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Lockdown in Morocco: Chris and Carol Martin

1. Give me a brief description of your 2020 highs and lows. What went really well and what were some of the challenges you faced?
We faced the same challenges as everybody else in lockdown. It’s amazing that being an American and being blessed – we’ve seen so many people whose lives were immediately thrown into panic and I think even in America so many people live their lives week to week and they were thrown in a panic too. I was really blessed to see the churches in America come through. I was expecting support to drop off significantly. We didn’t see that. We actually saw an increase. Many churches stepped up to the plate, said we know that people who are working abroad, some of them are going to suffer, so let’s give extra.

We started doing food outreach – there were people who were down to nothing and no one was helping them. There was some help for Moroccans but we have many immigrants in the church and they weren’t in the Moroccan system and weren’t receiving any assistance from the M government. So us going out with food was very important. We saw during that time that it wasn’t just immigrants – Moroccans were gathering around our car thinking we were just handing out food – so obviously they weren’t getting enough. Great needs at that time and still.

We’re hearing now from people trying to raise support in America that it’s hard. Churches haven’t recovered – hard for new people going out. Churches trying to be faithful to commitments they’ve made. One cousin passed away from Covid related illness.

2. How much of the year did you and your church/city spend in lockdown vs. free to have church?
About six months – four months of serious lockdown. 6-8 months before we could have church. Back now – limited to 70 people Long way to being back to normal.

3. What are some of the good things you witnessed over this past year and what are some of the difficult things you and your church experienced?
We saw with the Moroccan church – tremendous amount of response to Moroccan church. Wrote an article to our area talking about how some needed this break. Lot of response from Moroccans – asking to know about the Lord and asking for a Bible. Break gave them time to think. That would be the most positive – some people came to the Lord because of it. Covid converts. Catalyst to bring people into kingdom.

4. What are some of the difficult things you and your church experienced?
Lockdown, not meeting. Tough year overall – attendance, excitement isn’t there – finances have dropped to almost nothing; lot of people who could attend aren’t attending. Sad things have impacted the church in some ways. Hope in the end the net result will be good. Still don’t have home group meetings, social gathering – just 15 minutes after church coffee. Still experiencing a lot of suffering at this time.

5. How do you think this year has affected your church?
Good things are happening, but overall the climate of the church is not as passionate and excited as before – less numbers, social distancing, have to wear masks in church. Believing we’re going to be past it soon.

6. Almost one year on, what has God taught you through this unprecedented experience?
You don’t know what the future holds. Hold everything lightly. ‘If Allah wills’ means I can make any excuse and blame God for it. We say it in America – in the Bible – hold plans loosely. Can plan for future but we have to keep cement wet – we don’t know – have to adapt and adapt with kingdom in mind. There was a shift in Covid season, think about what people need, bring glory to God in season. We did online church – as everyone did – hasn’t been a good experience. Hard to produce quality videos and get people to watch. We’ve learned and we’ve learned to endure and adapt. And looking forward to things getting back to normal.

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