This past Saturday I moved into my very own apartment in Rome! I have been living life in the homes of so many other people in the past two years that I had begun to lose hope of ever having a place to call home. I can honestly say it is a wonderful gift to have a home. It is something that many people take for granted but, when you have gone without one for awhile you realize what a precious thing a home is. Somewhere to return to, to welcome others into, to hide, to express yourself, to rest, to nest, to feel safe, to relax, to work, to play, to cook, to put your stuff, to just be.
My new home is beautiful, and is an answer to so many prayers. It is big enough for me to welcome others in comfortably, but not so big that I will have to spend hours cleaning or searching for my keys. It is furnished with very nice furniture and even a few paintings of Italy. This is not something I thought I wanted, but what God knew I would need, as it has saved me a lot of money that I did not have. And I ended up with nicer things than I could have afforded on my own. It also saved me a lot of hassle, as not having a car makes buying large items even from ikea kinda a pain. I had even dreamed of having chandeliers and there are three in my new home. (so like God) My home is also very convenient, because it is just across the street from the Train Station, and it is just a 3 min walk from my Team Leaders home. I can now make it to school each day in 30 min when everything is working, before it would take me an hour. Funny how a 3 min walk can save you 30 min.
Having a home has also already opened up the door for me to build better relationships with people here in Rome. I have had friends over, of course. But what was even better was that the people in my home group were quick to offer their services when it came to helping me move. If you have ever had to move alone, be it across the street or across the globe you know how overwhelming and sad it can be to do it alone. So when my new friend here offered to help before I even asked I was overjoyed and we had me moved in one car load, in less than 10 min! AMAZING! Another friend volunteered to accompany me to ikea, which meant a whole afternoon of following me about with a cart, and then helping me cart all of my goodies home via buses and metros. Super sweet, and super helpful!
Like I said above, now that I have a home I have a place to return to, which is fantastic, as I am leaving tomorrow morning for Moldova! If you have been following my newsletters and prayer updates than you already know that I am going to Moldova (that is a country near Romania, in fact at one point it was part of Romania. Just in case you like me had no idea where Moldova was, if you don’t know where Romania is well then you might consider playing traveler IQ on Facebook for a few hours) I am heading to Moldova to attend the European Conference on Prostitution and Human Trafficking “Escape 2010”- an All-European conference, bringing together grass-roots Christian practitioners who are working together to combat human trafficking and prostitution. I am expecting that this will be a difficult conference to be a part of due to the topic, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers. I will return home after the conference.
When I return home I will jump right back into Italian classes, where I started my next level just yesterday. I have passed both of my exams, and I am happy to say that I have some amazing instructors and things are starting to click! Again I am so thankful for all my Italian speaking friends who have been so helpful and patient with me as I learn their beautiful but difficult language. Their kindness has paid off as many of them are now taking English classes that I help to teach, and we get to reverse the roles a bit. I really am enjoying teaching English, as I get to remember what it feels like to know something J I am helping with the primary level and have a fantastic class made up of all ages and people from Italy and other countries as well, we meet every Tuesday night. I am also going to begin helping one of the instructors at my language school with conversational English when I return from Moldova.
Aside from all of that our home group is a blast! I love attending each Friday, and am constantly impressed with the depth of our discussions. You can pray that we will continue to grow as a group and that discipleship will continue to take place. I have also started helping to hand out food on Monday nights at the main train station. My very first week of doing so there was a pretty serious fight between some of those who came to get a meal; one man was badly injured when the other hit him over the head with a bottle, and then came at him with the broken bottle. Please continue to pray for peace and safety as we continue to serve in this important ministry. I was unable to attend this week, but I was told that they were able to pass out 200 meals. There are just two women who make all of the food and package it all up, and there are a handful of volunteers to hand out the food. Pray for wisdom and direction for this ministry as it is new, but growing quickly, also for more help and a few people who can speak in Italian and English well!
Thank you again for all your prayers and support, I cannot live out God’s calling on my life here in Rome apart from your role in this ministry! Huge thanks to those of you who have been giving regularly and to those of you who just started or resumed your giving!