Marco Güete (pictured), director for Hispanic Ministries at Mennonite Education Agencies, is training for his 260 km walk to raise money for Instituto Biblico Anabautista.

IBA is an adult educational program that provides Spanish-language biblical and theological training for members and leaders of Hispanic congregations within Mennonite Church USA and beyond. The

program was founded in 1988 and operates 42 active learning centers in congregations across the country, where volunteers serve as the teachers. Students receive a theological studies certificate or diploma upon completion.

"Over 30 years ago, IBA was dreamed up, created and put into practice by pastors and people active in ministry who saw the need for a biblical institute to train Spanish-speaking members of Anabaptist churches, so it's worth walking to raise funds for IBA," said Güete.

Thousands have taken courses from IBA and hundreds have graduated with certificates or diplomas in biblical and theological studies. It is one of the most economical academic programs across the church, annually training 32 volunteer tutors and teaching 250-300 students with a relatively small budget, though it relies on donations to provide the resources and staff to run the program, Güete said.

The Camino de Santiago is an ancient network of paths that people have walked since the 9th century in pilgrimage toward the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish). "At present, many Christians of different creeds travel the road, remembering that we are pilgrims in the world created by God," said Güete.

According to statistics from Santiago de Compostela, only 17 percent of the more than 327,000 walkers who annually walk this route are over 60 years old. Güete is 68.

"This will be the challenge," said Güete. "I wonder: am I reinventing myself by taking care of my physical condition and the body that God has given me? I think so. It is important to reinvent ourselves, dream new dreams, set new goals, and for me to use the experience of my 68 years to live the next year day by day. Joel 12:28 inspires me: 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.'"

To contribute donations in support of IBA, visit MEA's donation page and select Hispanic Ministries (IBA/SeBAH) or mail donations to Mennonite Education Agency, 3145 Benham Ave. Suite 2, Elkhart, IN 46517 and note that it is for "Walking the Camino."

Contributed by Mennonite Church USA/MEA Staff  –  7/29/2019