Saint Arthur of Villamayor de Monjardins

Ha! Although I probably do deserve sainthood or beatification, or something after one week working at this albergue (hostel) (dormitory type hotel)…

Actually, it has been a blast. The days have been long, but full and fun, working with 5 other volunteers from Holland. Bert is the leader, has been here before and will be here a total of 7 months. Bert directs traffic, physically as well as spiritually, he is a pleasure to serve under, lots of fun, but with a true heart after God– to know him and to make him known. His girlfriend just arrived a couple of days ago. Betty worked here last year under Bert’s leadership for a period of time, and romance bloomed! Niels and Josie are a beautiful couple married for less than one year who will also spend the entire 7 months serving, and they also are just the greatest to work with and for. Martine is a young dutch man who was walking the Camino and stopped in here a few weeks ago and ended up staying to volunteer and serve. He and I have become fast friends, always joking with one another as well as encouraging one another.

Pictures follow that tell a bit of a day in the life at the albergue…

Pilgrims on their way toward Santiago de CompostelaEarly morning in Villamayor de Monjardins, population 120 (122 now that Julee and I are here).  Pilgrims are on their way in the rain after breakfast in the albergue.

After breakfast, everyone pitches in to clean.  Bathrooms are cleaned and floors mopped each day…

Bert and Martine devoutly leading our prayer time with the lovely Betty looking on…

When the weather is wet, laundry hangs everyplace inside the hostel

Bert and Betty heating up last night’s dinner leftovers for lunch.  Lunch is informal, at your own discretion as only breakfast and dinner are served to the pilgrims.

Julee has been very sick with the flu the last several days. The staff came up to join me in praying for her recovery, and Bert sang her a song to cheer her up. She preferred to not be in the picture, so you see only the outline of her legs under the bedspread in our bedroom!  A pilgrim who is a doctor saw her last night and diagnosed the flu, and told her to get some antibiotics if she isn’t well in the next few days. Please say a prayer for her!

A pilgrim arrives as Martine is at the desk registering the guests. The first couple of days we could set up outside in the sunshine and do this, but the last few days have been wet and cool, so the fire is lit so that the pilgrims have a room to warm up in, and clothes racks to hang their wet things. It costs about $7 for a room, $12 for the optional dinner (which is abundant, and good, lots of vegetables, salad, small dessert, and of course wine from the local winery), and optional $7 for a nice breakfast; $20 euro all inclusive!

Meanwhile, Niels and Josie are preparing dinner.  There is always some energetic music going during dinner prep.  I walked in on Bert and Martine the day before, and they had some uptempo gospel music turned up; Bert was banging away on pots and pans with large utensils, while Martine was at the microwave turning the timer off and on in time to the music, “ting”, “ting”, “ting”…

Dinner is served at 6:30 PM.  Much too early for the Spaniards, who normally don’t dine until 9 PM at the earliest.  Half of them usually choose to eat at the bar down the way later.  But most pilgrims eat with us. Pictured are about 20 people from last night representing 8 countries: Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Canada, Argentina, and England. There have been very few from the U.S. so far.  We say a prayer before dinner, hand out a gospel of John in whatever language is appropriate just before dessert, and then invite them all to a “meditation time” after dinner for about a half hour starting at 8:30 PM.  Some are so tired, they are asleep by then, but we usually have from 4 to 10 or so that come.  Soft music is played, and some scripture is shared inbetween long periods of silence.  Low key, relaxing.  Afterwards, tea is served, conversations are held in small groups, and perhaps a pilgrim is prayed for at his or her’s request.  All very natural and “in the Spirit”, not religious or pushy!  Then we clean up, and the staff will sit and debrief over more tea and maybe some cookies and chocolate, often until 11 PM.

There is a schedule made out weekly, and everyone does everything, on a rotation basis.  My favorite job is “hospitalero”, the one that welcomes and registers the pilgrims, shows them to their bed (23 beds in a total of 4 rooms), and hosts the dinner time.

Such is a day in the life here for Saint Arthur and Princess Julee…

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13 Responses to Saint Arthur of Villamayor de Monjardins

  1. Kurt Hand says:

    Thanks for the description of your work. I am no longer jealous! Hope Julee feels better quickly, said a prayer for her. You mind if I share the toilet picture with Team? And most people think the VPs don’t get dirty! Take care.

  2. Tom Twedt says:

    What a wonderful treat to wake up Saturday morning and read about what the Lord is doing half way around the world (complete with pictures). Isn’t it humbling and amazing that He chooses to accomplish His work by using His people (who are experiencing His love through their servanthood), two of which Becky and I are blessed to count as friends!

  3. Kurt Hand says:

    PS Hope you have a blessed Easter. He is risen!

  4. Mindy says:

    Thank you so much for pictures and detailed report!! 🙂
    Trinity and I just prayed for Julee’s healing, encouragement and peace.
    We love you guys so much!

  5. Jan Timpers says:

    Best unknown Arthur,
    Nice to read about your experiences in Spain.
    Also good te see that you serve so much people. If you do so you also serve our risen Lord, and show how it is to be His deciple!
    We wish you Gods blessing, and ask you to greet Martijn de Graaf from Holland.

    Have a blessed Easter and more lovely days in your hostel!

    Jan&Beitske Timpers

    PS Toilet-claners will have the best places in heaven!

  6. Ernie says:

    Loved the blog. Wish I was there. I could cook !!!! Tell Julee that we are praying hard for her, and we know He listens to us. Hugs to all of you. Mom

  7. Kris Nicklaus says:

    It looks like an awsome place and the people sound really great! My best to Julee! BTW, antibiotics will not help a virus (flu). If the flu doesn’t pass she should see a good doctor somewhere.

    Love ya, Kris

  8. Bill Denson says:


    I have so enjoyed the pictures and commentary. This old Dawg is learning new tricks. I figured out how the set a notification everytime You or Julee make comments. I am so proud of you guys. You are actually living your dream, or should I say living your calling. God has a plan for everyone and it is obvious you guys are in the midst of his plan for you. I hope to travel one day soon to see the 2 of you. Don’t know when or where, but it will happen. Pat & I really love you guys and what you are doing each day, Sharing God’s word, Christain fellowship and just being you will be enough for many…”God fed many with little”

    Bill & Pat Dnson

  9. Melody Cahill says:

    Lovely description of your days there and the special people you are serving with. What a joyous time for you and Julee! I know that you are a blessing to your fellow staff, as well as the pilgrims.

  10. Jen Kilts says:

    Thanks for blogging your journey! It is so awesome to be able to walk it with you two!! I prayed for Ms. Julee too give her kisses from the Kilts! Thinking of you guys often!

    Jake is staying up with John and seeing if he would like to intern this summer… Tell Julee thanks for pursuing Jake to give it a try! He is loving it!

    love you both so much!!

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