Oct. 30, 2020

When Philip first walked the Camino trail in 2014, nothing changed immediately - but something deeper was happening under the surface. Four years later, he decided to walk the trail again, but this time he brought a Bible...
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He shared, “The first time I walked I was not a believer, and I remember being prayed for at the Pilgrim House when I was there - but I didn’t know God then. When I walked again four years ago, I read the Bible a lot and felt like God was speaking to me and grabbing me. And I became a believer during that Camino!"
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Pray for Philip as he continues to grow closer to Jesus, and for other Pilgrims like him to also encounter God!

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The end of September doesn't feel that long ago. I'm still processing the 5-day journey my friend Jordan and I took together along a section of the Appalachian Trail (AT). It was many moons ago when I threw out the idea to Jordan about walking part of the AT together and after much discussion, planning, and intention setting we were dropped off by her father and left to the wilderness on our own.


If you look closely at the photo above you can see my Camino shell hanging from my bag. I haven't made a pilgrimage without it–it's been with me over 500 miles of El Camino Frances, 25 miles of the Japanese Kumano Kodo, and now 29 miles of the AT. We spent our strides and one-day tent-bound (due to crazy storms) pushing into our individual mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual intentions. Thank you to everyone who was praying for us and our safety! Thankfully we never saw a bear...although we did hear a pack of coyotes VERY close to our campsite one night.

A lot of my time was spent asking the Lord to reveal the core fears and lies I have been believing and letting influence my life, my actions. Woof. WE ALL HAVE THEM. Do you know what any of yours are? Well, the super cool thing was that as I got really vulnerable and real humble before the Lord He gracefully and gently led me to some fears and beliefs I was letting get in the way of fully living. Isn't He so good?

The next step is acknowledging those challenging areas and surrendering to the Lord in the process of letting Him heal, replace, and restore! He's walking me through these areas with worship, with scripture, with words of affirmation, with testimony. Golly, am I thankful for a graceful and loving Father who desires to see me WHOLE!

I'm so glad that Jo and I took the time to walk our own stateside Camino. We made the space and He met us there. I know not everyone can get away...but, a Camino journey doesn't have to look like 5 days on a trail or a month walking cross-country.

Making space to get away with the Lord with set intentions.
What Camino experience could you create for yourself?
Maybe that looks like a morning walk for 3 days, or a trip to your closest State Park for a day in nature with journal and pen in hand, perhaps it's an hour of closed eyes and meditation where you allow the Lord to lead you on a journey with Him. Whatever your Camino...YOUR Camino is YOUR Camino.

I'd love to hear about it if you do one of your own! Send me a message and tell me about it!


Buen Camino, Gabe

Oct. 9, 2020

written by a staff member of the Pilgrim House

In the last few weeks, we have had a few more pilgrims coming through which has been encouraging. It has been such a gift getting to see Pilgrim House as a useful space for Pilgrims. With more guests visiting the space, we have been able to have some significant conversations and offer our services in encouraging ways. 

One pilgrim came with an interesting request...he was actively looking for a place he could light a candle, this particular pilgrim shared with us a bit of the heavyweight he had carried on his pilgrimage. One of our Pilgrim House directors showed him to our backroom - a place intentionally set aside for quiet and peace. 

After leaving for a bit, the man came back and lit a customized candle he had carried with him bearing his granddaughter's name. A granddaughter who at just a few months old, is not expected to live long.

As this grieving man, hurting for his son and for his granddaughter, sat in our back room, I found myself praying for him and his family, struck by the gift that it was to participate in his life and share his pain even in this small way.

When he came out to head on his way, he looked in our eyes and said:

"Thank you - I was able to leave some weight behind here today."

For me, this interchange was a significant one. So many of us find ourselves with heavy things to carry and it's easy to get so caught up carrying them that we forget about what many others are facing. Some of our guests have been homeless, some struggling with health problems, some seemingly alone in the world, burdened with significant traumas. 

But even with our more difficult guests, when they are bitter or angry or confused, there's something incredibly special about getting to know them. In all of our brokenness, there remain such beautiful things to be found. It's striking at times to get to stand before, or sit alongside, some of these new acquaintances and see the lives they've lived and the adversity they've endured. 

To watch them come in burdened and leave a little bit lighter, come in angry and disheartened and leave with a smile, come in feeling alone, and leave having been heard at least a little - it's a profound gift to participate in these moments of transformation. 

Thank you for your support that makes this possible.
Thank you for your encouragement and investment.
Thank you for your prayers.

- M.M.


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