El Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Matthew 4:4

But He answered, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.””

Peregrino 2

Well, I really am getting down to the final few weeks before I leave on the pilgrimage of the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago de Compostela).  My ticket is dated April 3, 2013; four days after I become Catholic at the Easter Vigil at St. Peter the Apostle Church, Naples, Florida.  I thought I would use this post to bring my readers up to speed on what this is all about, and why I am doing this pilgrimage, and I shall.  What I must add though is a recent turn of events.

My parents have been trying to sell their apartment for the past year, so they can move into a retirement community.  They had no luck during that time to either sell their apartment or find a residence they liked, and it came to a point where they just decided to live out their remaining years where they are.  The road was clear for me to go on this pilgrimage, and I bought my ticket.  A couple of days later – you guessed it – they received an offer for their home, and found a new home at their preferred community; all in the same day.  If that’s not God working in their lives, I don’t know what is.  So here I am; aching a bit that my plans are postponed, but delighted that I am still around to get them both moved.  Again, God’s hand all over this one, as I had originally planned to walk in March/April, and I would have been gone by the time they received their offer to sell.

So let’s talk the Camino…. Continue reading El Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Your Call to Service

I had started another post some days back and had gotten a few pages into it.  I thought it sensible to progress my journey, as a new Christian, into the events of my education at the New Hope School of Ministries, and perhaps I shall return to that someday.  What became quite evident though was that the Holy Spirit knew all too well what needed to be said.  After a lot of mental doubt and the mysterious disappearance of the word file from my hard drive this past morning, I knew that nagging thought in the back of my mind needed to become an expression of my heart instead.  And so here I go.

Operation Shoebox – Guatemala – December 2009

Pastor Dwight, Kathryn, I, and a new friend, Dollea Herron, stepped through the doors of the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, and into a bright sun and the kind presence and care of Dany Mejia, director of operations for this mission trip.  Dany was a past student at the Living Water Teaching school in Xela, as well as a once-small child who benefited profoundly from just such a mission trip as we were about to embark upon. December was here and a crisp wind marked the coming of cold evenings and warm afternoons for the next week.

Along with some forty other volunteer missionaries, we stayed the night at a local motel before taking the four-hour bus ride into the central highlands of Guatemala.  Quetzaltenango, or Xela, is a bustling and dirty city, and our destination spread out across a plateau; surrounded entirely by a mountain ridge replete with active volcanoes that belched smoke on a routine basis.  The bus ride was a venture back into a time of the Mayan culture, and quite surreal as we found ourselves surrounded both by a world of simple ways and means and a modern society embracing all that is material.  Donkeys and motorcycles were parked side-by-side at the traveler’s restaurant where we ate breakfast that morning, and a wonderful breakfast it was.  The tortillas were handmade before our eyes by a young woman stationed at a wood-fired comal. The food was ‘typica’: a few salsas, tortillas, mashed beans, scrambled eggs, and fresh-squeezed juices, as well as a cafe dark and intense. Continue reading Your Call to Service

God Is With Us

So Somebody Put Out the Fire

God's Hand 2

Perhaps by now – for those who have read a few of my posts – you might think that all things in my life are in the hands of God, and He holds me with tender care and love.  I do feel His love and I shall always know that He loves me with an unquenchable fire.  I also know now that He must sometimes quench the heat of my pride in the waters that will temper my spirit to the strength that it must be in order to bring about righteous sanctification.  I imagine He’d rather see us all sanctified than “purgatorified”, though I also imagine only a few Saints, if any, have ever passed Go and collected Monopoly’s two-hundred dollars without some time in the waiting room.

God hands out no free passes and the trials we face are good opportunities to acknowledge the good path that God has set before us.  Suffering comes into trial when knowledge is in want and the lesson must be learned.  We all have those moments, as have I, and one such lesson I can recount here.

Over the past year I had worked with a client on the design of her new residence.  She had a spiritual mélange of experiences; Presbyterian, Christian Scientist, dabbles with Eastern mysticisms, and New Age encounters.  From this all came a mindset that saw truths as illusions and it played viciously against my efforts to move our project along a path of reality.  All discussion of design became subject to the most meticulous assessment of even the smallest of matters.  And decisions made through this process were continually reassessed in the form of long lists of repetitive thinking that wasted time, spawned endless dead-ends, and endorsed illogical design-processes.

This process created quite a maelstrom for my spirit and there were days when I came home physically ill from a long day with the client. I felt an intense pressure being exerted upon my spirit to another course of belief.  It was as if my client had the ability to directly interfere with my walk with my Lord; to confuse all faith and doctrine within me.  Honestly, I sensed evil.  Poorly, I had chosen my mind to deal with this trial rather than leaving it to God. Continue reading God Is With Us

How Deep Is Deep?

Deep Ocean 1I would like to return to my diary at this point in my posts.  While this blog, Travels of a New Christian, will delve into many matters, the constant impetus that drives my discourse on subjects is clearly the chronological events that took place from January 13, 2009, through today, and beyond; and so I regress to 2009.

I had, as one could imagine, many questions and thoughts regarding what had taken place in my life; God’s intervention, and the dramatic and sudden transformation of that life into something that few people did not recognize; and either marveled at it, was quite confused by it, of simply thought I was acting a bit unusual for someone they had seen so steady for so many years.  I certainly gave most of my family and friends the opportunity to hear all about it.  I was not shy on this matter.  I needed people to know what had taken place, and I needed them to know that God was real.

Part of what drove me forward with my spreading of the ‘good news’ (I had not read but a book or two from the New Testament, so I knew not what I was spreading) were the questions I had; both as to the nature of God, and to what I was experiencing as this new disciple.  Searching out the nature of God was a matter that drove me to look in all directions without exclusion to any.  It was more like fishing with a great net rather than with a baited hook.  All things in my throw were caught, examined for some purpose, released or consumed. I left few experiences without categorization; like the librarian codifying the library books, publications, and audio/visual materials.  Some experiences, though, remained obscure; hopefully to be understood at a later time.  Two such things were of particular interest to me, and I would find out later, they were inextricably linked together. Continue reading How Deep Is Deep?

God’s Work & My Work

It is January 20, 2009; one week after being born of the spirit.  The past week was quite fascinating; for all of my perceptions, assertions and beliefs about this world and any possibility of there being a God were chucked out-the-window for the truth that had miraculously became so real to me, and God hadn’t quite finished with me yet.  He wanted to make sure I knew that I had reached that shore that I wrote about in my letter.

This morning I awoke at 4:30am. As my body is lying in the bed and my mind is slowly passing through some space between unconsciousness and consciousness, I realize that my spirit is experiencing a vision from God.

I’m on that very shore now; the one I wrote about in my letter; the one just off in the distance from my raft and I.  The sun is bright, the sky is azure blue, and the sands are pure and smooth.  I’m lying on the sand, near the water’s edge.  Propped up on one elbow and looking about I recognize the setting, I smile and my contentment and peace is overwhelming.  I rise to my feet, look both ways up and down the shore line, and then turn to look into the vast growth of infinite, dark-green jungle in from the shore.

Again a smile, and I know what I am about to do.  Nothing will turn me away for my faith is complete.  I walk across the sands, and up to the edge of the jungle.  With a sweep of my arm, I move a branch before me and venture in.  The jungle is thick, dark, rich and inviting.  I awake as I disappear into the darkness of the jungle.Jungle 1

I was content with the vision, confirmed of God’s work upon me, amazed that I have been chosen, and without fear of the darkness I had walked into as I entered the jungle.  The last remark about fear was perhaps the most contradictory of feelings I thought I would have.  After all, we are taught to fear the darkness, and as I know now, the darkness seems to symbolize being separated from God, being lost, and in the presence of evil.  Yet I was quite anticipating and looking forward to this darkness. Continue reading God’s Work & My Work