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

-erwin mcmanus

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

random fact:
the ferris wheel was invented by a guy by the name of ferris.
the first ferris wheel held over 1,000 people and was located in chicago and was built for the world fair in 1893.
guess where??
JACKSON PARK! which is where i spent every morning this entire summer.
crazy, huh?

random fact #2:
is the name of a town in wales. crazy, huh? and it's for real! wikipedia it.

-this is the first time i've been at the office by myself in weeks. i like it!
-and this morning's english lesson was sad. because we talked about how i will leave in less than three weeks. and they were so disappointed that i was leaving :( but i also mentioned that i talk to my family on skype, and barbara had the idea that maybe we could still speak english together on skype.. how fun would that be?! i'm happy that she wants so badly to know english.
-i'm going to barcelona in two days, and i'm so excited to have some time off of everything. things have been too crazybusy to even have time to think recently.

i will still post about the consultation. have no fear :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

"you americans... you change your clothes every day!"
it's true, though, that many europeans will wear the same thing 3 even 4 days in a row. why change all the time? the clothes aren't even dirty! besides, it saves laundry money :)
on a completely different note... this weekend has been incredible in so many ways.
i'm exhausted, but God is working! i'm so excited to see how things will move here in italy.

i'll update more and talk about what happened at the consultation, but right now? the compy's battery is about to die.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

crazy crazy.

things here a little bit crazy. well, "a little bit" is an understatement.
as of right now, there are 25 people staying at the base, but there will be 70 total. of those, 20 are staying at two different bed and breakfasts. even transporting those people from the train/bus stations and the airport to the base is difficult because we only have 3 vehicles. good thing i'm not the one coordinating all of that :)

but we set are working on setting up the whole church for the consultation. it's almost done! we spent over 500 euros on groceries yesterday for all of these people. crazy!

kay, i'll stop talking so much about this. lunch break is almost finished..
oh, and there's no more wireless at the base. not sure why, but it hasn't been working :(
so i only get internet access when i'm at the office/church and only then during the breaks. sad day.
and i'm now sleeping on the couch in the main living room. which means i don't go to bed until the last person goes to bed and i wake up when the first person wakes up. pray for me that i won't be too tired!

three weeks left here. weird.

i don't have to sleep on the couch anymore :)
instead, i'm on an air mattress in a bedroom! and not just any bedroom... i'll be with the prayer team from the base in scotland. soo excited about that!

update again::
the internet at the base works again thanks to a friendly italian repairman.

Friday, November 14, 2008

puppets 'n stuff.

this is my daily morning 20-minute break time, so i thought i would share a little something i learned. well, it will actually be several random things. here goes:

1) "e la morta sua" - literally, it means "it is the death of him" - but they use it to say "there is no other way for it to be done." usually when cooking. random fact.

2) fresh mozzarella can be an entire course for a meal. the main course, to be exact.

3) meals here consist of at least three courses.
the first is always pasta.
the second is the main course, which can be meat, cooked vegetables, etc. (or fresh mozzarella :))
the third is some kind of salad or fresh vegetables.
while pasta is the first course, you would expect smaller servings of pasta, since it is like an appetizer.. but no. it will be a full plate. and then you are expected to eat two more courses.

4) did you know that you can't hot glue styrofoam? it melts.

5) you know those moving-mouth puppets with the big heads that they use in sunday school/ministry things? well.. my project for yesterday and today is to make two of those. it's so fun! except that finding the supplies was terrible. italy isn't really big on crafts in general, which means that you have to go to one shop to buy the fleece, another shop to buy the hot glue gun, another shop to buy the foam, another shop to buy the styrofoam, and even another shop to buy the boa for the hair. it took an entire afternoon to find everything.

6) there's a guy from naples who has a fabric shop near the church. this is where we found the fleece and the felt. he was soo nice to us, and the only reason he even cut the fabric for us was because i didn't speak italian. it was wonderful! he said he knows how hard it is to be somewhere and not know the language, so he actually cut it for us. otherwise we would have had to buy the whole roll. which is really expensive. praise the Lord!

7) even though i'm leaving here soon, i still feel compelled to learn italian, even after i leave. not sure why. i understand the grammar alright, i just need to learn vocabulary. maybe i will have a "word of the day" like we did in second grade.. it could work!

kay, that's all.
for now.
i'm going to a birthday party tonight for a guy who comes to the church. he's turning 14. it'll be fun :)
and next week the craziness begins with the real last-minute consultation prep. ahh!

love you guys. and i miss you. and america. and the convenience of hobby lobby. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

montagna e conversazione

(translation: mountain and conversation)

yesterday afternoon noelia came over to see me. we ate lunch together (a wonderful pasta with fresh ricotta cheese that philippe made!) and then went for a walk.

she asked me on sunday if i wanted to go with her, and i said yes. but i was very hesitant because it is so difficult to communicate with her. you see, noelia is from argentina, which means her native language is spanish. but argentinian spanish, which is a bit different than the mexican spanish we learn in american schools. on top of that, she has been in italy for five years and has learned some italian as well. enough to get by, at least. but because spanish and italian are so similar she speak a sort of... spatalian? or italianish? like spanglish without lish. kind of. so when she speaks italian, she says a lot of spanish words, but also when she speaks spanish she uses a lot of italian words. it's confusing and very hard for me to understand.

anyway, the base is most of the way up a small mountain, so noelia and i walked to the top of it. incredibly enough, noelia slowed down her speech considerably and used almost exclusively spanish words! i could now understand most of what she said :) we sat at the top of the mountain overlooking the city of pescara and talked about everything from family to school to jobs to why we came to italy. a good conversation. challenging, for sure, but we made ourselves understood, i think.

it was good for me to speak spanish with someone who doesn't know english, because it forced us to listen very very carefully and to speak more carefully. it took effort. a LOT of effort.

on a similar note, today was the first english conversation lesson with both giuseppe (from the restaurant) and barbara. i was soo nervous because i really don't know italian and can't explain things very well in a way that they understand in english. but, amazingly, it went soo well!!

barbara understands english a bit better than giuseppe so she can help him a little more. but afterwards they both said that they thought it was good that i don't speak italian! because it takes more of an effort for them to understand me. if i knew italian it would kind of be like cheating, they said, because then they wouldn't have to think as hard or listen as much. and really, if they are trying to speak english in conversation with someone who doesn't know any italian, it would be the same way! they wouldn't have a translator right there to help them. and it's so true!

i understand because it is the same way with me and noelia when we talk.. we have to make an effort to understand. we have to explain things several times. we have to be intentional about it.

you just have to dive in and learn as you go.
a lesson for language but also for life :)

i also forgot to mention that they asked for more frequent conversation lessons! so they will come every tuesday and thursday now. i'm excited!

Monday, November 10, 2008

con potenza, vieni Signor

(translation: with power, you come Lord.)

God is doing some great things here in pescara, and i haven't really given Him much credit for it here on my blog, but i've turned this into a superficial place for me to write my daily activities.. i apologize. so here's the God stuff that i haven't mentioned. watch out.. there's a lot :)

there are so many ways that i see God working here, though. really, he is opening soo many doors for ministry in pescara! first of all, since i've been here we started a weekly children's program at a park downtown. we have done it about.. five times now? i think. but it happens every saturday afternoon, and we have a pretty consistent group of kids, about 15-20 each week. it's great! they leave singing "Gesu ama tutti bimbi.. tutti bimbi de la terra" (Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world). i think they're starting to understand for God to love them.. we see those children and see the future Christians of pescara.. it's exciting!

through that program at the park, we met a woman named catarina who runs "associazione de rosa" which is a small shelter for abused children. she is now bringing her kids to the program at the park and wants to partner with us for other things too! she's not a Christian, but is very open to anything that will be beneficial to the kids. what a blessing to have those kids at the park each week!

the park where we do the children's program has a restaurant in it. it's a restaurant, but also it hosts art shows and other "cultural" things like that. anyway, the guy who runs the restaurant is soo supportive of what we are doing at the park and is there almost every week just to talk to us and see how things are going. his name is giuseppe (same name as the director of the base here...) and he is also in partnership with the head of tourism in pescara and the arts director or something like that. i'm not sure exactly what.. but anyway, he has asked us to help with a big art festival that is happening in december. they are closing off basically the equivalent of michigan avenue here in pescara and hosting 90 different artists... it's going to be huge! i won't be here when this happens, but everyone else is going to help at an information table, like giving directions and stuff. it's a really great way to meet people, you know?

this last weekend, we helped out with a big wine festival that happened on the main street very near to our church/office building. it gave giuseppe (the director of the base here, not the park restaurant guy..) a chance to meet the main business directors on this street, called via d'avalos. really, it was a great opportunity to make connections. he was pretty excited about it.

and that guy from the park, giuseppe, he comes to the church every tuesday morning for english conversation lessons.. he is soo eager to learn! it's exciting to see him progress. and i have a new student starting tomorrow. her name is barbara and she works just around the corner. she seems really nice, and i hope to build a relationship with her, with what limited communication we can have.. the language barrier is so difficult! but anyway, that means that the english lessons are a really good tool to get to know people and invest in their lives so that we can show them the love of God. to be honest, i feel so nervous every time there's a lesson, because i feel so unqualified to be teaching english. i wish i knew italian better so that i could teach better...

also, there is a girl named megan who is american. she is probably in her mid to late 20s. she actually used to be mormon and she came to italy to be a mormon missionary. her husband owns the real estate company that giuseppe purchased the church/office from, so that's how we met her. anyway, she's not mormon anymore because her husband isn't, which means she's pretty much banned from the mormon church. but she's really spiritually seeking. she's into a few new age-y things, but still knows that it isn't enough... she's been talking to giuseppe recently, and is really open to Christianity, so we've been praying for her a lot. i went to a halloween party with her and a couple of other americans and had a good time, but i just hope and pray that she will come to know the Lord.. there's no way for her to live fulfilled if not through Christ..

another opportunity is through a guy named massimiliano. he is the head of the Christian Motorbikers' Association in italy. he and his family are friends with giuseppe and cristiana and massimiliano wants to partner with giuseppe for some events.. another opportunity for ministry!

so, in short, God has opened soo many doors for ministry here in pescara, and all within about two months! it's crazy to see all this happening. the church is still very very small, but a grassroots ministry always starts that way. it'll be good to see where all these things lead.

this reminds of me of habakkuk 1:5, which says:
"look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!
for i am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn't believe
even if someone told you about it."

praise the Lord, huh?
keep praying :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

bank robbery. clarified.

i realize i forgot to clarify on the "bank robbery" part of my last entry.
but it's true. i witnessed a bank robbery here in pescara! well, kind of. it happened right around the corner from the church/office downtown. the guy ran right past us. it was pretty crazy. the police helicopters were up in a matter of minutes and remained in the sky for several hours. makes it seem like they didn't catch him.
massimiliano said he only sees things like that in american movies. i laughed. :)

i have a new english conversation student named barbara. so she will come on tuesday with the other guy name giuseppe who runs the restaurant at the park. i'm nervous. and i feel completely unqualified. oh well.

i want to update about the things God is doing here, because He's doing so much! i will soon. really, i will.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

bari, fiorenze, siena, assisi, barcelona, bank robbery

this weekend, andy, josh, and i took a road trip. on saturday we left early in the morning to go to a city called Bari which is about 3 hours south of Pescara. there we attended a youth conference/rally of about 400 young people. it was wonderful to see so many people worshiping together in a completely different language and culture. while i didn't understand much of what was going on, it was still beautiful. sometimes i forget that there are conferences like this in places other than america.
i am reminded again and again how small my view of the world is.
our first picture of the trip.. josh, andy, and me
this is the conference center. the decorations were great!

on sunday morning we left early again to go to florence! this was a bit of a change of plans, because we were only going to see siena and assisi on our road trip. it was a welcomed change, though :)
the drive seemed long, but i slept through much of it.

florence was full of people, small alleys, and hard-to-find parking. but once we parked, we got to see the famous Duomo, the tower, the baptistry, piazzas and other famous sites. we took a lot of pictures, but only went into the tower, where we climbed a whole lot of stairs to see a stunning view of the city. my asthma kicked in about halfway up, but i kept going. bad idea. did you know it's hard to climb stairs when you don't have hardly any air coming into your lungs? i looked soo pale when i got to the top! so we stayed at the top for a while so that my airway could open again :)
we even took some fun pictures. well, one in particular::
this is josh. don't worry, he didn't fall. :)
and here's the view from the top of the tower!

when we left florence, we headed for siena. we found our hotel easily, checked in, relaxed a bit, and then went out. we decided to just park in the center of the town, and just walk around to find a pizzeria. we wandered a bit and found the all-famous piazza::
and a clocktower with a really low clock...

so we ate dinner at a restaurant on the piazza. it was good pizza and good beer. a classic italian weekend meal :)::

then we wandered the alleys for a while. we took some fun pictures, went down hidden staircases, and found some beautiful views. it was random, but definitely fun :)
where's the ceiling? where's the floor?!

the next morning, we went to see the inside of the duomo in siena - it was beautiful, too. we even saw people working on the floor of the church! i was overwhelmed by the art there.
why can't we have architecture like this in the states?

we left siena around lunchtime and headed over to Assisi. yep, like st. francis. he's the guy who said "preach the gospel at all times. when necessary, use words." assisi, though, is exactly what i picture when i think of italy. narrow streets, stone buildings, little friendly shops with flowers hanging outside of them.. it was incredible.
here we are in front of the basilica di san francesco (saint francis)

while we didn't spend a whole lot of time in assisi, we did get a walking tour of the perimeter while looking for the car :)
(josh and andy are trying their hardest to close the city gate. can you tell?)
goodbye assisi!

and we're back in pescara, safe and sound.
it was quite the weekend. we definitely fit in a lot of things, we saw so much incredible architecture, and i had a lot of time to think in the car. it was relaxing, refreshing, and overall it was good for my mind and for my soul.

next trip??
barcelona on the 27th :) and maybe (hopefully!) seeing amanda while i'm there!
i found plane tickets for a total of only 20 euros round trip, can you believe it?! i'm excited :)