Lost and Found Along The Way

ISBN: 9781632695659

Author: Ron Williams


Stories for Your Faith Walk from the Camino de Santiago

The Camino—or The Way—to Santiago is a five-hundred-mile, thirty-three-day walk across Spain’s extreme conditions to reach the beloved Cathedral of Santiago. Ron “Willie” Williams walked The Way two and a half times, a total of twelve hundred miles.  Why?  It is less about what he gains, and more about what he loses along The Way—old behaviors, unforgiveness, and a tendency to play God. Journey with Willie through the chapters of Lost and Found Along The Way, as he sheds these tendencies, and in doing so finds a renewed, richer, and deeper faith.


Willie also learned to share this strengthened faith with those he met who had lost their own faith, and now he is teaching others to do the same. Lost and Found along The Way offers believers faith-sharing advice using a unique approach: the hybrid of two genres—historical fiction and personal memoir.


The first few chapters are narrative historical fiction portraying James in Acts 12:2 facing his execution along with supposed reactions from his loved ones. At the end of this narrative, we transition back to nonfiction with the discovery of James’ gravesite some eight hundred years after his martyrdom. Willie then explains how the Camino pilgrimages began along the Camino, also known as, The Way. No other nonfiction book offers such a unique back story of Saint James and the Camino.


The following chapters, and the bulk of the book, follow Willie’s own Camino journeys, presented from three unique perspectives:

  1. “The Camino” contains vivid descriptions of the geography on the trail and historical background.  These descriptions incorporate the reader with the text, almost like a firsthand experience.
  2. “My Camino” includes stories of the author’s gritty life experiences that surface while traveling the Camino, his personal reflective prayers, and the spiritual insights that God awakens.
  3. “Our Camino” provides guidance on how the reader can dig deeper into their spiritual life and get outside their comfort zone.  These each end with true and dramatic faith walk stories that hook the reader and demonstrate God’s hand in people’s lives.


The final chapter of Lost and Found Along The Way instructs fellow sojourners in how to follow Willie’s example to strengthen their own faith and share it with those who have lost their own faith—no hiking boots required.

Author Bio:

Ron “Willie” Williams is a retired literature, composition, and history teacher with national distinction as a Master Teacher and the equivalent of three master’s degrees in addition to his BS in Education. He is addicted to Aha! moments—forever anticipating the next one for himself and his fellow sojourners along life’s journey.


Ordained a Catholic deacon in 1994, he leads church missions, serves as clergy for prison retreats and homeless shelters, and is a spiritual director and counselor. He is a home remodeler, flower gardener, and avid Chicago sports fan. Williams’ sanity is questionable as he is also addicted to the five-hundred-mile Camino, “The Way,” hiking it two and a half times . . . so far.


Employed as a corporate chaplain, Willie lives near Chicago, Illinois. He treasures his bride of forty-six years, five children, and six grandchildren whom he relishes taking on “Papa adventures.”


Creatively written and passionately imbued, Lost and Found along The Way relates not only the experience of Willie’s journey to and along the Camino, but includes beautifully written historical fiction. These set the stage for the impact that the life of St. James has had on the church, both while he was living and after his passing.


Willie’s self-deprecating honesty speaks to the challenges any pilgrim faces not only along The Way but even in getting there in the first place. For the new pilgrim, this book can serve as a guide. And yet for all of us, the story of Willie’s journey can serve as deep fodder for our own reflections on our personal journeys of faith and how to grow closer to God. 


Most appreciated was the reflection in the final chapter on how to share one’s faith. It is well written, and the advice applies universally to people in any type of ministry.


Deacon John Green

founder, Emmaus Ministries



This book was a gentle wake-up call to the complacent attitude I was carrying in my own faith walk. The bits and pieces of the five hundred miles transported me and allowed me to visualize something that most people will never see. I felt the experiences with Willie, even the blisters and physical challenges. I laughed with him, prayed with him, and even cried with him. But most gratefully, I felt that I walked every step of the Camino with Willie.


Not only that, I felt the Spirit within Willie. Details of his spiritual insights begged that I put down the book and listen for God’s messages for me. With the end of Willie’s pilgrimage came insight for my Camino, that is, my faith walk. Lost and Found along The Way has led me to find greater purpose, greater meaning, and infinitely more joy in my journey toward Him.


Thank you for documenting your journey, sharing your heart, and for changing mine.


Teena Medick

chief administrator, Peyton’s Promise



“Lost and Found along The Way: Stories for Your Faith Walk from the Camino de Santiago is a wonderfully written virtual experience of walking the Camino. Willie takes you on a geographical, historical, and spiritually reflective journey that is heartfelt, honest, insightful, and inspiring. Willie does more than share his journey—he paves the road for your own. Enjoy the walk! I did!”

Frank Mercadante
executive director, Cultivation Ministries

author, Make It Real and Engaging a New Generation


Lace up your hiking boots, grab your trekking poles, and walk with Willie on this ancient trail of the Camino. Whether you’re traveling with boots on the ground or just in your imagination, Willie will guide you well. You will be encouraged, uplifted, and challenged to journey into the depths of your own life experience and there encounter an intimacy with God many of us have never known.


When I considered walking the Camino with several friends, I turned to Deacon Willie. We got plenty of practical wisdom, but more importantly he helped us reframe the experience as a unique opportunity to hear God’s voice. Now Willie’s words are available to the world. A natural storyteller, Willie weaves history imaginatively retold, sage advice on how to prepare for the journey, and vividly written details of the lush landscape. With a dose of self-deprecating humor, Willie shares his own missteps and learnings, but the heart of this book is an invitation for each of us to walk our own pilgrimage of spiritual discovery. There’s a reason why people from all over the world have been walking this sacred path for more than a thousand years. Delve into these pages and you’ll not only understand why, but you’ll find yourself walking your own Camino.”


Michael Sparough, SJ

retreat director, Bellarine Jesuit Retreat House

Co-author, What’s Your Decision? An Ignatian Approach to Decision Making



Willie’s book is an invitation to walk in true friendship with our Lord and Savior. It is a brilliantly woven together work of art that draws me deeper into the mysteries of faith and the absolute reality that God is intimately present in every moment of my life, whether I recognize Him or not. Willie’s Camino became my Camino. His openness to experience whatever the Lord would bring his way on the Way provides a profound testimony to the graces that flow into the heart of a person who submits to the will of God. Willie eloquently and practically draws me into his life, story, and journey. He inspires me to see that my experiences change my life and, if I allow Him to, God uses those experiences to grow my life from good, to better, to the best that it can be. This book is a call to deep discipleship overflowing with wisdom and filled with practical examples and reflections on how to deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to read it again.”


Eric Groth

President/CEO, ODB Films



For anyone who has considered walking the Camino de Santiago or wanted to make a pilgrimage, Willie has crafted a narrative that gives the reader the spiritual experience of the Camino. For those seeking answers to life’s biggest questions or those looking to understand their personal sense of purpose, this is the book for you. It is an invitation to realize every day is a pilgrimage along life’s rugged and spectacular landscapes.


J. Berden

Producer, Paul, Apostle of Christ


St. John Paul stated that all of our life is a pilgrimage to the heart of the Father.  Each one of us is journeying on a trail of life that is taking us somewhere.  But where?   Is the path we are on taking us to the heart of the Father?  For over one thousand years pilgrims have been on the Camino to the burial place of St. James asking this very question.  Where am I going with my life?  What’s my purpose?  Am I on the right path? 

Through personal stories of his own Camino, as well as many others, Deacon Willie Williams walks us through these questions and leads us to a place of discovery.  As we walk with Deacon we discover fellow pilgrims whose stories of joy, suffering, doubt and faith resonate with our own experience.  In the end, we are led to discover Jesus who, while not always able to recognize has journeyed with us each step of the way and is leading us to the Father.

Fr. David Pivonka, TOR

President Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio

10 Part Series – “Metanoia” by Wild Goose Ministries

Popular YouTube presenter- Wild Goose Ministries

Author- Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus and Metanoia Prayer Journal


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