There is Hope

There is Hope

Emmanuela Loccident serves with the Evangelical Church of Morocco.


If this is the first newsletter you are reading from me; my husband Fritz and I have been sent and welcomed at the Protestant Church in Morocco (EEAM) since October 2017. The EEAM is a partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, through Global Ministries.  After a time of discernment with the EEAM, we are serving in the city of Oujda (northeast of the country), where there is a parish that Fritz is pastoring and where the social ministry is very present. My ministry is in the national communication team as the main coordinator. We have been blessed to serve the church for almost 4 years now and it has been a transformative experience so far.

I must admit that it has been a while since I have been able to give you all some news about what is going on here in Morocco, in the EEAM, and in my ministry. For this, I am grateful for your prayers and patience.

As you know, we all have been affected by the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. The kingdom of Morocco has not been spared from this global crisis. The country is situated at the crossroads of Africa and Europe – so, not only do many tourists come here, but there are also many flights to and from Africa which have stopovers here. Therefore, since March 2020, there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases here. To give you an idea, there have been around 500K cases in a country of almost 37 million people!

“… Till now, the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12b ESV)

We are so grateful, that despite the pandemic, the church has been able to help the ones in need. The Protestant Church in Morocco hears and responds actively to the call to assist people migrating through Morocco in the hopes of crossing over to Europe. And this is regardless of the pandemic.

There are many programs supported by the social ministry of the national church to help those who are vulnerable. Most people we are blessed to serve come from countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa – single women, women with children, pregnant women, young men, families, unaccompanied minors. Most of them are tired, hungry, and in desperate need of help. A lot of them are injured when trying to cross over walls (sometimes with barbed wire) or when trying to escape from the police. The programs go from urgent aid (food basket, medical aid, medicine, clothes, etc.) to professional training for those who are thinking of staying in Morocco, to grants for those who wish to go back to their homeland, to microproject funds for those who want to start their own business (to only state a few). This is the work that the church is doing in “normal times!”

Now with the pandemic, the needs have grown enormously because everybody needs help! The students, the professionals, the church staff, everyone needed help and most still do… Even those who were normally helping others were now in situations where they needed the help as well. The EEAM’s leadership had to come up with a plan to assist not only migrants but the whole church’s family.

Thanks be to God; many partners of the church were compelled to send funds and many locals (from the church and outside of the church) were pitching in so that the church could help as many people as possible. As a result of these efforts:

  • Funds were sent to local parishes to help people pay for their rent.
  • Funds were sent to help people have food baskets and eat.
  • Funds were sent to support migrants who could not go in the streets to beg for money.
  • Although the church members were in crisis and confined, the church has never been this united.

“It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace.” (Psalm 133:1 – CEV)

The fact that we were separated physically created a need for connection that we have never experienced before. This is when I have become the Zoom guru of the national church, where I had to train local teams so that they could have church activities online. I have created a manual with procedures for people who are not too tech-savvy, and I have spent months on Zoom showing people how to use it, until they all became autonomous.

The national church has also decided to have a national service every week where all the local churches are reunited online to worship as one. What a feast, what a joy, what a relief it was to “see” each other while a threatening pandemic was at our door!

Also, an online “group therapy” type of weekly reunion has been created for the local leaders who were distributing the help in the field. It was mainly a moment where they all could share what they were going through, and as a group, we could either help with decisions or simply pray with them and listen to them. It has created a sense of community within the leaders of the 9 cities where we have the social programs.

It was not an easy task and I believe many of you have experienced the Zoom fatigue throughout the past year, but I am grateful that God gave me the strength to pull through.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:1 – ESV)

There is hope! Our work here, our presence here in Morocco, thanks to your prayers and many gifts, is mainly a work of hope!

When we look at all the work that needs to be done and people that need assistance (women, women with children, unaccompanied minors, men, young men, students, workers, church staffs, pastors, leaders…), it can feel overwhelming… no, it is overwhelming! But in the same way that we have seen God provide in this crisis, I know that we will see a great light shining through the deep darkness! 

Your prayers, your gifts, and your support are more than ever needed, and I am profoundly grateful to be your ears, your hands, and your eyes so that God’s love be extended to those who need it.

Emmanuela Loccident serves with the Evangelical Church of Morocco. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.