In my previous post about why I walked the Camino de Santiago I mentioned doing research on potential short-term mission trips. As I walked, I was observing what needs there were for both the pilgrims and the locals. Obviously I didn’t have to observe some of the needs as I felt them firsthand.
The following ideas are simply that; ideas. That is all they can be at this point. The way we work, in GEM Teams, is we work with European partners who would benefit by having a short-term team come and serve alongside them. Without that, there will not be a short-term team. That being said, here are some potential ideas I thought about while on my way:
- Hike for a week and then serve somewhere for a week. Potentially finishing the whole Camino over 5 years.
- While hiking set up nightly discussions on topics such as hope, forgiveness, love, etc.
- Volunteer at Pilgrims’ Oasis in Viana, Spain
- Set up aid stations in particularly tough areas providing water, fruit, ice cream, etc.
- Take photos of people on the Camino with their phone or with a nice camera and email later
- Have massage therapists, physical therapists, doctors, and/or nurses help with injuries.
- Find a place to prepare communal meals for small or large groups and invite people to come and enjoy.
There are more ideas of places to stay and work, but these ideas are the ones I think are the most likely to work. Depending on the group we could potentially get to come, any, all or none of these ideas might work. I made some contacts along the way and I’m excited for the potential of how we can serve those on the Way.
I want to take time today to show everyone just what GEM is doing in Europe. Often times when I talk to people about what I will be doing, I forget to get excited about what GEM is doing in Europe. I am completely excited about it, but too often I forget to convey that to others for one reason or another. It might be because I have told the story of what I will be doing about 3,965, 422 times (maybe a slight exaggeration) or it might be because I will be sitting at a computer most days, but either way I am excited and I want you all to know why.
First let me refer you to an article written by a GEM missionary and posted on GEM’s website. It is titled, “Europe is Ripe for the Gospel” and if that doesn’t get me and you excited then I am not sure what will. I encourage you to go read the full thing, but I will summarize it as well. Basically the author talks about a recent trip to four major cities in three different countries and the effects of their prayers during their 6 day trip. They prayer-walked (praying about an area while walking through it) for 8-12 hours and made a commitment to talk to interact in some way with 15-30 people each day. The author said he left the trip with four blisters on his feet. Their 6 day trip led to 8 people being led to a relationship with Christ. That is a pretty amazing average, two new relationships with Christ per blister!
What’s is so amazing is that is just one way God has been moving in Europe. Their are countless more stories from the other missionaries in GEM. Quarterly all of the missionaries in the field report back on what they have accomplished during the past three months. The graphic below shows the results of the survey that they filled out. Feel free to peruse the whole thing, but let me point out a few things. In addition to helping people start new relationships with Christ, GEM is also equipping others for ministry. The equipping and resourcing columns best represent what I will spend the majority of my time on. In 3 months GEM has equipped 1,491 people for ministry, Almost half of which were given reproducible ideas that could help them take their knowledge beyond themselves and 130 of those people definitely did share the tools GEM gave them. I think that is pretty cool and I can’t wait to help get that number even higher!