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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Deutschland here I come! Deutschland, Ich Komme!

My mom arrived yesterday!  
Yay!!!!!  :-) 

Tomorrow I am driving us up to Kandern, Germany where I used to live. I am so excited for the following:

Time with my mom
the beautiful drive
a haircut by my favorite German hair guy
German Christmas markets
Seeing good friends in Kandern

Maybe we'll get to see some snow!!!
Please pray for us for safety and a sweet time together.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thanksgiving Here and There

The week before Thanksgiving we had a massive Thanksgiving event for all of our Italian friends. We were praying for about 150 and we ended up with 160 in attendance. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

Over 140 people who do not yet know Jesus personally, heard the gospel from students who have trusted Christ in the past couple of years.
160 or so people enjoyed turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin or apple pie! -Our teams cooked it all ourselves. I have the burns and cuts to prove it on my hands. :-)

Two days after this event, I flew to Birmingham in the UK for the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I was blessed indeed that my Northern Irish hosts, baked a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie for dessert that day. I should have taken a photo of the pecan pie. It was stunning!
Two days after my return from the UK, I was invited to the home of some staff friends here in Rome who were having Thanksgiving at their house with some of their closest Italian friends. Butterball Turkey (we thank God for the American commisary) Everything was delightfully delicious..including the conversation. 

I am thankful indeed for the variety of ways that I got to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Encountering People

This came out longer than I intended....
Yesterday I was on a train coming from Bologna back to Roma.

Car 5, seat 95. Car 5 seat 95. I memorized where my reserved seat was located for the trip back to Rome. The train arrived and I watched car 7 pass where I stood, then car 6 and amazingly car five stopped right in front of me!  I had a choice-to enter from the right or the left. I chose the left. 

Choosing the left entrance meant that once inside I had to make my way to the opposite side of the car at the far end... I should have chosen the right side. But it was quite an adventure to pass by people going the opposite direction. Babies, large suitcases, Big men, pregnant women, irritated Americans. It was an interesting journey just from one end of the car to the other!

Once I made it to the seat, I kindly informed the man sitting in the seat that the seat was actually mine. He was most gracious and moved over to the aisle seat. 

As the train began to move, Mario asked in Italian if I am American. I learned a lot about Mario on the trip. He lives a monastic life and travels from Naples to Bologna often for a weekend with other monastic brothers. He also told me several time how he had purchased a train ticket but lost it and he did not want to spend more money for a new ticket... This also resulted in Mario disappearing when the conductor came by... It made me wonder how much penance Mario would have to do for that... 

He had me look at several books he had acquired while in Bologna. One about the history of the Italian language which fascinated me. Three books about the saint who is in the centre of what he follows. And one book about three of the foundations of their order. We talked a lot about faith and living by faith.

The man across the seats was reading a book about Argentina. We began speaking in English. He was going to Rome to see if he could meet some ladies. Something about a TV show here that he was invited to participate in. At one point, he commented at how beautiful I am, but that I must hear it all the time. I laughed to myself as I replied with a "thank you".

I was struck by the difference in these men. One wanted to connect with me on our values of faith. Mario and I exchanged phone numbers and if I go to Naples he wants to get me a coffee. The other man, wanted to connect with me over english and my outward appearance. They both really need a personal relationship with Jesus.

As I left Mario at the train station and made my way to the Metro, I was thinking about the encounters I have with people.  Those people whom God puts in my path.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Jesus on the Walls

So often in Rome, I find my soul longing for Jesus. The buildings are beautiful. The people are inviting. The food is delicious. The nature is stunning. But all over the city Jesus in depicted on the cross. All over the city Jesus is on the walls. He is not in the hearts of the people. 
I have a temporary roommate who has been working with refugees. She met one this past week who had never met a follower of Christ. They had a good conversation and after they said goodbye, he came back and asked, "is Jesus dead? In Rome I see him always on the crosses."  
What a privilege to share with others that Jesus is not dead! He is alive! I was reading the crucifixion and resurrection acccounts in the Gospel of Mark last night and was struck again by how amazing the love of God is for us!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Just another week in Rome, Italy

This past week... Next week will be almost completely different. I think it is a good thing that I like variety. :-)

*early morning meeting with my coach
*grocery shopping
*mid morning meeting with my team leader
*house cleaning
*pay bill at the post office
*late afternoon meeting with my city leader
*prepare living room for a guest to stay overnight on Tuesday

Tuesday-All Saints day in Italy. It was a holiday for us!
*sleep in a little bit
*meet friend at metro stop and walk home with her
*late afternoon go to a staff party for Autumn. We called it a Pumpkin Party and skyped in a girl who STINTed here for a couple years. We made sugar cookies and molasses cookies. We ate pumpkin gnochi, pumpkin soup, pumpkin roll, etc..
*8:30pm downtown with my friend. As we sat in the Piazza of the Pantheon, a girl started talking with us. She is from Brasil and is alone in Rome for one month. My friend and I ended up helping her get back to where she is staying as she was very drunk. Pray for Luana.
*One am... sleep

*Went with my friend to find some things she was looking for in Rome. We had lunch together at a great restaurant I recently discovered.
*late afternoon I took her out to where her conference was going to be held in Rome. 1 long metro ride, 3 bus stops down and a short walk.
*I got back to my side of town in time to have dinner with some of my staff friends and a couple students we know.

*20 minute walk to 9am language class
*20 minute walk home
*12:20 leftovers for lunch
*12:40 to a staff meeting
*4pm home
*laundry, dinner, time with roommate

*Morning work on staff training
*Lunch with staff team
*The ZOO!  once every six weeks we have a team fun afternoon so we went to the Rome Zoo. It was so fun to see the animals.

*today I am going to join the conference that my friend went to. It is a gathering of youth workers from Europe. People who have a huge passion for the teenagers. I have several friends from all over Europe who will be there.