Matt was part of this year's Spain mission team, serving over 100 pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and engaging in conversations. Here, Matt shares his first ever experience of a mission trip:
It was a big deal for me to go on a mission trip: I’d never done anything like it before...
My friends and family were surprised, but they were also excited, and said they’d be praying for me too. This was a phrase I normally didn’t pay much attention to, but this time it seemed to mean more.
I was calm (this was rare for me) and, before I knew it, I was meeting the rest of the team at Santiago de Compostela train station; a bunch of strangers in a country where most of us couldn’t speak the language.
We soon met our hosts, and spent the first day resting and spending some time at the chapel where we would be based for much of the week. Here, we had a profound time of worship; I was reduced to tears, by a song that reminded me of home.
We spent two days on our own mini-pilgrimage, trekking part of the Camino from Pontevedra to Vilanova de Arousa where our hosts live. The walk was tough - up steep hills in the beating sun - but the towns we walked through were beautiful. The second day was less intense, as we followed the river into some incredible countryside.
This time helped us bond as a group and even though I was worried my toes might not come back with me to Wales, they recovered just a few days later...
The rest of the week was spent in our hosts' home. Each morning we gathered, taking it in turns to share a devotional and leaving space for prayer.
We spent our days at the chapel, talking and praying with pilgrims and hearing their stories. Then, each evening, our mealtimes were for stories of our own – space for sharing our experiences together.
By the end of our time, I was ready to come home, but sad to be leaving the lovely people I had shared such a wonderful experience with.
I don’t remember worrying about anything the whole time I was away, and looking back, it felt like all of those prayers from my family and friends were answered: I experienced the power of those prayers every step of that journey to and from Spain.
Every summer, 24-7 Prayer sends mission teams to serve alongside communities who are living out prayer, mission and justice. 2019 mission team details will be released later in the year.