Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dinner in Numana

I think it is time to say goodbye to the beach. The weather has started changing here. You don't need the airconditioner any more. We have started wearing jeans, sleeping under blankets and maybe even a light jacket at night. I love the fall! There is something about the sun being out with not a cloud in the sky with a cool breeze blowing that is invigorating. I feel so much more energized and every afternoon I am bursting with energy and excitement to get things done.
Last night we went to dinner with some of our Italian friends, Valeria, Luka, Emanuela and Luka's brother. We went to this neighboring city, Numana. It was such a nice evening. We had dinner and ice cream afterwards. We had been praying that God would open up an opportunity to share more about Him during dinner. Of course, He answered and Emanuala asked us if we were ever going back to America. That led us into how we decided to come to Italy and how a person might know when God is speaking to them. It was so great! We have been praying for God to open the hearts of these dear friends of ours and last night we saw God doing just that. As we shared how God has spoken to us they were listening intently. They were very interested in what we were saying. Matt said he saw Valeria's eyes watering and Emanuela seemed to be challenged by what we said. You could tell this was something they were going to need to think about. I loved it!!!!! I know that in the big picture it is only a small step but to me it is a victory. God is working, God is opening their hearts and He is using us to make a difference one small step at a time. This is why we are here and nights like last night make it seem so worth it!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hit The Ground Running....

So, it has been two months to the day since we flew out of the Tulsa International airport. A few days after arriving we hit the ground running. We had a pathways team from our home office, which constisted of four interns who were here a total of two months.

Dave and Joyce Embree came through town during the first week. Dave is the campus minister at Missouri State University. They brought a group here in the summer of 2002.

A week after arriving John and Judy Webb arrived. They are Pastors to our team. They got here just in time to be here for our biannual team planning retreat. We had seen John and Judy in California while we were in the states for our Home Assignment, but it was good to have them on the field. It had been four years since they were here.

Then the day after the retreat, the Caseys headed to the states for their Home Assignment for six months, leaving me as the interim Team Leader while Jason is gone. I have been working on my own ministry tasks as well as taking on many of Jason's on site administerial tasks for the team.

About a week after taking on these new responsibilites our internet went off, due to a billing error. And did not come on until two days ago. It has been fairly smooth during these first two months and I pray it only continues to be so. The summer has been extremely mild, and has been even more mild for us since we got a new air conditioner that not only works, but also keeps more than one room cool at once.

The thing that really is neat to me is everything that has been happening since we got here. I have been able to continue working ahead on our children's curriculum. And we have met at least 26 individuals, some through the team and some on our own. Also, we have reconnected with at least 45 individuals. So out of 61 days we have reconnected or met more than one person per day on average since being back. There are probably a few more people that I haven't remembered. When I look at these people, I can't help but imagine in what capacity God might use them in if they should come to Christ and submit fully. Would they be doing dramas? Or leading in women's ministry? Helping cook for events? Loaning equipment to use to lead people to Christ. I can't wait to see God using some of these precious souls that are here in Italy represented by hair stylists, postal workers, students, restaurant chefs, hotel clerks, waitresses, waiters, computer programmers, store clerks, butchers, cashiers, stockers, store owners, newstand owners and more.

I do miss America when we are here, but I do love living in Italy and am excited to see how God is going to work in the next year and ten months.