Sunday, June 27, 2004

Life in Italy

Our Life Group (our church) went really well today. It is somewhat strange this summer, because first of all the Casey's being gone have given me lots of extra responsibility (not to mention the fact that we miss them) and second, our church has changed so that we have a flock (albeit small), but a flock nonetheless. Which means we have more responsibilities to care for the flock (and each other as the church). So, our Life Group (weekly church at our house) has become smoother and smoother. I am reaching a new level of my language ability as well as rely on my weekly outlines which are sent to Amedeo to correct after I have written them in Italian. And as any small groups grows with time, ours has incorporating our new family, Amedeo and Marta Riccardi (plus four daughters). Today, we had Marcus, Angie, Amedeo, Marta, Valentina, Michela, Simona, Cristiana, Danielle, Simona and myself. The four W's that we use to structure our Life Group model can be used as a barometer to evaluate how things went. Our WELCOME time went well, after answering our favorite ice creams and looking at the church announcements. Our Worship time flowed smooth as everyone joined in on the three Italian songs and one English song (with Italian words to sing along). During one of the songs it was incredibly heartening to see our entire Life Group raising their hands in the air as we sang "Ti Diamo Gloria" (We Give You Glory) which include the chorus "Jesus is the King!" After communion together, we prayed for the three kids (Valentina, who just turned ten, is participating with the adults) and Marcus, whose turn it was to teach the kids. While the kids had a lesson and craft, the adults discussed knowing God (from I Cor 2) and ministering to each other by encouraging and praying for those whose needs arose during our time together. As we challenged each other to seek to know God, we welcomed the kids back in who shared what they did and learned about. At the end we finished with a group embrace. As soon as we finished, we got things out for our monthly fellowship dinner. Everyone brought something, there was Italian, Romanian, Mexican and BBQ. We were so thankful for the diversity of our group, everything tasted wonderful. It is such a huge plus in our lives to be part of God's Church. He is making us more like Him as we seek Him together. It is a journey, that we will not soon forget.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Blankets in June.

I am in awe of the weather here this year. Last year we were hearing of the heat wave in Italy from news reports and teammates. People were dying last year because the heat was so high and the percentage of Italians with air conditioning was so low. Tonight, however, we were sitting here watching TV with the balcony door open under throw blankets on the couch. Throw blankets???? It is almost the end of June? Granted it has gotten warm some of the past few days, during the day, but the nights have been cool and almost chilly. I have to admit even the days have not been too bad. So, I hope I am not jumping the gun here, but this summer is looking to be extremely easy to get through.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

An English Birthday?

So, Angie and I were in our apartment yesterday and we saw that a family was decorating the piazza below our balcony for a birthday. It looked neat so we took some pics. As we went on through our evening we kind of forgot about the party...that is until we heard singing. However, the strange part was that we heard Happy Birthday in English! WE looked out the window to see all the kids singing Happy Birthday to their friend and they did it in English, I suppose prompted by their parents. It was interesting to say the least. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Resident Permission Application Turned In

Well, we just got back from the Questura (Police Station) where with the help of Amedeo (the police chief in our church from a nearby city) we were able to turn in our applications for our permissi renewal in record time! We were in and out in about twenty minutes. When we arrived, Amedeo was already there to meet us. Once we got inside, we still had to fill out the applications, if we had done those in advance we probably could have been in and out in about 10 minutes! It is still hard to believe that it went so smoothly, our God is indeed great. He has helped our team manage with these difficult tasks in the past and now he has continued to make it easier. We are not totally out of the woods though, turning in the applications is the first of a two step review of our applications. We are supposed to go back on August 7th and pick up our permissi. At that time it will be secure for a year or more stay in Italy. Turning in the applications is usually the most difficult step, however. Please pray that they would make the permissi for longer than a year this time. We have heard recently that in the past they would double the length of time each year you renew it, which if that is the case, we would get it for two years this time, four years the time after that. It is a great feeling to have these major steps out of the way. Thanks for your prayers. Here are the things that we had to get together to take with us (the starred items are things we weren't old we would need but had them just in case).

- Three passport size photos.
- Our current permissi (they expired today).
- Two $15 stamps called 'Marca di Bollo' which are used for all kids of legal documents.
- Our passports.
- The letter from the Christian organization in Italy that is legally inviting us here.
- * Our new Italian resident cards (see below to read about the resident cards).
- * Our apartment contract (for verification of living situation).
- * A current gas bill (for further verification).
- * and Amedeo!

Whew, I am glad that's over.....for at least another year.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Ancona Residents

After more than sixteen days, and four visits we got our Ancona resident cards, whew.! Posted by Hello

Here's Angie's new card! Posted by Hello

The cover of our new Identity card.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Under Control?

Gianni Bruno, who was co-leading the youth with myself was amazed at the loss of control we had over the students when they got ahold of the water balloons for one of the group icebreakers. Posted by Hello

New Friends

Angie and I with one of the couples we got to know at the convention, Sandro and Rimina, from the Latiano Christian Church. Posted by Hello

Palms, Palms, Everywhere Palms

Here is Angie standing in front of one of the numerous palm trees at the hotel. Posted by Hello

Great Youth Sessions

Here is a picture of Angie and I with the youth we were working with at the convention. Posted by Hello

Gone Swimmin'

Here is the olympic size pool we enjoyed in our afternoon free time. Posted by Hello

Breakfast Under the Sun

This was the place where we had breakfast each morning. It was an outdoor eating area near the pool. Posted by Hello

Sittin on the Porch

This was the fronts of several outdoor hotel rooms, like the one we stayed in. Posted by Hello

First Glimpse

This is the hotel where the Christian Church convention was in Lecce (That's my shadow in the foreground). Posted by Hello

The Castle of Otranto (Lecce)

Here I am standing in front of a castle in Otranto ( A city near the convention). An Otranto website said the following about the castle, "The castle which we see today with its towers, bastions and walls was the work of the Princess of Aragon and was constructed after the conquest of the city by the Turks in 1481."
 Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Something about an oasis...

We arrived in Lecce today after a six hour train ride. It was nice, comfortably air conditioned and a plug was in between our seats for me to plug in our laptop. We watched a couple of movies on the way to Lecce. When we arrived, Pino Neglia (an Italian pastor at the Lecce Christian Church) was there to pick us up. He drove us through Lecce, where we got to see the building for the Lecce Christian Church. He then continued on to our destination, a hotel in the town 'Torre Del Orso' (which means the bear tower). Centuries ago the southern coast of Italy was dotted with watch towers and today we saw the remains of the called 'The Tower of the Bear." This week we are in Lecce for a Convention for the Christian Church/Church of Christ churches, instrumental and non-instrumental. After we checked in the hotel and began walking towards our room, it was if we stepped into a dream. We have been so stressed the past few weeks, this weekend comes as a great refreshment. The palm trees and flowers were everywhere and we saw the olympic-size pool in the middle of the courtyard. Our 'room' is more like several cabanas tied together. Imagine one of those storage rental places, but instead of garage doors, there are front doors leading out into a small garden with plants and flowers. The room is small but adequate. We are definitely looking forward to the next few days. I may try to post a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


I don't know why but sunsets here are just spectacular. There have been so many time since we have moved here that I am just in complete awe of God's paintbrush. It is not that Tulsa doesn't have some beautiful does. But there is something different here. We have tried to capture it in pictures or video and it just isn't the same. It is no wonder that great artists were born here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Out of the Loop?

Have you ever felt out of the loop? Today starting around 5:00 pm horns started honking all over the downtown area of Ancona near our house. They kept going until around after 8:00 pm or so. For those three hours we kept wondering what in the world could be making them honk like that. It could be traffic, but three hours worth of traffic? Tomorrow is a federal holiday, in fact Independence Day. So, it could be holiday traffic, but I'm not sure if the traffic would be that bad. Another possibility is that the Ancona team could have finally won a game or even tied (as you can guess they haven't done too well this season). After all our thinking, we are left at the same place...out of the loop. In some ways, that is the way we feel alot of the time over here. Either not knowing songs all Italians have known as kid's songs growing up, whose head was on the money, where to get a residence card (they just changed it), when to use some words and why cars are honking at 6:00 pm June 1, 2004. The longer we live here, the more we understand and get in the loop. So, I guess it continues to get easier, at least in that arena. If we ever find out what they were honking about....we will let you know.