Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When she was a little girl my mom lived in a castle in New Jersey. It's true you can ask her about it, she loves to tell the story. I myself have not grown up in a fairytale dwelling, but I did spend the last two days sitting in a castle in Colorado Springs at Glen Erie.

Why? So glad you asked, I was attending a workshop called Body Builders Boot Camp. Sounds like something more military than missionary right? The whole point of Boot Camp was to train me to gather around me the best support team possible to join me in ministry by joining my financial team.

If you know me you know that numbers and money talk is not my favorite subject in the world, so you can understand why I was not especially looking forward to Boot Camp. Thankfully very little of what they went over had to do with numbers and figures. Most of what we talked about was building lasting relationships which again if you know me you know is one of my favorite topics!

So all in all it was a good two days spent in this room with this gigantic fireplace that oh how I wish they would have lit!

With 50 other people who are also learning how to build life long relationships with their own financial teams. There were at least 20 different organizations represented and it was so exciting to see all the people and ways God is using to spread the good news.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back in the USA

I thought the trip home would be hard because it would be difficult to leave Roma behind. I was right...but not because I was in tears...it was just incredibly hard to leave the city. We rushed to the train station and made it just as the train pulled up! However not more than a moment after we had entered our first tunnel did the train come to a halt. Brian and I along with my luggage, some men from Germany (maybe) and some Italians were standing in between two cars with the power out in a tunnel under Roma. (plus all the other passengers on the train) At first I thought we were just pausing so they could let a train go by or maybe get something off the tracks. But as 10 min turned into 20 into 30 into 40 I began to wonder if we were victims of the train strike that we had heard about earlier in the week. Of course standing in the dark for 40 min on a train gives you plenty of time to think of all the reasons why and how this was going to mess up the rest of the day's travel. I do not travel by train a lot in the states, though I have and I am pretty sure that in the same sort of situation someone in charge would have come on a speaker or walked through the train to let you know what in the world was going on. This however was not the case in Roma. So we waited. And eventually we went. Still don't know why we stopped, but glad that we went.

We had left early so that I could be to the airport early, which was good, or I would have missed my flight. Luckily I made it just in time to board my plane. Then we remained on the runway for about an hour, because of the looming thunderstorm which had everything backed up. The flight was full but I was at the beginning of a section, so I had extra leg room, which was nice. I could even put my feet up on the wall in front of me, an added bonus. Unfortunately the young guy sitting next to me was pretty antsy and could not stop moving. And he had an iphone or ipod, that he played racing games on which required him to swish back and forth and throw his elbows around. All in all not my favorite 9 hours of my life but it was not a bad flight.

I think we somehow arrived on time in DC but it took over an hour to get through customs and all that, so I missed my plane to Colorado by 15 min. Which was actually not a horrible thing, because it gave me a chance to grab some Starbucks and check my phone messages and just not be on a plane for a min or two.

The flight to Colorado was only a little over 3hours or so. And was fine, aside from the guy in front of me who decided to recline his seat into my lap. I just do not understand why they even make airplane seats recline. It really makes no sense. I think that his reclining would not have been quite as annoying if he could ahve refrained from continually throwing himself backwards, causing my drinks to slosh, my pen to jump and my knees to be bumped.

Needless to say I am glad to be here in Denver, after having slept, enjoyed a morning coffee (not the same as yours Brian, but I am staying with a Barista so not bad.) and a yummy waffle.

It is quite here. No cars honking or trucks rattling windows or people speaking loudly into their cells. It is so quite.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For Jordan

Hey Poofy Doof - since you really liked the building with the hole in the roof and since you had to go to the dentist today to get the hole in your tooth filled I wanted to show you the video I took of the Pantheon. I hope it makes you feel better!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Tomorrow morning I get to go to Italian class! Pray for me:) Then in all fairness I get to go to English class:)

Yep. We are going to the American Baptist church tomorrow to teach conversational English. This is not the same church as on Sunday. This is the only Evangelical English speaking church in Rome. So Brian and Sarah go here to teach English along with some others and tomorrow night I get to go too.

The Long Way

This morning I set out alone while Brian and Sarah attended their language class. My mission was to find the new "outdoor" (they moved it indoor) market. Right past the gate to the Apartment is a bookstore, and a Green Grocery with the most beautiful artichokes.

This is the view from across the street looking back towards the apartment, and the artichokes. Behind all the cars

This is my street. I took a picture, just in case I forgot.Here are some other shots I captured around the area I am living.

Like I said I was on a mission to find the market, but at a turn around I got turned around, and ended up walking at least 10 blocks the opposite direction that I wished to go. Then I hopped on a bus that had my stop, but turns out since I was headed the wrong way it took me even further from my point of interest. But never fear all was not lost. (just me) I did stop in a super market, and discovered thankfully that they carry much of the same stuff as back home as far as hair care and toiletries so that will be good. I also popped into a soccer shop, looked around and then left after I decided I did not want my little brother sporting silhouettes of naked females on his person.

Eventually I used my little Italian to ask a kind stranger which stop to get off once I was on the bus heading the right direction. He was friendly and happened to be getting off at my stop as well. Which as it turns out was only about a block from where I got turned around.

I found the market that I set out to find. It is everything I wanted it to be and more...

Anthony Bourdain eat your heart out!

I also achieved being mistaken for an Italian, even with a camera strapped around my neck! And I ordered my cafe and a had it standing up!

Finally I made my way home with out getting turned around at all and even taking an alternate bus, because apparently the 990 bus driver decided to stop for lunch or something.

All in all long, but good morning.
Plus I got my 10,000 steps in before lunch!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Glorious Sunday

Lets see, I woke at about 8am to sun shining through my window. I slipped on my dress, enjoyed some good coffee made by Brian with some toast. Brian took off to go gather up some visiting ladies from the US who are here to discover how their church might partner with churches and ministries here in Italy. Not a bad idea...if you have a church that would like to partner with me in ministry let me know! Maybe you too will then get to share in a glorious Sunday here in Roma!

Sarah and I finished getting ready, and then headed to the train, which we took to Travestere a beautiful much quieter part of the city. From the train we hopped on the tram, and then walked the rest of the way. On the way we saw the Tiber, and the Island that is also or was also the Jewish Ghetto. There was also a monument to honor famous writers and poets from this part of Rome. And a family home where Dante stayed, where each Sunday they read in the courtyard some of his writings. Right outside the door of the church was a little outdoor market, where I spied two nuns and a priest bartering I think.

We actually made it a little early, so we wandered down the street passed a sweet old fiat in excellent condition as we made our way to Piazza Di S Maria.
In this square there is a church from the 15th cent. (I think) that has the first fresco of Mary sitting on the throne and being worshiped by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Sarah who is amazing with history said this came long before this was even a doctoral belief.

There was a little old man playing his accordion, there are a lot of people here who play accordions. It is quite popular on the subway too. Of course they would also like your money, but at least it is better than just sitting in the street begging.

Church, the church we went to is a church that was planted and built here in the mid 19th Century by the Baptists. It is quite small but in a great part of the city so it is worth about 10 million, hard to believe when you see it, not that it is not cute, it is, but 10 million is a lot. In this tiny building we joined maybe 150-200 other Christ Followers for a time of worship! Beautiful heartfelt Spirit led worship.

In someways it was very similar to our church in Felton; they have a worship team that like ours is led by women, and they met to pray before they started the service as ours does, but they just gathered in a circle up front. They started with announcements like we do, then songs. The songs were filled with life, I have decided I love singing worship songs in Italian! It was the drummers birthday and he is from Brazil I think. There was the drummer, three female vocalists, and one male, a guitar player, a flautist and a keyboardist. It was beautiful, and everyone sang and clapped and praised the Lord. Oh and they too use Media Shout, which is handy until they kinda did a split or a round of sorts, then it is a little harder to follow, but I managed. There was also a lot of time for prayer, they had people up front pray as well as a time for the Body of Christ to pray. Then more and more singing and more prayer and offering and more prayer. We sang Seek Ye First at some point in Italian of course. Then there was a puppet show put on by the youth of the church, it was done very well, I hope you enjoy.

They are going to be taking their show into the local hospitals and put it on for the kids there. You can be praying for them as they go out and share the good news here in Roma!

After that it was time for the sermon, they have a husband and wife who are sharing the role of pastor. They actually over see three congregations, so they take turns preaching. Today we had the wife. She spoke out of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11 talking about the fact that we as adults get caught up in a cycle of worry and yet Jesus came o break that cycle of worry. We need to trust Him and know that there is a time for everything. I really loved the service.

From there we went back to the Piazza for lunch with the 3 ladies that Brian had picked up from the US. We had a great lunch together and got to share with them about the need in Roma, as well as hear their hearts. It was a great lunch.

After lunch we ended up wandering all over the city towards the Forum and the Capitol Hill area. I took lots and lots of pictures. It was fitting to see the Forum on the Ides of March.

Now it is about 8pm and we are just sitting down for supper, and to rest our weary feet.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


My mom asked me via facebook if I have been surprised by anything; not at first, but then I thought about the elderly population here and that they are so out and about. On public transportation, meeting with friends that they have likely known their whole life, wandering the streets, going about their business. I love it.

I was also caught off guard by my own journal entry. I laid down on my bed to write and what poured out on to the pages was not descriptions of the beautiful sites, or my day, it was my heart. Let me share...

9 years ago I like millions before me threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain with the hope that the folklore would in fact become reality. Now here I am living the dream of millions of people throughout the ages-I have returned to the city that I loved at first sight. This time not only as a tourist but as a future resident. So my vision is different, which is as it should be, seeing as I am on my vision trip.

A trip set up to help me more fully understand the ministry that God has invited me to join Him in. To meet my team leaders, to get a firsthand look at what it will mean to live here in the midst of a passionate people who want to experience life but who (for the most part) do not have a personal relationship with the giver of life. A people who feast on bread and wine but have not experienced the freedom and forgiveness it represents. A city known throughout the world as the center of the Church, but that is dying spiritually. These are the people God is inviting me to share with about His love, forgiveness, and life, what a privilege and a joy to get to share with them true passion - the passion of the Christ as well as the Passion I have for Christ. What an awesome responsibility.

(this is not to say that there are no Christian's here. Of course there are, but there are so many others who have yet to discover the love of Jesus.)

It is only my second day here and already it is clear that I was created to live here. It is a part of me. Even though I am seeing the trash on the streets, the graffiti everywhere and the dog crap along the sidewalks - the more real side of Roman life, it is not enough to kill my love for this place and these people.

Both days we have spent a good chunk of it out and about. You could never be truly bored here. It is just impossible. Nothing here will let you be that lame. There are more things to see that you could experience in a lifetime. (not to mention all the things you cannot see) And more is still being unearthed. Churches built upon churches that are built upon pagan temples. Chapels decorated with human remains, by priests who made it their life purpose to not let the dead saints be forgotten. I am telling you people are passionate here. (even about really odd things like dead saints)

There are gardens and roads everywhere and more sky than I know what to do with. If somehow you ran out of things to see, then you could spend an eternity people watching. It is fantastic. Like a soap opera, beautiful people engaged in lively conversations, or making music or just driving like crazy people. There are about 4-5 million people who call Rome home, and that is not counting the millions just passing through. Each one with their own story, Can you imagine the beautiful tapestry that would weave? Like giving life to life story upon story all tied together by they fact that they were each knit together by the Master Creator. He who is holding all the threads together.

Try, just try to wrap your mind around the vastness that this city represents, the possibilities the heart of God. I cannot, I only have but a glimpse of this city of ruins, filled with life but headed towards spiritual death. A people who have what many can only dream of and yet without Christ have nothing at all. It breaks my heart. As it should. Yet there is a hope that is tangible here as well. I can see God pulling all the strings together weaving all the lives of His people to tell His story.

Of course there are Brian and Sarah but more than that we share a passion for an organic people-relational ministry a ministry of strong theology that is Christ centered. Then there are the partners that God is providing, a few local churches, people from Campus Crusade and possibly Young Life International and churches in the states with a passion for planting churches here. God is good. And He loves these people so it is such a blessing to be a part of that pouring out of His love and affection.

That my friends was the journal entry that surprised me, it is typed here as it appears in my journal, so don't mind the roughness, or rawness expressed, I had not written it with the intention of sharing it, but you need to know my heart is beating a little differently here.

[I know that some of my statements were vast generalizations...it was a journal entry not a research paper...please hear my heart, not get caught up in the details]

And of course a few of my favorite pics of the day...

This is one view from the roof of the apartment, as Brian pointed out, even if we only ever reached the people here it would be 1000's.
Brian and Sarah at the park with me for our first team meeting! Brian went and grabbed us some espresso! My kind of staff meeting. (right dad?)

This is the Trinita Church right at the top of the Spanish Steps. Beautiful, no?
I loved that the hotel decided to let you know who made the fountain. It is King Triton in case you were unsure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

All Roads Lead to Roma

After what seemed like an eternity I have arrived in the Eternal City. Bear with me through this post as I am operating on next to no sleep in what may be 2 days? Not so sure. And we are still awaiting the Daylight Savings here in Roma, so it may mess my up again.

My flight landed in Roma at 7am ish Italy time on Friday, which was 12am Thursday CA I think. Doesn't so much matter, because I am here now. I rode the train with Brian to their neighborhood which is a five min stroll from the backside of the Vatican. He kindly showed me to the apartment, to my room, and the bathroom. Then left to go to his language class. I promptly took a shower, and took a nap. I slept maybe 2 hours then got up and enjoyed the Pizza that Brian and Sarah returned with for lunch.

We then headed out to explore the neighborhood. We went to the Piazza del Popolo where we went to a church filled with monuments dedicated by people to commemorate their death or gifts to the church. There was also this fantastic bronze statue of Jesus as the Light of the World. It was the crucified Jesus but risen, as if coming out of sunbeams. A great image of Easter, and the reason why we are here. It was at the center of this church filled with images of death.
Also, while we were there we got to enjoy the musical talents of some Romans as they practiced for some performance.

Then it was time for Cafe! You know I love my coffee. From there we continued to the Tiber River and wandered along the river to the bridge of Angels and towards the Vatican, back to a bus and then to the apartment.

We just finished a fabulous dinner of tortellini with walnuts and brussel sprouts. (which I have never had, but really enjoyed.) Now it is time for Tea with Mussolini.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Only a few more hours. It is 5:30pm here so it is 1:30am in Rome Thanks to Day Light Savings time it is only 8 hours ahead not 9.

Please keep my Dad and I in your prayers as we head to the San Fransisco Airport at 4:30am tomorrow morning. I am still not excited to be in a car, and it is pretty early. Thankfully looks like we won't have any bad weather to contend with.

My first flight to Washington DC takes off at 8:01am, and I will land in DC at 3:45pm

I leave from DC at 5:15, so not much of a layover, please pray that we arrive on time, and that I find my way to the right spot.

I will then fly all night and land in Rome at 6:35am on Friday!

Be checking in as I will do my best to keep the blog current and filled with pictures and stories!

Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Friday, March 6, 2009

March Prayer Letter

Ciao! È buono da essere vivo, Translation; it is good to be
alive! Just two days ago I was in a major car accident and
while the cars did not fend to well, all of us involved walked
away with just whip lash and bruises. Praise God! While
my car was spinning about the strange yet peace bringing
thought that flashed through my mind was, well, I know I’m
not going to die, because I know God is sending me to
Rome. Another great picture that God painted for me in
this experience was looking in the backseat after it was
over and seeing my prayers strewn across the seat. My car
was literally covered in prayers, which is evident when you
see the truck that hit us.
Another reason is it great to be alive, is that in just a few
short days I will be jumping on a plane and heading to
Rome to meet my Team Leaders Brian and Sarah
Bennetch! I will be in Rome from March 13th-March20th for
my Vision Trip. It is a chance for me to really catch the
bigger vision of what God has invited me to. Since I will be
there on the Ides of March, it turns out according to
Wikipedia that there will be a toga run through the streets of
Rome. A good blog I found on this is
Just in case you are curious.
I would love to witness a bunch of people dressed in bed
sheets running through the streets there are a few things I
am looking forward to more. I am excited to meet my
teammates, see the neighborhood in which they live, and
where I may live. I want to see Rome through the eyes of
one who will be calling it home, not as I did years ago as a
tourist. To prepare for my trip I picked up a great book
called Four Seasons in Rome. I have loved author,
Anthony Doerr’s descriptions of the eternal city. Let me
share with you what he says as spring unfolds…
“Indeed the whole city seems to be filling up, breath after
breath of springtime blowing off the hills, piles of artichokes
appearing at the vegetable stand, then fava beans, then
strawberries, as if a sequence of northbound waves are
breaking over the city. The austerity of Lent gives way:
Romans pour out of their houses and swirl through the
streets, throng the markets in Testaccio, sit hip to hip along
the benches outside the Palazzo Farnese, devouring
See, don’t you want to come and do life in this city too
introducing the Eternal City to the Eternal God so that they
might experience Eternal Life? I thought so.
Following Him,
Prayer Requests and Praises:
• Praise God that my accident was not
worse, and that I could walk away seeing
His hand at work providing peace and
• Praise God that I get to go to Rome for my
Vision Trip!
• Praise God that I get to go to Colorado to
attend a Support Team Building Workshop!
• Pray with me for continued safe travel as I
head to Rome and then Colorado and back
to Santa Cruz.
• Pray that my time in Rome and Colorado
will help immensely on my Road to Rome