In a small region of Europe there is a group of people that has always been there. No one knows where they came from and they have their own language that is different from any other language in the world. This region is called Basque Country, and it’s most famous fiesta known throughout the world is the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
Sometime in the middle ages (no one knows quite when), the Catholic church came to Basque Country. Since then Basque people have been very religious and even founded the Jesuit branch of the Catholic church (pretty much anything that has the name Loyola). But in recent days nearly all religion has been lost. Modern Basques have a unique way of recognizing when an action is authentic, genuine, and from the inside and when it is merely on the outside. As a result, institutional religion, which is nearly entirely focused on outward action, has been rejected en masse.
We hope to change that, but not by reviving religion. In the Bible the church is described as a group of people (not a building) who are committed to God and to each other. They eat meals together, read the Bible together, pray together, serve others together, and have joy and genuine love for each other and God. We are not seeking to establish a physical church building or a fiscal organization that provides the appearance of religion, but rather a transformation of hope, love, joy, and peace in the lives of people and in the communities of Basque Country from the inside out.
And we believe that this starts with us and with you. We must be people of hope, love, joy, and peace. We desire to be authentic, genuine followers of God, and we work in our communities to find ways to be of value and be productive members of society. Often this takes place through helping people learn English well — through offering English classes or English exchange programs. We also seek to learn from Basque people in a sort of cultural exchange. Basque people have strong family and friend connections, are healthy, strong, hard working, and genuine, and we have a lot that we can learn from them. And as we work and learn, we pray that we will meet people who have the same desire that we do: to love God genuinely without all the trappings of religion.
In John 4, Jesus said that true followers of God love him on the inside. Will you pray with us, that there might be true, genuine followers of God in Basque Country and in churches in the USA as well?