Jim’s Blog

  • Jim and “The Way of St. James”
    People from all over say, “I was changed by the Way of St. James”

    What’s so special about the Way of St. James?

    The Way of St. James, known in Spain as “El Camino de Santiago” is a simple path or set of paths that all converge on the city of Santiago de Compostela (St. James of the Starfield). According to the story, one night in AD 813 a hermit living in the fields near Santiago, Galicia heard wondrous music and saw heavenly starlight. He followed it and discovered the place where James, one of the two Zebedee brothers had been buried in AD 40. One tradition states that James was a missionary in Spain around the year 40. He evangelized from Galicia all the way to the area near the modern day city of Zaragoza (then called Ceasar Agusta after the Roman Emperor).

    James: buried in Spain??

    [If you are a fan of the historical fiction movie “Gladiator” you know that Maximus, the Roman general who was imprisoned and forced to fight as a gladiator was from Spain. He had his family estate near Caesaragosto on the Ebro River. Just like Paul wanted to go to Spain to evangelize Jews and Gentiles there, tradition says James actually did get to Spain. He was not very successful in reaching people.

    James died in Jerusalem

    The legend says that James returned to Jerusalem to report on his mission in Caesaraugusta and there King Herod had him executed (Acts 12:2-3). His disciples purportedly took his body and buried his bones back in Galicia, Spain. They took James across the Meditarranean and up the Atlantic Coast. His body was transported the last distance up the rive Ulla in a stone boat. (One of the many boats carrying granite to and from constructions sites in Galicia). Its not this story of the AD 40 bones of a dead apostle re-discovered in AD 813 that is the chief draw these days. What is the draw you may ask? Read on.

    It’s not about the destination! It’s about what happens to you “on the way”!


    Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and adventurers walk hundreds of miles every year to get to the City of St. James. Almost without variance they say the experience of walking together for days with friends was great. And making new acquaintances from around the world was worth as much and more than reaching the destination; Santiago. The daily physical exercise gives needed brain breaks from emotional pain, monotony, depression, sorrow, hectic living and urban suffocation. It offers long hours to meditate, decompress and think about “The One That Really Matters”. And God speaks in the silence!

    The pain of walking miles is a small price to pay for the mental and spiritual benefits.
    I was changed by the Way of St. James

    Adventure and spiritual hunger

    Between 300,000 and 500,000 pilgrims travel on foot from different starting points to Santiago de Compostela and its famed Cathedral every year. 30,000 pass through the city of Pontevedra, where we live. We meet many of these pilgrims in the village church and rectory of Alba just north of Pontevedra. We give them encouraging words and let them experience the love of God shed abroad in us by the Holy Spirit. We also answer any questions pertaining to our spiritual journey with Jesus.

    God shared a secret with me!

    My name is “James” or “Santiago” or “Diego” in Spanish. While a friend was praying for me during a ministry equipping session in April 2021, God suddenly broke in and spoke to me in an “inner audible voice”. She was praying beautiful things aloud and I was listening to the following words within on a different channel. God said with a playful tone of voice in Spanish (a very good quality Spanish I might add!!: go figure!!) the equivalent of the following. “It stands to reason that I’m calling you to live on the Camino de Santiago. Isn’t your name Santiago? I had you named that on purpose when you were born.”

    People will come looking for answers!

    I heard Him say in my spirit this additional thought. “A new Camino de Santiago will start. On this Way of St. James people will come to your doorstep, Jim, so they can ask questions about ME (God) and the Story I have told about Jesus. They will also experience heaven on earth: the life of God in Christ in the heart of connected believers. (This will be a Camino or “Way to St. James” – i.e. Way to Jim DeJong’s Place in Pontevedra) not just to the famous cathedral of St. James one hour north of Pontevedra.)” So we are here now and look forward to seeing how God will work together with us to fulfill this promise and to multiply workers who He can thrust out into the harvest.

    Why do the pilgrimage?

    Many pilgrims make the journey to process difficult life events like divorce, a recent death in the family, the loss of a lifelong job etc.. They need a place to process hurts & hungers, a place to be healed and to ask questions. A place to metabolize pain and past traumas. They will be seeking to know Jesus and they will find him there. They will find His answers to their life questions. The Lord indicated to me that He would love it if our home became like a new version of L’Abri, the prayer and study and meditation center that Francis Schaeffer and his wife started in Switzerland in 1955. So here’s to NEW ADVENTURES WITH GOD! Cheers! Buen Camino!

  • Life is a Pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage: Single file or all together we learn in life from those we walk with.

    We are not in Spain yet but we are on the WAY.
    If life is a pilgrimage, and God is on it with us, then the journey is often as important as the destination.

    We haven’t arrived in Spain yet, but we sent in all the original documents to the Spanish Consulate last week, so the visa processing will start on Tuesday despite COVID slowdowns. And great news! The consulate told us to send in all the documents by mail and include a pre-paid return envelope, so they can mail the passports back to us. We will not have to take any 5-hour drives from Redding to the consulate in San Francisco. Yay God!
    Life is a pilgrimage and we are walking it with Jesus. We are also learning to enjoy everything we learn on the way. The journey gets you ready for the destination.

    Life is a pilgrimage: Building Relational Capacity On the Way is a goal

    Life is a pilgrimage designed to grow us into our best selves. We mature because we walk this pilgrimage WITH OTHERS and this requires growing in relational capacity. This is what my wife Dawn and I have been doing as we progress through life. The above books and LK10 below are several resources that we have been digging into over the last two months. The mature character that one needs in order to parent well or work well in school systems and lead churches comes at the cost of working to stay in relationship with others. Meaningful relationships don’t require that we be perfect, but we must be authentic. We call it living “Life on the Way” (or Camino Life), instead of waiting to get to the destination to really live.

    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage: Luke 10 trains believers to hear Jesus, follow His lead, and walk together in unity

    Life is a pilgrimage: Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.

    Jesus served others well as he walked with them or called them to walk with Him. For example, he trained and provided for his disciples, he loved his neighbors well, and He was his brother’s and sister’s keeper. Jesus demonstrated the attributes of a Good King (i.e. a Good Shepherd), a Fully Obedient Loving Son and a protective Firstborn Son/ Elder Brother. These are the attributes God is growing in each of us too. Remember, life is a pilgrimage. God walks with us, and he helps us learn to stay in relationship despite pain and suffering like Jesus did on the cross. It makes sense right? When the Holy Spirit entered our lives we were also filled with the presence of the Father and of Jesus right? (John 14:16:20, 23)

    Can you see Jesus? Is He fully formed in you yet?

    Life is a pilgrimage. Do you look like your leader yet?

    The Father’s plan and calling for each of us is to make disciples that look like Jesus our Lord. Matthew 28:19 says, “As you go (on your way with Jesus), make disciples”. So Jesus was saying that life is a pilgrimage. Of course our disciples will also look like us because we look like Jesus. They see him reflected in us. Jesus is building His church: us. He is building us into His likeness by growing us in joyful, deeply connected relationships/groups. We grow together in love despite our differences and failings. So…

    Life is a pilgrimage!

    Why did we choose the name ‘Camino Life’ for our Non-profit corporation?

    Camino means the “Way”, “pathway” or “road” and by extension “pilgrimage route” in Spanish. And remember, Life is a Pilgrimage. The Camino de Santiago or “Way of St. James”, is a centuries old network of pilgrimage trails. It happens to be the single largest tourist draw in the region of Galicia where we will be living this next year. This “Camino” or “Pilgrimage” “Way” draws hundreds of thousands of hungry expectant pilgrims every year. Their destination is the city of Santiago de Compostela, just north of Pontevedra where we plan to live.  We plan to help out a few days a week with friends who have a ministry to pilgrims so the idea of “The Camino” was in the front of our minds.

    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage: Uphill climbs are easier when you are with friends & following an experienced leader.

    Is the idea of “Camino” or “The Way” in the Bible?

    Yes, it is. The first followers of Jesus were from Judea and Galilee. They congregated in homes to build each other up, pray, worship, eat and do life together. They were not called “Christians”. People called them ‘those who “belong to the Way (Acts 9:2 etc.)”. I had just read an article called What does it mean to follow The WAY?” This inspired me to suggest the name “Life on the Way” or “Camino Life” since we will be living in Spain, starting a disciple making movement of small groups learning to live together in deeply connected relationships as they follow Jesus, and living in a city located on the famous Camino de Santiago.

    Why were Jesus’ Followers called “Those of the WAY”?

    It is of course much bigger than the Camino de Santiago. “The Way” referred to the “Exodus journey” that Israel took as they walked out of Egypt following Moses and the Pillar of Cloud. After the Shema, Moses reminded the Israelites to talk about God when they “walked on the way” with their family (Deut 6:7). “The Way” also referred to the way that opened up through the Jordan River and into the promised land 40 years later under Joshua’s lead. The WAY is a metaphor for LIFE CHANGE: walking out of your old life and into a NEW LIFE with “others of like mind” led by God and God empowered men and women.

    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage. The Israelites followed Moses and God through the Wilderness for 40 years.

    Who first said, “Prepare the Way of the Lord”?

    Isaiah made “the WAY” famous! In chapter 40 verse 3. This was the beginning of God’s promises to restore Israel from their exile in Babylon, Isaiah wrote “Prepare the Way of Yahweh”. Yahweh makes a way to return or repent. With God Failure and Disobedience don’t have to be FINAL. Malachi also made the WAY famous when he wrote in chapter 3 verse 1 “Behold, I am sending my messenger and he will clear a ‘way‘ for me”. This WAY of course was Jesus: the Way, the Truth, and the Life that leads to the Father. Both passages were so famous that John the Baptist preached them together in his Jordan River sermons in Mark.

    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage. For 40 days post-baptism Jesus walked in the desert and passed every test Israel failed.

    JESUS succeeded where every other Old Testament leader failed

    JESUS fulfilled every promised “word” spoken by the prophets about a Coming Better Savior.

    According to God’s Story, Jesus is the WAY back to Right Relationship with God. He crushes the head of the serpent. Jesus is a Better Moses leading us all on a better Exodus WAY out of SIN and out of Satan’s power. Jesus leads exiles on a (HIGH)WAY back from Exile. He is also a Better Joshua leading all people on a Better WAY into a better Promised Land of Blessing. His prayer was that life On Earth would be as it is in Heaven.

    Life is a pilgrimage!
    Life is a pilgrimage. It is the people you meet in life that will change you the most if you walk together!

    CAMINO LIFE came from three impulses:

    1) We are a people who find ‘LIFE’ walking on the Way with Jesus. Like the couple on the “Way (road) to Emmaus”, our hearts burn when Jesus shows up. We will tell our English students in Pontevedra and pilgrims passing through town on the Camino de Santiago about the “change experience”, so that they can encounter Jesus.

    2) We plan to “walk the road of life together with these new “Changed Ones”. All of us will be at different levels of transformation and maturity, but we will grow together in love. It is an exodus “out of our past way of living” or a type of “returning to God from exile”. (Col 2:1-3)

    3) We are all walking on The PILGRIMAGE WAY with JESUS into “a BETTER promised land” Loving God and Loving our Neighbor well. We are being built up into the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:13; Eph 1:23; Col 2:9-10)


    Transformation and maturity of character take place as we walk together “On the Way” in a joy-fueled community and this grows us into Christ-likeness. Life on the WAY is about loving God whom we can’t see and learning to love our neighbors whom we can see as we love our self, and learning to love one another as Jesus loved us. This summarizes the Law and the Prophets.

    *[See the article by G.K Beale p. 856 ff. in “A New Testament Biblical Theology” to understand in a more detailed manner what God meant when He talked about “The Followers of the Way”.]