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Sojourning – how it’s done

As we Sojourn, one may wonder how it’s done, or how we get through. This Tale provides a bit of a background into what goes on behind the scenes to Sojourning in 2015. Each of these are graces, graces that we could not do without and without them, Sojourning in 2015 would not have been possible…

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“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” – Proverbs 16:9 Planning our next move at Venice train station.

The meaning of the word “grace” in:

English: Grace is an unmerited gift to an undeserved receiver by an unobligated giver.

Greek: Χάριτος αποτελεί άδικος δώρο σε άδικο δέκτη από unobligated δωρητή.

Italian: La grazia è un dono immeritato di un ricevitore immeritata da parte di un datore unobligated.

German: Gnade ist ein unverdientes Geschenk an eine unverdiente Empfänger durch eine unobligated Geber.

Dutch: Genade is een onverdiende gift aan een onverdiende ontvanger door een unobligated gever.

French: Grace est un don immérité à un récepteur imméritée par un donneur non engagé.

 

Food: grocery/supermarket/minimarket shopping keeps it varied and cheap.

Supermarket shopping to survive, not only in Dubrovnik, Croatia - arguably Europe’s most expensive city, tries to keep sojourning as cheap as possible.

Supermarket shopping in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to keep sojourning as cheap as possible.

 

Good home: a reliable tent that can withstand the harshest of conditions.

Camping in Ayder - remote north-east Turkey, where incessant rain hampered our home relentlessly for about 18 hours a day (our tent is the brown one on the bottom left).

Camping in Ayder – remote north-east Turkey, where rain hampered our home relentlessly for about 18 hours a day (our home is the brown one on the bottom left). This was a rare sunny moment.

 

Budgeting: keeping ‘tabs’ daily helps with getting through over the long term.

We each had our particular daily responsibilities - here Lisa evokes her natural gift in this area.

We each had our particular daily responsibilities – here Lisa uses her natural gift in this area.

 

Stretching: daily stretching of our bodies keeps us physically supple for the constant moving about.

Kung Fu? No, just Joseph trying to bring in the funny side to what can become somewhat of a daily chore, yet so vital to our physical wellbeing - Lido Valderice, Sicily.

Kung Fu? No, just Joseph trying to bring in the funny side to what can become somewhat of a daily chore, yet so vital to our physical wellbeing – Lido Valderice, Sicily.

 

Equipment: reliable kit must provide the following: fit-for-use, multi-use, lightweight, easy to dry/wick away, compact, waterproof, small.

This is all we required and sojourned with for 8 months.

This is all we required and sojourned with for 8 months.

 

Kit: Some of our favourite brands used (we are in no way sponsored by any of these):

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Adaptation: to almost anything, anywhere, anytime; be prepared to eat anything – food is precious!

About to tuck into a never-before-eaten Currywurst with extended family in Berlin, Germany.

About to tuck into a never-before-eaten Currywurst with extended family in Berlin, Germany (not the guy on the far left though!). Yummy!

 

Most valued travel items: Duct tape, Neoprene glue and Super Glue.

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Ongoing stewardship of our equipment is important for sojourning.

 

The most important: relying on God.

Every evening we go to sleep and each morning we wake up and every breath we take we know is a gift to us from God, so we thank him and trust him before we start each day’s onward journey.

Every evening we go to sleep and each morning we wake up and every breath we take we know is a gift to us from God, so we thank him and trust him before we start each day’s onward journey (Polis, Cyprus).

 

While these are all important, ultimately all these graces come from a far larger, more reliable and overarching one:

The Grace of God!

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Provided for in the saving grace through God’s Son, Jesus, without the grace of God, Sojourning in 2015 would not have been possible. It is Jesus, our ultimate Trailblazer, whom we are inspired by and to whom we aspire to be like (Jesus inscription on the GR20 trail, Corsica, France).

 

In our sojourning, so we keep in mind what a Trailblazer of antiquity, the Apostle Paul, once said:

“I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:13-14

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Common language – Marathon Trail Sierra Norte

By the time we arrived in Spain, we had got used to navigating through the language barriers of the various countries we had passed through using Google Translate. Taking part in the inaugural Marathon Trail Sierra Norte, as part of a shorter version of the Ultra Trail race just north of Seville, proved to be even more of a challenge language-wise, or was it not?

Route

For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, go to http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=11871485

Run through part of the Sierra Norte National Park and between the villages of Almadén de la Plata and Castiblanco de los Arroyos, two villages synonymous with the famous Camino de Santiago, the Marathon Trail Sierra Norte took in some amazing vistas and technical terrain underfoot on a beautifully clear afternoon and evening.

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Language barriers? We did not understand much, but we managed to communicate with the race organisers somehow and got to know the ins and outs of the race and what it required kit-wise. This Tale highlights the running of this challenging, yet well organised marathon trail – ‘language’ barriers and all.

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Registration – hand gestures with a bit of English and broken Spanish in the mix!

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The organisers arranged that we sleep overnight in the local sports hall in Castiblanco de los Arroyos – perfect indoor camping spot. There were hot showers so all was good!

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Enjoying a Café con leche, a traditional local ‘coffee with milk’ drink before the start, with Joseph’s supporter Lisa.

The start of the marathon trail and quaint village of Almadén de la Plata is distinctively Spanish.

The start of the marathon trail and quaint village of Almadén de la Plata is distinctively Spanish.

We could not understand a word each of us were saying to each, yet something got this Spanish local to place his hat of Joseph's head - maybe he understood some 'language'...

We could not understand a word each of us were saying, yet something got this Spanish local to place his hat on Joseph’s head – maybe he understood some ‘language’…

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The start!

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Almadén de la Plata

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10 km in and Joseph’s hydration pack sprung a leak. Asking for a bottle to carry water at the first water station did not prove too difficult language-wise – the officials understood the ‘language of trail running’ and what was required!

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20km in and the sweet spot was found as the joy of running with others who speak the same ‘language’ was felt! No need to speak – just run…that’s the language!

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30kms in and it was a case of some night trail running to the finish line.

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No matter what language we spoke verbally, trail running was the common language at the Marathon Trail Sierra Norte, which proved to be an iconic trail race in Spain.

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It’s always a team effort!

We cannot speak Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, Croatian, Italian, German (okay maybe just a very little bit), French or Spanish, but we can speak the ‘language of trail running’, and that ‘language’ is universal!

For the results of the race, go here.

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Sojourning so far

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Journeying – Part 3

We are all on a journey. Each of our journeys have reasons behind them. The Apostle Paul had a reason behind his well-known Missionary Journeys. Christianity, the only religion in the world which places so much significance on places, largely has Paul to thank in its spread. The Apostle Paul has been one of the reasons for us embarking on our Sojourning in 2015. Following on from Part 2, and while not exhaustive, this Tale, Part 3 of 3, highlights the places in Israel, Cyprus, Malta and Italy where the Apostle Paul first Trailblazed with the Christian message and which we were privileged to visit.

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Paul’s Missionary Journeys and journey to Rome

Paul’s reason behind his journeys was to spread the Christian message, also known as the gospel : “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” – Ephesians 3:7-9 (click on the pics to view larger images; brown words are clickable links).

 

Israel

Jerusalem

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Luke, Paul’s travelling companion, writes: “When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done”” – Acts 21:12-14

 

Cyprus

Salamis

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“When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them” – Acts 13:5

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Paphos

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“When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain [man]” – Acts 13:6-7 (brackets added)

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“Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia” – Acts 13:13

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Malta

“Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf” – Acts 27:39-41

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St Paul’s Bay depicting the traditional place of the shipwreck: “After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold” – Acts 28:1-2

 

Italy

Puteoli

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“Putting in at Syracuse [Sicily], we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome” – Acts 28-12-14 (brackets added)

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Via Appia Antica

The road by which Paul would have made his last steps into Rome: “And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us” – Acts 28:15

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Rome

“And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him” – Acts 28:16

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Long before he arrived in Rome, Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome, known as the book of Romans which tells of the good news of the gospel.

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Traditionally, it is held that Paul died as a martyr under the rulership of the Emperor Nero in Rome.

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Statue showing the Apostle Paul at the church St Paul’s outside the Walls (it is not traditionally known that Paul would have been armed with a sword!)

 

The Apostle Paul was a Trailblazer, a Trailblazer for and of the Christian message. The Christian message is the gospel. Simply, the gospel is this:

Paul wrote: “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” – 2 Corinthians 11:24-28

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Map credits:

http://www.allaboutturkey.com/highres/photos/photo_27.html

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/25256/The-Book-of-Acts-A-Historical-Analysis/#vars!date=0045-04-12_14:36:54!