I love fresh new beginnings. Arriving in a city, setting up life, taking in all the interesting sights and sounds. And endings, they bring a satisfying sense of completion. A job well done or at least lessons learned. But the messy, daily-ness of the middle? That’s where the real growth happens.
Weeks 3 & 4 of Rome Summer Mission have been just that, daily-ness filled to the brim.
At this point in the trip the fun honeymoon phase has worn off. We’ve had to be more intentional about giving grace to each other and seeing the beauty and richness of every day life overseas vs. just being tired and annoyed by say, my children who are still petting all the stray dogs, playing with trash, eating unidentifiable greenery and yes, still licking the handrails.
Beauty of every day life:
Petting stray dogs:
The stark contrasts of culture are starting to fade into the background and the new norms are surfacing. “Our” park, “our” bus route, “our” metro stop, “our” Italian friends, etc.
Our team times each morning have become more authentic and our students have bonded beautifully. Not to mention, D and EG literally think the college students are their best friends. We host the team several evenings a week and every Tuesday morning for prayer. (Sometimes snacks for prayer = massive servings of bacon and eggs, because, well, shockingly, after 4 weeks, bacon and eggs sound better than a Nutella stuffed croissant…? It happens.) It’s my kids’ highlight of life to get to be around these sweet students who love them so well.
We all worked together to host an Italian + American Karaoke Night and invited all our new friends to come sing, dance, eat American food (who knew 2 pans of brownies would require 4 hours of labor and 60 EURO?!?) and experience the love of Christ in the context of community. We invited everyone to the downstairs of our hostel which drew a crowd of students from Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Canada and Utah!
Nothing says Italian + America Karaoke Party like the theme song from Beauty & The Beast in Italian.
The next day we took a day trip to Tivoli, a small town just outside of Rome, to help the students catch their breath from the busyness of big city life.
Oddly enough, as we arrived back in Rome, we all had an interesting sense of “home”. We knew the fruit stand owners and the waitresses at our favorite cafe knew us by name. Having set up daily life in our little corner of the city had made us feel at home in a place so different from our norm. It was a great feeling.
We spent Sunday having a “Funday” as a family and explored the “Central Park” of Rome–Villa Burgese.
We didn’t stop laughing on our 4-person bike ride.It was one of my favorite days together here. We went back to life on campus Monday and have spent all this week having second and third appointments with the students we’ve met and shared Christ with. We’ve learned so much about ministering to Italians and it’s grown our hearts for them in huge ways. I think THEY are why Rome has begun to feel like home. And I know God is doing a great work in the hearts of many of these students. Seriously, I love these girls. And if Rome didn’t feel like home, you’d better believe seeing some wonderfully dear friends who were traveling and stopped in Rome made us so happy!
Grayson was in my Bible study for 4 years and her husband was an intern with us at USC.
And if those wonderful friends weren’t enough, look who came to visit this week?!?
I mean, the woman endured 2 canceled flights, sharing a hotel room with a perfect stranger, soaking wet luggage and setting off the security alarm 18 times with the pancake mix we requested her to bring…something about a white powdery substance and customs. I’m not totally sure. All I know is Bisquick-bearing Gigi’s are just what you need by week 4!!!
Cue all the gelato comas. Alright! We have 10 days left and are expecting God to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine in our lives and in the lives of the students we are working with. Please join us in praying for revival in Rome!