This summer, one of our 24-7 Mission trips headed to The Camino de Santiago – one of the world’s most famous pilgrimages – to pray and bless pilgrims as well as walking some of it too.
Ellie, one of the team, shares what happened:
Have you ever watched a dragonfly resting on a leaf before flittering off to another place? No maps required; no route planned; no failing to prepare or preparing to fail.
The 24-7 Camino mission trip felt a bit like this, and taught me a lot about what it is to be led by the Spirit. To be open to wandering; to be vulnerable with strangers who would soon become treasured friends; to believe in the midst of doubt. to be real even when it felt uncomfortable.
I had arrived on the Camino – as most of us had- with much on my mind and heart from back home. The warmth I found in the welcome from our hosts, Alfonso & Debee, and in our team created a space for me to let go. It was a safe place to land. A rock beneath my feet.
Alfonso & Debee at Hope House give life to the people who cross their path. They have ears to listen and hearts to understand. They are generous with all that they have. They welcome the stranger into their home and they gently encouraged me to do the same. To not fear those who are strange to me but to see them and listen to their story.
Hospitality starts in the heart and then the schedule. Henri Nouwen speaks of listening being the highest form of hospitality. Listening not to change people, but offering a space where change can take place.
The Camino challenged me to let go of my tight schedule, to walk a little more and work a little less, to re-assess the things that are important to me. To take time to listen, to God and to others.
We experienced beautiful times of individual prayer and unity in our team led by Eric and Andreas! These guys were wonderfully different, and their leadership created a dynamic that worked and flowed together.
We soon realised we all had something to bring to the table, all different but with the same passion and love for Jesus.
I remember my sister-in-law asking me about the plan before I left; and I realised that I wasn’t sure what our trip would look like. As a spontaneous person, I presumed it would be all be fine; but on arrival, the flexibility rattled me more than I was expecting.
There is security in the known, but during our time, I wondered, “What if God is calling me to step into the unknown?” In a regular routine of tight schedules; checking off endless to do lists; being praised for the amount of things we can do, slowing down is a counter-cultural call from God. Slowing down, rather than speeding up. Breathing deep over multi-tasking. Giving God room to move.
The Camino has changed me in a daunting and beautiful way – so much so that I’m continuing the journey to walk the Portuguese Camino, asking God what’s next, meeting with strangers, and coming home to myself.
Passionate about mission too? We’ve just launched a brand new 2019 winter mission team opportunity in December.
Details of our 2020 Mission Teams will be released next month.