Spain/Morocco5After rewriting this journal numerous times, and each time throwing out the draft, I have finally come to the conclusion that there is no way of capturing every moment and every detail of our five weeks in Morocco in a one page entry; however, I will do my best to capture the essence of Morocco as I have experienced it.

Morocco has been a true cross cultural experience in every sense of the word. When I say this, I do not mean that Morocco has been an easy experience at all times, or that I have loved every minute of it. I mean instead that my time here has been an incredibly valuable opportunity for spiritual and emotional growth. Even our share of challenges as a group-severe food illnesses, theft, border crossing issues, a lack of independence, and a constant need for flexibility-have been stepping stones for better self-understanding and stronger group unity.

Although we have had many difficulties over the last five weeks, there have been moments so full of beauty and incredible joy that they have more than made up for the harder times. There was our first night at a roadside restaurant where we had the most succulent lamb I have ever tasted. There was the trip to Volubilis, where we explored ancient Roman ruins among the hills. There was the hike we took through a landscape that could have passed for the Shenandoah valley, if it weren’t for the monkeys surrounding us in the trees, waiting for the peanuts we had stashed in our pockets for them. There was the trip to the blue city of Chefchaouen nestled high in the mountains, where even the rain didn’t stop the group from going on a three hour hike.

The sun rises behind the group as they take their return camel ride. Most recently, there was the trip to the Sahara desert, where a nine hour car ride past snow covered mountains and sheer rock cliffs brought us into a wasteland of sand. In the Sahara, we rode camels as the sun set over the desert, had tea in an oasis, laid under the stars and counted the meteorites falling to earth against the background of the milky way galaxy. To me, if I had to describe what God looks like, I would describe the sky I saw that night, crystal clear, endless, and filled with an ancient beauty and unfathomable mystery. We woke before the dawn with the wind howling through the tents and the stars still over our heads, and spent forty minutes climbing the high dune behind our campsite to watch the sunrise from what felt like the end of the world.

My time in Morocco has not always been easy. My time in Morocco has not always been fun. But my time in Morocco has changed my life in ways that I do not even fully comprehend yet, and for that, I will be forever grateful