Friday, June 22, 2007

Baptism by Flood, I

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Our pastor, Cindy, began this week’s sermon with a harrowing story of a flood in which our dear friends, Kevin and Karen, were caught up. Karen is a Chaplain serving in an Interfaith Context at Al Akhawayn University in Muslim Morocco. Her ministry is one of dialogue, encounter, and service, not proselytism. We need more Kevin and Karens in our world today.

This is Karen's powerful story of what she calls her "second baptism."

On September 28, 1997, Kevin and I were returning from Rabat (having led worship and Sunday School there). In our car also were Leslie Coghlan and Safaa Kaddioui, colleagues from AUI, and Safaa’s sister, Sahar, a medical doctor. We drove through heavy rain from the time we left Rabat, unusual for September. We made it through some rather deep water between Boufkrane (40 km from Ifrane) and El Hajeb (27 km from Ifrane), but thought that we were through the worst of it because we were going into the mountains.

However, on the west side of El Hajeb, at about 5:30 PM, we discovered that traffic was stopped. After we had sat there not moving for a while, Sahar and I went to see if we could find out what was happening and call folks to let them know Kevin and I would be late for church!

We couldn’t find a phone in the cluster of cafes closest to us; Sahar said she would walk on up further and call while I returned to the car to let the others know that there was indeed water across the road and the cars were waiting for it to recede. As I walked out of the café sidewalks behind me exploded with the force of water from the overwhelmed drains.

When I got back to the car, left lane of the road was becoming a river. Then we saw a car headed down the side of the mountain in the left lane; no one was in the vehicle. The newly formed “river” had taken the car. Then other cars followed. We pulled our car as high up on the curb as we could get it. Then we abandoned the car, and tried to walk higher up to safety. As I walked up, I was banging on the windows of other cars, telling people to get out.

Fast moving rivulets of water were constantly overtaking the sidewalk in various configurations, depending on what vehicles were being pulled down. I was knocked down by the force of the water as we walked through one of these and lost my sandals and my broomstick skirt (fortuately, I was wearing biking shorts underneath!). I have no idea who all held on to me to keep me from being dragged away that first time I fell.

More coming...


At 12/25/07, 3:34 AM, Blogger sahar said...

Hi Karen
It's Sahar!
I still remenber what hapened this afternoon as it was yesterday!
For one year,I felt guilty about all the peopel who died there, specialy Samia Sbihi.
Safaa ad I suffer frome "terreurs nocturnes" since this day.
Hamdoulillah (thank's to god we're all alive.

At 7/8/08, 7:10 AM, Anonymous Safaa said...

Hello there!
It's Safaa!
I just literrally "bumped" into these posts!
As Sahare said, we remember everything as if it were yesterday!


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