Received in prayer August 31:
“Son– I am ending this month with a promise I wish you to hold onto. A word which I, not you, will fulfill.
You will see what I long for and experience what I am doing.
You will walk with my powerful love.
You will experience my light.
I will walk you into a work that will allow that person I’ve made you to be a witness to many — Not by trying but by being. I will walk with you child. The conversations with Markus and Ben are samples. Yes stories and yet you witnessing through my Spirit. Just you wait Son. Just you wait. I have a plan for you. I have a dream for you.”
I didn’t know what to make of this even as I received it and wrote it out. I knew the Lord had dropped this into my heart, into my spirit, but what would this look like? The end product was clear. I had heard the Lord whisper, again, my repeated life message:
“Trust Me, Child, trust Me. What plans will open to you. Enjoy the sounds, the smells, the joy, the peace, the life I’ve given. Enjoy Son. Walk with Me.”
I awoke after a great nights sleep, but awoke from an awful dream, feeling weary. Weary of talking. Weary of stories. Weary of what felt like a godless world. Weary of feeling like I was not being myself, and weary of wondering who I really was. Weary of constipation. Weary of being far from family. That morning that’s the word you would find repeated again and again in my journal. I even told God:
“I’m weary, Lord. Weary. We are getting ready to head out again. I’ve read Scriptures for today. Today they were all of judgment. (I love allowing the Word to flow through my life daily, having read through the whole of scripture some 33 times). I don’t know how to take my next step, how to find deep relationships, how to testify to faith to following in the middle of stupid jokes and inanity.”
The interesting thing, looking back, is that what was happening in the moment was the very thing I sought: deep relationships and testimony. I just was so blind. Have you ever missed what was right in front of you?
“I want to dive deep into your love Papa. I want to find my life hidden in yours. I want to discover hope in the recesses of this life. I want to be alive not dead, joyful not sorrowful, filled not empty. Lord would you meet me in this day. Meet me in this walk? Would you?”
And God’s response: “Child, I’m there always.”
Later that day I wrote:
“Today for the first time I witnessed the sun rise over the ocean. I forget that we hiked along a north facing beach. Of course the sun would rise over the water. Gorgeous. That sunrise raised my spirits. It spoke of God! ‘You are near. Present. Alive. Hope. Thank you!'”
The path led along another beach town, then onto a path in a long uphill climb which then became a long downhill scramble. I went in front and Nannette and our French companions came behind. It was incredible.
We hiked along the beach, for a short time, took a road alongside the beach and then walked on the sand to the town of Noja. We stopped for coffee and tea and a bit of food. Then we walked further through Noja. Just as we were leaving this village we bumped into Mick and Marg from Australia, whom we had met a couple days earlier. They had stayed in Noja the previous night, so we ended up walking with them all the way to our destination. That was another four to five hours at least. It was a great day. Here I had journaled of being so weary and tired of talking that morning, yet, these conversations were delightful and distracted me from the walking. This was a huge gift!
Marg and I walked together for about two hours. They have three kids in their 20s. She shared with me her mom’s heart for them. I said I’d keep praying for them. The week before departure she had had surgery for a cancerous growth in her lip. It was a harrowing experience not knowing if they’d be able to come at all, nor whether the growth was malignant, until just moments before departure. It ended up they had departed before the report on the growth could come in. So, she was traveling in hopes of healing! What stories we shared.
Marg came from Catholic family, in which four of the seven kids were abused by the local priests. Suddenly Marg and I had an even deeper point of shared connection. I was also sexually abused as a child by the associate pastor of my home congregation. One of her siblings had committed suicide. Others were diagnosed as bipolar. The pain such abuse brought/brings! Marg had found healing and restoration in her deep faith, her reconnection to the church, and in her brash, beautiful honesty. She delighted my soul.
Along the way I traded in my floppy straw hat on a new Camino hat. I asked if the albergue where I bought my new hat wanted to keep the old one in their giveaway bin, The woman looked at me and at my dilapidated straw hat, shook her head slowly and said in Spanish, “No, this one is for the trash only.”
Hours later, we reached the outskirts of Guemes. We came to a bar that was open. I could walk no further without food. I said, “I’m stopping here to eat.” Mick and Marg continued to the next town where they were scheduled to stay. Nannette sat a few minutes and then went on to the albergue. I stayed, ate delicious food (okay– that was way over-the-top mayonnaise with the asparagus). I paid way too much money and then walked up the long hill to the albergue. For my experience at the restaurant, read here.
As I arrived at the albergue a man greeted me at the door saying -“Do you need water? Do you need food?” The welcome blessed me. I had arrived at La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto (The Hut of the Grandfather Peuto). This albergue named after the founder Ernesto’s grandfather was famous for its hospitality.
This community hosts 70 pilgrims and there was a tangible love of Christ present there. To me, exhausted and weary, it felt like I had arrived in heaven on earth. The environment spoke peace. The man who greeted me said I was required to attend the community meeting that evening, and afterwards dinner would be served family style.
The grounds breathed peace. People were sitting around on the lawn, resting, journaling, chatting. Nannette was there journaling. Our friends Claudio and Lorenzo were there as well. An older woman hiking the Camino with her husband, saw Lorenzo looking at his bad blisters and spoke in French while gesturing for him to stay where he was.
In a moment she returned to him with a blister kit and her husband who explained how to care for blisters. They sewed a thread throug the blister and left it in there. Then, the blister drains naturally, and dries up.
Max, from Germany, was there. We had met briefly at one other albergue but had never spoken. He made it a point to say how much he hoped we would have a chance to connect. That afternoon, I slept, received a massage from the masseuse on staff, finished the video for the church, prayed, wrote and rested
Ernesto, the founder and leader, was the youngest of five children. He became a catholic priest and was assigned to this area at 25. The people were illiterate but hardworking, honest, with deep wisdom borne upon ages of survival. Instead of being their teacher Ernesto decided to learn from them. Learn what made their lives work as they did.
His desire to learn from people grew so he took a sabbatical and drove his Land Rover throughout Africa and Central and South America. He walked 800 km through the Andes. This took more than two years. All the while he interviewed groups of people learning from them.
Out of this experience, he decided to create this albergue. Taking his grandparents original house he then began to build this place now with several buildings. All labor free for it was built by the people of this area for the pilgrims. The people of the area still support it. They cook, clean and a local massage therapist offers his time.
There was no prayer at this gathering. But the whole experience was very spiritually rich for me.
There were 13 nations represented . One guy was there whom we had met along the road. He was riding his bike with this huge trailer pulled behind it. He stopped and spoke with us. He had been riding his bike around the world for four years. He had begun in his homeland of Argentina. He had ridden throughout South America then flew to Spain and to ride the Camino routes then I think he planned going further eventually through Europe and Russia. So far he had traveled 65,000 miles. Talk about a camino!
“Dear Brian,” wrote 10 year old Liam with love, “I hope you have a great time on your walk and be followed by God to keep safe.”
I loved his simplicity and encouragement. It was a good day to come to his simple hope for me.
I slept on the top of three bunks close to the ceiling. It was a good place to sleep. The only issue was when I needed to get down in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, picking my way around backpacks and other sleepers after I lowered myself down from my perch!