We’ve received a few updates from Zach & Rachel’s team who are currently walking on the St. James Way in Spain. Here are some of the highlights:
The group is walking on the French route, which is more popular and has been featured in books and movies, so there are many “peregrinos” (pilgrims) walking with them. In fact, in the town the team started in (O’Cebreiro) there were no beds in any hostels because there are so many walkers. The team had a hard time finding beds at an “albergue” (hostel) Friday evening in Triacastela because of the large number of travelers, but eventually found a place where they would share rooms with some German’s and a Swede, which is good, because they had walked 21.5 kilometers through mountainous terrain and needed to rest! In addition German and Swedish nationalities, the first day of walking included interaction with Spanish, other Americans, Koreans, Dutch, Canadians, British, and Portuguese! The nations collide on the St. James Way!
In addition to being an evangelist, Abel, our national ministry partner who is walking with the team, is an amazing cook (Pastor Doug can attest to this)! So, Friday evening, Abel cooked for the team as well as the others staying at the hostel. This is a creative way of creating relational bridges into the lives of other pilgrims! Rachel reported that there is a unique culture on the Camino, where the simple greeting of “Buen Camino!” can open the door for conversation with people from anywhere in the world…assuming you have some bit of common language with which to communicate!
From the team leader: We start each morning off with a short Camino-themed devotion and we have a longer Camino-themed lesson at night. This morning we were reminded that when we welcome hungry strangers in to eat, or thirsty strangers in to drink, we’re essentially welcoming in Jesus. Thus, while hiking is physically demanding and takes much of our energy, sharing with other peregrinos is a much more important aspect of our Camino mission trip!
Saturday was a 13-mile walk which include walking through fog and sunshine, which concluded with a stay at an albergue whose owner spoke no English at all! This is a great character-forming experience for cross-cultural missions trippers; learning to communicate and minister when there is no common language.
The team joked that they are getting started later and later every day! It seems that they are adapting to the cultures that surround them that are less concerned about plans, schedules, and to-do lists! None-the-less, it was another full day of walking, including interaction with several other cultures, again: today it was Italians, Koreans, and Canadians. The team met also met a father/daughter combo who was walking the Camino to mourn the loss of their wife/mother to liver cancer – people come for many reasons that open the channels of communication and sharing life together.
Please continue to pray for the team as they walk, and particularly for their opportunities to share their Good News with people they meet. As the continue to approach the Camino’s end-point, the cathedral at Santiago, there will be more and more pilgrims. Also pray for their aching bodies, and for the spiritual lessons God wants them to learn through this process.