From the Field: Updates on Morocco and LibyaEurasia
Jane, an international church community member, woke up shaking. It wasn’t a bad dream; it wasn’t a dream at all.
It was shortly after 11 p.m. on September 8, 2023. Jane was just 44 miles from the epicenter of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in southern Morocco. The earthquake killed more than 2,900 people. It also displaced 300,000 people, including Jane, who spent sleepless hours on the street with her Muslim friends and neighbors, praying that there would be no significant aftershocks.
Four days later, Chris, a ministry partner in Derna, Libya looked out his windows in alarm. Water was rushing through the streets, carrying bodies with it. When Chris finally emerged from his home into the city he loves, one-quarter of the town had been washed into the Mediterranean Sea, leaving 11,300 dead, over 10,000 missing, and at least 30,000 displaced.
AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis says, “Our hearts are grieved at the suffering endured by so many in Morocco after the horrible earthquake and the people of Libya after this devastating flood. In response, we are mobilizing the church to pray that our fellow believers there will receive God’s comfort and strength to endure—as well as receive the relief help they urgently need. We also need to pray that God's love and compassion will shine through Moroccan and Libyan believers’ lives as a testimony of hope to so many nonbelievers who are suffering and need to know Christ.”
Sorrow mixes with joy for those on the ground.
“We are thankful that all our personnel and all our partners, as well as the local believers we are in partnership with on the ground, survived the earthquake in Morocco and the flood in Libya,” said Arab World Area Director, Dick Brogden.
Despite this joy, there is still immense grief over the 2,900 dead in Morocco and the 11,300 dead in Libya, who, according to all available information, were Muslim.
“The greatest tragedy when disaster strikes in places and among peoples that are unreached is not the devastation left behind, nor the price of rebuilding when all physical assets have been lost or destroyed,” said Brogden. “It is that these precious men and women have no further chance to hear the gospel, be saved from sin, and receive eternal life in the presence of Jesus.”
However, hope arose as AGWM personnel immediately responded with the compassion of Jesus.
One of the beauties of the body of Christ is the unity experienced in times of trial and testing. Multiple Assemblies of God churches immediately sent aid to both Morocco and Libya. Other non-profit entities like Stone Table and Convoy of Hope also generously contributed funds, water solutions, and personnel – immediately providing resources so the intervention of AGWM teams on the ground could be timely and effective.
These partners empowered the work on the ground not only through the funds, goods, and personnel they make immediately available, but also through their experience, connections, counsel, and logistical support that allows expedient action.
“We are so thankful for the body of Christ and how we can all work together to express the compassion of Christ through physical relief in a way that can lead to eternal deliverance,” said Brogden.
Aid in Morocco
In Morocco, government helicopters brought the most severely injured to Marrakech’s hospitals, where they received free medical care. However, after being discharged, patients found themselves without money to purchase vital medications needed for their recovery.
“One believing doctor, a friend of one of our personnel, personally contracted with a pharmacy to provide medications to these people for free. She and her family were selflessly willing to ‘pick up the tab,’” said an international church staff member. “Because of donations, we have been able to help in this unique area of need. However, the real ‘win’ comes with the relationship that has developed between the doctor and the patient. Doors are wide open for future follow-up!”
Convoy of Hope personnel were in immediate contact with our workers on the ground and two representatives arrived in Morocco within 3-4 days. They joined with our personnel in accessing and transitioning to the next phase of what are the most immediate needs beyond food and water: clean water, sanitation stations, pre-fab shelters, cement to rebuild, donkeys, sheep, and chickens to replace the livestock they lost?
Moroccans quickly stepped up to donate blood for those in need. International church staff, combined with other global workers in the community, collaborated using the church as a staging ground to package food, water, blankets, and emergency generators. These items were then delivered to those who had lost homes and loved ones. Distribution was coordinated with those who lived in key areas of the Atlas Mountains, allowing direct access to the remote areas, as local village leaders knew and respected them. Approximately 750 boxes of food and 500 blankets were delivered in the first three days after the earthquake.
Two church planting teams are in the earthquake zone. One, a Live Dead team, and the other an international church team on the edge of the earthquake zone.
The Live Dead team immediately assembled water, food, blankets, and shelter and transported them to devastated areas. Walking three hours from their base camp in the mountains, the team was able to deliver supplies and minister to grieving Muslim families in the hardest hit areas.
“Some people come in to give out water, take a picture, and leave,” said a field worker in Morocco. “We are here, we stay, and we live with the people. We give out water, sit with them, pray, and give hope. What people really want after the disaster is to find hope again.”
Other AGWM personnel and a Live Dead launch team packed up multiple vehicles of supplies and convoyed them to two staging grounds – joining in the emergency distribution and ministry to the grieving.
“These actions were done in the name of Jesus and their compassionate and rapid intervention response has opened the door for ongoing gospel access where we had previously been restricted, particularly in remote mountain villages,” said Brogden.
Workers from the international church and Live Dead teams had divine opportunities to meet with hurting village people. “Some of our ladies did basic first aid as they sat, listened, wept and prayed with women who had suffered great loss,” said an international church staff member. “Some of the men, after delivering food supplies, went back to the villages they had been with soccer balls for the young people.”
These small gestures expanded opportunities to return to these areas for future visits, providing open doors for the gospel to be proclaimed.
Aid in Libya
In Egypt, Live Dead personnel and partners worked with local Egyptian partners to send truckloads of supplies across the Egyptian/Libyan border and into Derna. Islamic relief agencies were surprised that the majority of life-saving goods and supplies were donated by Egyptian churches and international Christian agencies. The trucks reached a local international church member who then distributed the goods to the suffering in the name and spirit of Jesus.
“The non-governmental organization we are working with here has been amazing,” said a field worker. “We finished the project and sent fifty large trucks of medical supplies and food.”
The Eternal Impact
To live among those who lost loved ones to the earthquake and flood is devastating, especially when AGWM personnel live with unreached people groups with limited access to the gospel. The sobriety of those who have perished, never having another chance to hear about the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, is weighty.
“In the immediacy of the crisis, we don’t have time to think deeply, we just plunge into the work and do what needs to be done,” said Brogden. “As the earth beneath us stops shaking and the floods recede, the emotion rises. Joy is mixed with sorrow.”
There is joy when AGWM’s ministry partners tangibly express the love of Jesus and His church to those who are hurting. There is sorrow for those who have perished without Christ, and agony for the thousands dead, there is no existing knowledge of any who received Christ as Savior.
This sorrow and agony, to those in the field, is not crippling, but motivating. These workers live daily with the reality that time on earth is limited. Disaster on earth is a reminder that the Day of the Lord is almost upon us, and the will of the Lord is that none should perish. Death serves as a reminder of the beauty of life and the gift of eternal life available to all people in Christ Jesus.
“We want to see one more soul saved unto eternal life, one more family, one more people group, one more Lord Jesus, one more!” said Brogden.
Opportunities for Future Crisis Aid
In 2022, the Arab World global workers initiated the Rapid Intervention Network (RIN) adopted from their sister agency, Frontiers. The network was designed for scenarios like what occurred in Morocco and Libya. RIN allows personnel to respond immediately, coordinating aid from all available partners both abroad, and in the field. This response network functions in a Jesus-centered and church-based way – even in the most unreached of areas.
“We honor the dignity of the suffering while making it clear that our compassion for their physical disaster is rooted in God’s heart for them and in His desire to save them from eternal disaster, sin, pain, tears, and loss, forever,” said Brogden.
Prayer Points for Morocco and Libya
As the impact of these disasters continues to unfold, local believers and ground workers are working night and day to help the traumatized. Pray for their spiritual strength and emotional composure. Encountering such a vast amount of suffering can be overwhelming as adrenaline fades.
Pray that as the crisis proceeds to chronic challenges, the international church members and local believers will find ways to continue to minister to those affected by the disaster, taking advantage of opportunities in new areas that are now accessible.
“We genuinely want to meet physical needs, yet we realize that the greatest need, even in tragedy, is for men and women to receive Jesus as Savior,” said Brogden.
Pray that the tragic reality of the brevity of life would lead many Moroccans and Libyans to turn to Jesus as the Savior of their bodies and souls.
“Let us never forget that no suffering compares to eternal suffering and that the most loving thing we can do is to make disciples and plant the church,” said Brogden. “All our compassion is rooted in God’s eternal love for those in pain, and His eternal plan to bring them to His healing and fulfilling presence – forever.”
Although a financial donation aids the physical needs of those experiencing these disasters, those on the ground also depend on prayers so they lead the suffering to Jesus, the only one who can keep them eternally safe.
To help respond to the disaster with eternity in mind, contribute at the following link: