Sunday, May 30, 2004

Ministry To Goats???

So, we were sitting around at our house after life group today chatting (It was Marcus, Angie, Amedeo, Marta, their children and I). I have been talking to them about helping out in our kid's time during life group. During a portion of our life group (church) all the kids go to one of the back rooms of our house to have a special story and activity time that is designed just for them. We take turns teaching them on a weekly rotation. Right now, since I am leading life group in Italian, Angie and Marcus are taking turns every other week doing kid's time. That's why I was talking to Amedeo and Marta about helping out. This past week I prepared a document with the specifics of kid's time, the logistics, what goes on, etc. Then I used a function in Microsoft Word to translate it. For kids the word "capretti" came up. Naturally, as someone focusing on youth ministry, I am constantly looking for new words to describe youth and kids. Normally, when I am comfronted with a new word I doublecheck it one of my dictionaries to make sure of the accuracy of the word. In this case I triple-checked it. First by looking it up in Word's translation dictionary, by typing the Italian word in first and it came up with "kids" in English. Then I used my dictionary on my Ipaq and looked it up finding "kids" again. When I showed it to Amedeo, he smirked and said in Italian, "I'm not sure you mean this word." I said it means "kids" and is another way to describe children in English. He thought for a second and he said I don't think we would use it that way here. I started to get confused. He asked Marta and she began explaining that it had to do with sheep and goats. I sat dumbfounded for a few seconds when it hit me, what I was referring to the children as was 'little goats' or 'kids' in it's other English usage. When we explained it, we all laughed and I told Amedeo, I have to laugh at my inadequacies with the language at times, rather than cry. So at this time we will not be starting any new ministries to 'little goats.'

Friday, May 28, 2004

Ahhhh.....Ancona at Night.

This is a cartoon rendering of Ancona that I found online several years ago. I have always thought it was cool. We live just a few streets to the right of the streets in this pic.

Sometimes We Only Think We Know

Last week, our team scouted out three language schools for us all to use for improving our lingua Italiana (Italian language). They all seemed like good options, but there was one that stood out in the minds of Angie and I. It was called Kompass and is about a fifteen minute walk from our house.

Today, Angie and I went to enroll. The old gruff guy behind the desk, hinted that he remembered us and with a smirk said, last week there were four of you (Jason, Marcus, Angie and I). We said, 'yeah, there were four of us.' He laughed and said, so does that mean tomorrow there will only be two of you? We all laughed and continued to make sure we understood there program. He turned out to not be very gruff at all, but very nice. We paid our enrollments and registration fees, then he gave us our receipts. He said, maybe someday you can help us out here with English, we said that might be good. He then asked if we were working in Ancona, then almost immediately he said, 'you don't have to answer that.' for fear he was being too personal. However, I told him what we were doing and he seemed impressed. While all this was going on, one of their professors was standing nearby. He came over and in total English said, "I don't mean to bother you, but we have a class of translators in here, would you mind coming in and letting them practice with you, if you can't understand them then future clients may not be able to either." We said sure, finished registering and went into a class of 13 college age girls, where we stayed for about an hour. There might be many opportunities which come from this and for that we are excited.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Our Wise Heavenly Father.

This morning I as woken abruptly as I was sleeping in on my day off to the phone being handed to me by Angie. It was Amedeo, one of our new church members. He could tell he had woken me up and enjoyed the thought that he had. He was calling to see if we minded if he dropped by for a bit with his youngest twin daughters. His oldest two daughters were at school and his wife was out with a friend. Although it had not been on our plan for this morning, I quickly said no we didn't mind and he was welcome to stop by (I am not sure if it came out exactly like that in Italian, it is one thing to speak Italian once you have been awake, it is another to do so 30 seconds after waking up). He said he would be by in about a half hour. So, no sooner was my finger pressing the hang-up switch on the cordless phone than we were scurrying around taking showers and getting ready. When the three of them arrived, the two girls busied themselves with our basket of toys in the living room and Amedeo was looking over our summer schedule that we had just planned last Monday. He helped correct a few grammatical errors for some Italian items I was working on and we talked about a few things. The funny thing is, while we knew the Casey's would be leaving for home assignment, we didn't how the void would be filled they were leaving behind. Although, it won't fill the void perfectly, God has sent believers our way to help further the work of his kingdom here in Ancona. We praise Him for always taking care of his children, in this case us. He is truly wise beyond our comprehension.

Let's Go to the Movies

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Yuri and I went to see the Passion. We talked awhile afterwards and propelled our relationship to a deeper level. When I was heading home, we came up with an idea to go to another movie the next week. Well, he was sick with a fever and couldn't go, but we postponed it until last night. It was a lot of fun showing up and meeting Yuri's girlfriend Claudia, as well as their friends Laura and Matteo. Not sure where things will go from here, but we have already set up going to a movie next week together. As we continue to do things with these four Italians our relationships will surely deepen. Then by just spending time with them our chances for opportunities will increase for us to share about our life as a follower of Christ. We are excited about our new links to friendships.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Edge of Summer

The Casey's left today by train for Rome. The will be flying to the states tomorrow for their Home Assignment. They will be travelling throughout the states for about three and a half months before returning to Italy in mid-September. While they are gone I will be acting as the interim Team Leader, handling day to day leadership on the field. This adds a whole new arena of work for myself as I was just feeling comfortable in juggling my normal tasks. However, we have been planning for this for several months now and I feel ready to take the challenge.
We will however miss the Casey's tremendously. Jason and I teared up as we hugged one last time before they laft for the train station. Angie and Heather held each other tight and whispered encouragement to one another as she walked out the door. Marcus drove them to the train station using their car, which he is to park at their house. There is a hole left, although, the three of us who remain will do our best to continue forward in the effort of ministry that we are doing here in Ancona. God's will be done this summer in Ancona.

Time Seemed to Stand Still

Last Wednesday morning around 9:15 am (Italy time) I received a phone call from my brother, Kevin. He said our dad had went into the ER at Saint Francis Hospital. Dad had fainted several times that night and was not feeling very well, so they went in and found out that he had experienced a mild heartattack. During all the diagnosis, it was found out he would need major open heart surgery. I was overcome with emotion. Our team prayed for my dad and us, since we were upset and feeling so far away. Angie and I both felt helpless. We prayed very fervently for his healing and recovery. Dad ended up having an eight bypass surgery which he came through very well. The doctor had said there was very little damage to the heart, so the blockages we all they were concerned about. During the surgery, the doctor said that there was evidence on Dad's heart of a previous mild heartattack at some point in the past (of which Dad has no recollection). Our team sent out prayer requests to all their prayer partners and many people and churches responded to us saying they were praying for us and our family, especially Dad. Things have progessed well. And we thank God for the healing that has happened so far. Dad's arteries were so blocked that statistically he could have suffered a fatal heartattack by more than a fifty percent chance. We are thankful for God taking care of our family while we are so far away. God is great and worthy to be praised.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing

So, today was the last staff meeting before the Casey's head to the states for their Home Assignment. With the addition of a new family in our church there will be lots of new tasks and responsibilities for myself and the team that remains here. I am so grateful for what Jason and Heather bring to our team and we will miss them this summer. By the time the Casey's return in September, I imagine my gratitude for what they bring to our team will have increased even more. God be with them as they travel and as our team is continuing the efforts here in Ancona.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Shout to the Lord

My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like You, All of my days, i want to praise, the wonders of Your mighty love. My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength, let every breath, all that i am, never cease to worship You. Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing, Power and majest praise to the King, Mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of Your name, I sing for joy at the work of Your hands, forever i'll love you forever i'll stand, nothing compares to the promise i have in You!

We sang these words today in life group. As we did I looked over at Marta and I saw this woman who knows maybe a total of five English words trying to sing along with us. I sat looking at her wondering to myself "Why is she doing this? Why did her family decide to come and worship with us and our little group of believers. We who don't know the language well, we who fumble around and make so many mistakes....Why are they doing this?" And then I listened to what I was singing...what Marta was singing. Marta, Amadeo and their four preciouse children are doing it for the same reason Matt and I did. All of us left what was comfortable to come to a place where we are uncomfortable because we long to see the people of Ancona know Christ. As the song says the mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of Your name. When will Ancona do the same? Tears filled my eyes and I stuggled over the emotion in my throat to sing louder. Nothing compares to the promise we have in You!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Saturdays in Italy

Today the sun is shining and the weather is perfect. There is a light breeze flowing through our open windows. Sounds can be heard of children playing in the piazza below our balcony. Tomorrow, we have for the second week, a new family that is beginning to attend our Life Group (church). They are an Italian family of believers who come from our sister church in Matelica. They live much closer to Ancona than Matelica (about an hours drive from their home) therefore they wanted to get involved in a church that is closer to home. They have four young daughters and have been taught the truths of God more than adequately. This is due to the fact that Harold and Enid Fowler are the missionaries at the church in Matelica. The Fowlers, who have been extemely supportive in our team's ministry here, have encouraged the new family to get involved. So, we rejoice and look forward to the new fellowship as well as the new adjustments that will have to be made for our first Italian family that is part of the church in Ancona.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bags make good raincaps

During this time of year it tends to rain sporadically through the day. It isn't usually enough to get really soaked, but wets the ground and removes the humidity from the air. Angie and I were out running some errands and it started to sprinkle. While we were in a store it began sprinkling a little more. We decided to duck under the awning of a nearby shop to escape the drops. Once it returned to a light sprinkle we began heading on our way once more. As we were crossing the street we saw a humorous sight. Two men were walking across the street towards us and one of them was wearing a bag on his head, the kind of plastic sack you get at the grocery store. It stood tall like a tophat. The funny thing was, since it was a smaller sack it fit around his head good without having to use his hands to hold it on. He had positioned it so that the holes used for handles were around his ears, allowing it to securely fit and not disrupt his ability to hear his friend. I guess sacks do make good raincaps.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Welcome to the Crossers' Life in Italy!

In an effort to preserve memories and present stories of our life in Italy as we experience them, we are beginning this new weblog. Sometimes in our lives and ministry there are too many things that happen for the general email updates, therefore this will allow more stories to be available for those who would like to read more. As you read the blogs keep our lives and ministry in prayer.

- Matt Crosser