As I walk up to the Guest House the first morning, I immediately notice the beautiful door with the ivy climbing up the wall next to it. The volunteers at a hostel in Northern Spain, including me and the two other girls from America, walk through the beautiful wooden door.
The volunteer community of the hostel, named Oasis Trails, meets here every weekday at 10:15 for daily fellowship. The people who run this ministry emphasize community and being in fellowship together regularly.
Michele, who helps run Oasis Trails, often says, “We don’t go to Church we are the Church.”
She believes Christians needs to meet regularly, not only on Sunday.
“We are the body of Christ” she tells me. “Church is not something we go to, but something we are.” She helped create this community that meets together to worship and have fellowship six days a week. She wants it to be a place where everyone can be there for each other, like the early Church.
As I enter the Guest House, I am led into the small room off of the kitchen. The team sits around on chairs, or even the floor, as we laugh and fellowship. We share coffee and some cookies that sit in a small tin in the middle of the coffee table.
I smile as I look around the room, I am surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ and even though I don’t know them well yet, it is a sweet fellowship.
Soon after, I find myself sitting in a room covered in carpets with seats around the room in every shape: benches, big chairs, a small couch, even a bean bag. I listen as they share prayer requests and stories of people we encountered the day before. We pray for the pilgrims that we have met and those that will come and stay at the hostel that night.
Light pours in from the only light source in the room, a window in the corner. Soon voices fill the small room as we sing worship songs together. All kinds of voices fill the room, men and women, older and younger, some Dutch, Italian, American even Australian.
Michele shares from Colossians talking about encouragement and our role in the Body of Christ. In the room we share what is on our hearts and Scripture that comes to mind, building each other up. There is little structure to the time, and often, songs or scripture are brought up as members feel led letting this time go where the Holy Spirit leads
Later that day, we all go back to the hostel and serve, work, cook, clean, and eat together. It is a community that does life together. Hardships, joys, frustrations and laughter are shared. It’s a beautiful way of living. As we do ministry, we know that the others are there to support us being the Church God has called His people to be.
I pray that as I go back home, I can bring the values and rhythms into my community and the way I fellowship with believers.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hannah Ruth Branson is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves in Viana, Spain.