Masculine Conversations

Masculine Conversations

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The State of the Basque

Travel 450 miles south and west of Paris, or perhaps drive a half-day's journey north of Madrid, and you will find yourself in a little country-within-two-countries: the Basque. Half in France and half in Spain, the Atlantic on one side and Pyrenees on the other, the Basque is a culturally distinct region. But to the Basque people, it's a country all their own.

Stunningly beautiful in land and sea, there is something about this place that tugs at the heart. Culturally rich as it may be, there is something missing here. It is without Christ. Yes, a part of the "civilized world." Yes, a thriving region of farming communities, tourist attractions, and a surfer's paradise. But yes, a place that does not name the name of Christ. A lost people. An unreached people.

This fall, Mums and I traveled around here for a few days to get a sense of the needs and Christian witness here. It was an amazing trip, and I feel like we came back with a deep and more personal understanding of what is going on in this beautiful yet Godless place.

So, what is the state of the Basque? The news is both sobering and encouraging:  world mission organizations consider this land to be one of the unreached people groups, only 0.5 to 1% evangelical.

Still, God is working in the Basque. There are at least three missionary families serving there now, and several local believers in the region. Also, there is an evangelical church meeting weekly in the French coastal city of Biarritz. While this church is primarily comprised of missionaries and a few youth from a local YWAM team, it is held entirely in French, and there are a few French locals attending as well.

The Eastman and Hembree families are recent additions to the missions effort there - the Eastmans in France, and the Hembrees in Spain. Please pray for these and the other missionaries serving God in this difficult region.

So, the bottom line is that the Basque people need prayer, and they need a Christian witness. 

The Basque have their own language - Euskara. I think X is their favorite letter, as they seem to like to stick it in just about every word!

One of the distinctives of this area, and especially the city of Espellete, is the strings of drying peppers hanging all over their buildings. Pepper farming is a major industry in the country, and this is how they dry them after harvest. 

A pepper field, near Itxassou

 Driving along an old country road, we spotted this sign in front of an old barn, and stopped for what turned out to be quite an interesting lunch.

 Odd assortment of unfamiliar sandwich ingredients

The end product - extremely funky ingredients, but quite tasty!

Stopping to say hi to some friendly sheep

Car... I would like to drive you someday!


Stopped to get this picture for Ems and Ibs. These are the locally made Basque shoes.

 Basque handbags

Another picture for the girls - an extremely cute baby outfit

Cute Basque bud

Dinner of Basque boudin - a very rich sausage. As you can see from the notebook in the corner, we constantly had some interesting conversation topic going. This time, I think it was on qualities to look for in a future wife. 

Mums waving from the second story. It was just a short walk to the ocean, and definitely a place to come back to! 

 A couple of colorful individuals...

The Atlantic!

 Following our days in the Basque, we headed East and spotted this European Prius along the way

 Lunch on the road, Europe-style

It was an amazing trip - full of good memories and epic talks with Mums, and extremely helpful for getting an idea of the region and the Christian presence (or lack of it) there. 

I can't wait to go back, but I'm not sure when it will be... a honeymoon? a missions stint as a rural Basque doctor? Who knows...that's around a corner in my life!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post, Ike! The pictures are fascinating and SO beautiful. Hmm, maybe we could plan in a brother + sister trip to the Basque one of these days?! :)