He was so excited to get it! Those are the little times that make it all worth it. Our father provides for us in so many ways. We really are quite honored to be the ones who get to go out into the mountains and plant these seeds, all while relying on him to take care of us in the process.

-Luke


Trekking continues and this time I was teamed up with Luke. One of the things that I found amazing this trek is how much God our guide provides for us. We started out with two loaves of bread that we eat when we are tenting, which we did several times this trek. After tenting several nights we ate all of the bread that we had. But the very next day before noon we were given a loaf of bread from some people that had invited us in for tea. We didn't even ask them for it, they just gave it to us as we were leaving. Then later on in the trek we were given more bread which we were able to give away to a shepherd that we met along the trail. I thought it was just amazing how our God truly does give us our daily bread.

-Daniel


We had a great time out on the trail the past two weeks. Derek and I went together this time around. Our time was spent with families he met in the past. We stayed five nights with a family he had gotten to know quite well the last two years. The family has four sons but only one of them was around during our stay with them. A couple of the days we got to play soccer in the village with all the men. This was one of my favorite memories from this past trip. It's not every day you get to play soccer in the mountains. After a couple days in the village, we almost became a part of the village. Most of our time though was spent in the house of the family Derek knew. They were excited that we were there. We taught some of the kids English and they taught us their language. The excitement they had to learn English was awesome to see. Spending time with them went very well, although there was one sad moment. Derek and I thought it would be a great idea to buy a goat and kill it with the family. We bought a goat and had plans to have a party and eat it with them. The plan was for us to do the honors but it turns out that they had the goat in a dish before we knew it. That was a bummer to both of us because we missed out on a great experience. We did get to be a part of a party and enjoyed a tagine with the goat in it. So in the end we pretty much just ended up feeding half the village with our goat. The party was great. Time with the family there couldn't have gone better if you ask me.

-Abe


There are a lot of good memories that come from the trail and many good things that happen. There are also times when we run into opposition; our battle is not against flesh and blood, and it's very real. I will share a little about that side of things this time to tell of God’s greatness in another way. Abel and I had one particular night that we will not be forgetting for a long time. We ran into a guy that I knew from the first year. We had only drunk tea together two years ago, but he remembered me and invited us to stay with him. "the Holy Spirit, led us to that place for a specific reason. He gives us armor for the battle. May we be strong in him."As excited as I was to find an old friend, I had an uneasy feeling right away. Something just didn't feel right; it didn't take long to realize that there was a spiritual battle in the house. The darkness was heavy and very real as night came, but the Holy Spirit was strongly there as well. We spent many hours that night praying for the release of the darkness, and for the Holy Spirit to fill those places. It was an exhausting night, and also a night that we felt the Holy Spirit working powerfully. The evil one has many strongholds here, ones that he has had for a long time and he does not want to let them go. But in the name of Jesus our Savior, he must go! God is the Great I Am and he is with us and Jesus is our victory. Nights like that aren't ones that I look back on and smile. They aren't "fun trail stories." But they are victories as well. Our guide, the Holy Spirit, led us to that place for a specific reason. He gives us armor for the battle. May we be strong in him.

Blessings to you all.

He is Good,

–Derek