Cafés filling for breakfast; traffic on snooze for Saturday morning; the tap, tap of walking poles; modern buildings giving way to ancient; Galician bagpipes blasting out merrily; a crowd gathering excitedly; music amplified raucously; spires reaching for the heavens. These were the sights and sounds as I walked into Santiago de Compostela around 9.15am on 5th October at the end of my pilgrimage on the Camino.
These were not the only things that I saw and heard. We remember things differently. You would have observed things that I do not, and vice versa. We have selective memories and choose what to report and what to keep to ourselves. There are things I have not yet reported, and I cannot keep to myself. If I did, I would be as guilty as the priest and Levite who walked by on the other side, in Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan. The heavily pregnant woman who knelt in silence in the middle of the path on the way to the Cathedral, a small pot in front of her. The dishevelled man outside the entrance to the Cathedral, his eyes pleading, his begging bowl waiting.
It’s not my practice to give money to such as these. They say it only exacerbates the problem. The more who give, the more who beg. Also, I don’t know their circumstances. Are they genuinely in need? Or are they there for easy pickings? I avoid making eye contact. I appear to ignore them. Yet I hear the words of Jesus ringing in my ears, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ I cannot help all, but neither can I ignore all.
My response through walking the Camino has been to invite sponsorship for Toybox, whose mission is ‘changing the world for Street Children’. Toybox works in countries such as Bolivia and El Salvador, Nepal and Kenya. Toybox exists to see:
· A World with no Street Children
· No child living on the streets
· No child working on the streets
· Every child safe from exploitation
· Every child safe from traffickers
Toybox does everything it can to target those in genuine need. I know this because one of the staff is a member of my church, and she makes regular visits to ensure that it is the case.
I’ve been hugely encouraged and amazed at the generosity of the many who have sponsored me. All of this giving goes to Toybox. At the time of writing, it looks like together we will have raised over £2000. That’s awesome! It’s not too late to add to that if you would like to. Below, you’ll find details of how. Thank you so much for your support of me on the Camino, for your giving, praying and encouraging.
Please scroll down to my blog of 4 July 2019 for more details about how to support Toybox through my giving page orhttps://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TimEdworthy