"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Saturday, September 27, 2008

do you love the mission of Jesus more than you love Jesus himself?

i think i do. wow...
how much do i really love Jesus? why don't i love him with my whole heart? love him so that i will do what he commands, not do what he commands because the command is right, and it happens to come from his mouth.

do you love the mission of Jesus more than you love Jesus himself?

Friday, September 26, 2008

learning to speak italian

on wednesday, giuseppe asked me if i would like to have a half an hour every day to study italian.
of course i jumped on the opportunity :)
so i found a site online that has a self-taught italian course. i know the alphabet already, now i'm going to start working on the numbers... i'm so excited! i just want, more than anything, to be able to communicate, even just a little bit, with the people here. it's not fair for me to sit here and speak english and not even try to be a part of the language and culture here.
so... could you be in prayer that i would be able to work hard to learn italian? i'd love it. thanks :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

un battesimo e roma

this sunday was the first time i was able to attend the ywam church service. it was definitely a special one, as andy restivo got baptized! it was exciting for their family, as they were able to see a confirmation of his decision to follow the Lord. there was a lot of extended family who attended, so the church was full, too. it was also exciting to see that, as usually there are not many others who attend Gesรบ Vive (Jesus Lives).

we came back to the base and i was invited down to the restivo's to have lunch with their family and with a few special weekend guests, as well as a family that used to go to the church here. we had a nice, loud, really good italian meal. there was some good conversation, plenty of jokes told, and group games after the meal. it was wonderful :)

that afternoon, ed, irene, and i decided to go to rome! we have off every monday because we work on saturdays, so we got a ride to rome and spent all day on monday hitting several of the tourist spots. we went to st. peter's basilica first, and then to the vatican/sistene chapel.

it was all so beautiful and so full of old art pieces, that it was overwhelming. i don't know much about art, so it was hard for me to grasp just how great all of it was, but it was beautiful, and that's all i needed to know :) we waited in line for a long time for the vatican, but once we got inside it was a lot of walking. halls and halls and halls of artwork.. all beautiful, but all tainted..

all i could think about was the story in the gospels about Jesus overturning the temple tables. He did it because of the routine people were in, the effortless sacrifices they were making, and the money-making ventures of the vendors. i felt as if the vendor stands at the vatican, the expensive live tours, and the dutiful attendance by priests and nuns from all over the world fit so well into that passage. i can't imagine that God is very happy with how things are run there.

and yet everything is so beautiful. i didn't want to be a party-spoiler with that last paragraph, but it was just something heavy on me yesterday and i couldn't really enjoy what i was seeing. oh well..

this is officially week 2 in italy.
may the experience continue...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the adventure begins...

so here i am in pescara, italy.
it's kind of a surreal thing. it feels like i'm just in another american city. except that everything looks italian. and not many people speak english. and i don't really know anyone. and nothing is familiar.
i guess it just feels the same as when i moved to chicago. a new place, new faces, and a new start, you know?

i've been here for almost a week now, so i'm at least a little bit more familiar with the city than i was when i arrived last sunday. i came without expectations. i came without fears. i came with nothing. so i guess there's no way to be disappointed, right?

the culture here is so different from in the states, though! the people may look like americans, but they definitely are not! i think that has been the hardest thing since i arrived, is how limited my communication skills are here. i know spanish, which is similar to italian, so that has helped out a lot, but spanish is far enough away from italian that i can't understand most of what is said, and definitely cannot hold a conversation.

these are two things that have been very discouraging for me:
1) not knowing the language
2) only being here for three months

i feel like whatever i do here will not be effective because i'm not here long enough to really build relationships with people even if i could have a conversation with them in their own language! grr... i know that this discouragement is not from the Lord, so i need to be praying against it. God can use me wherever i am, even if it isn't for a long period of time.

so here's a little bit more practical info..
the directors of the ywam base here are Giuseppe and Cristianna Restivo. they have a son, Andy (andrea), who is 18 (i think). Cristianna's family is all in pescara. Giuseppe's family is originally from Sicily, but are currently living in switzerland where he grew up. they are all very friendly, very nice people. i'm glad that i get to spend the next three months getting to know them and working alongside them :)

i am living at the ywam base, which is one unit of an 8-unit villa. the restivos live underneath the base in a first-floor unit. it's beautiful and has plenty of room for people to stay. i have my own bedroom that i will most likely be staying in for my entire time here. the base is located in a southern part of pescara called San Silvestro, which is named after a saint named sylvester. i don't know what he did to be a saint, but apparently he's pretty famous :)

the church is more in the center of the city. it takes about 10 minutes by car to get there. there is a bus that can take us there, but i haven't had to take it yet, so i don't know how long that would take. the church is just off of a major road for businesses in pescara... an exciting location!

we meet at 8am every day, tuesday through saturday, and do devotions and then discuss what we will be working on for that day. we work until 12:30, take a break until 1:30-2ish for lunch/siesta, and then work again until about 5.

the evenings are very relaxing. i make dinner for myself around 7, read, listen to music, and play games. ed and irene are a retired couple from colorado springs who are volunteering at this base until the end of the month. that's who i've been playing games with :)

it has been a great, relaxing week, and i'm excited to see what church is like in the morning. it's an important day, because andy restivo is getting baptized! it's exciting :)

as for me, i'm tired. it's almost midnight. and i'm going to bed.
gnight :)