Most students use their summer break to unwind and relax.
Others see it as an opportunity to do something more.
From May 18 through July 17 of 2013, Texas A&M University-Commerce student Colt Moore traveled to Morocco with three other missionaries to aid a missionary team in the area.
Moore was able to go through funds raised from Commerce Community Church (C3)’s Run for the Nations 5K fundraiser.
Although Moore trained for the long trip, nothing could really prepare him for the culture shock, which challenged his views on the region.
“It was one that I really wasn’t expecting,” he said, adding that his perceptions of the people of Morocco changed during his trip. “The idea in my head was that every Muslim was going to be hostile, kind of this stereotypical view I had of Muslims.”
Moore said it was a stark juxtoposition with the government, which did not allow the distribution of Bibles or sharing of the Christian faith.
“Everybody was friendly and everybody was wanting to talk about religion,” he said, adding that although it was outlawed by the government, the openness of many of the citizens “made it easier to me to share the gospel.”
Moore said some of the traditions were much different than in America.
“You didn’t talk one-on-one with a woman,” he said. “And if you were caught trying to convert in public, passing out Bibles, it was illegal.”
Moore spent his two months assisting the long-term missionaries in Morocco.
Moore said although the people are friendly, at times tensions began to run high when sharing his faith.
Moore was with one of his friends in a cafe reading a dual English and Arabic Bible, when his friend began reading aloud.
When Moore’s friend read that “Jesus is the Son of God,” patrons of the cafe began to take notice.
Soon the crowd surrounded the two at their table.
“My adrenaline is rushing because I’m in a foreign city and this man is yelling at me,” he said.
Moore said he was able to keep his composure and leave the cafe peacefully.
There were other confrontations, but Moore said that was the most intense one before leaving for home.
Since Moore has returned, he is helping another member of his church prepare for her trip to Morocco.
“Colt had already been on the trip so he’s been preparing me for it,” Sarah Miller, a member of C3 and student at A&M-Commerce said. “I’ll be working with the same missionaries.”
Miller went to Canada and Romania on mission trips last year, but this will be traveling from May 17 through July 7 in Morocco.
“I really wanted to work with people of the Islamic faith,” she said.
Funds raised from this year’s 5K are going toward Miller’s trip to Morocco.
Miller said she hopes to gain as much as Moore did from his trip.
“I would hope that when I left I would be more dependent on God and that it shapes my walk with Christ,” she said.
Moore said he looks back fondly on the trip, and still keeps in touch with the three missionaries who went with him.
“The whole trip of four young men going into a completely unkown country who love the Lord and love people, who want to see the Lord work in people’s lives and are burdened, we grew together and grew to love the people of North Africa,” he said.
According to Moore, there are many differences among cultures, and although American culture is vastly different from Moroccan, he does not like to use American culture as the standard to live by.
“We’re just as weird to them as they are to us. They’re just different,” he said. “Don’t make this culture we live in the standard for the world. The only standard is the Bible.”
For more information on the 5K, which is on April 5 at 8 a.m., visit www.runforthenations.org.