Dispatches: Embarking on The Camino de Santiago

Jeff and Shelley are on a pilgrimage in Spain for a couple weeks! We’re excited to be able to share updates about their journey, what they experience, and what God shows them on their adventure.

The Camino de Santiago is also referred to a the Way of Saint James or just “The Way.” James was of the sons of Zebedee and a disciple of Jesus – in fact, along with Peter and John, James was one of the inner three who were closest to Jesus.

This route is reported to be his last evangelistic journey before his death and the path to his final resting place. This road has been traveled for centuries.

So why am I here? Why take this journey? Why go all the way to Spain to walk 80 miles? (That’s not even the full route – we are only walking a portion of the 500+ mile Camino!)

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus calls me to follow him, making me a follower of Christ, therefore by definition my life is a journey.

A pilgrimage is a set journey to a set destination. That’s what our adventure on the Camino is for, but that is also what life with God is.

I guess I am in Spain for some reasons I know and some I believe will be revealed along the way. These are the ones I know, in no particular order:

1. I want to connect body, mind, and spirit with this calling from a loving God. Life can be so disjointed, but on this journey, we’re given a chance unplug and have a singular focus. We will walk 15 miles a day, thinking, praying, and experiencing. My morning prayer will be: “Father, what do have for me today? I am open, I am ready. Speak to me.”

2. This is a journey of thanksgiving. After a heart attack and successful cancer treatments, God has brought me on a journey of restoration to health and vitality. I walk because I still can, and with each step I will sing His praise with a heart of gratitude.

3. I hope to discover why others are walking, too. We are not meant to walk through life alone. What brings the other pilgrims to the Camino?

4. This is a shared journey with Shelley, my wife. It is symbolic of our life together, spent side by side, each carrying our own load. Each of us moves forward step by step, but we are also one, bound together by love, tested by hardship, and refined by God’s grace.

5. It’s fun! Or at least it should be. I love new experiences – life is an adventure meant to be lived. So go for it!

6. It’s a great excuse to get a new pack – thanks, Ben Sims! I want to be like you when I grow up!

I hope to share insights, video, and pictures with you along the way. You are my family and you go with me in a very real sense.

For now, though, it’s just 15 hours of flying.  I’m already bored…

-Jeff

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