Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Latest from Rome

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!   

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ho una CASA!!!

I have a HOME!  Today I met with the Land Lady, her son (who owns the place and is 20) and the Realtor and her son, I signed the contract and I paid my money and now I have a Home!!!  I actually have the keys a whole mess of them!  Thank you for all your prayers I will post pictures sometime this weekend I am sure!  Like I said before this Apartment is a gift from God and a huge answer to many many prayers!  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


In Italiano Adesso means Now.  What is happening Adesso?

So glad you asked.  Here in Rome there is a lot happening right Adesso!  In the past 10 days I have had the chance to share about God's provision in my class at language school.  One of my friends from my Language School came to home group, he is a priest from Poland.  I got to go to the beach, something I had never done in Italy!  And what made it better was the great time I had with my two friends from our home group.  I got the chance to go to the main train station in Rome last night and hand out food to those who were very hungry, in the process God made it clear that my experience from my time at the Dream Center and in Haiti will be an asset to this new ministry.  I will be meeting with the director of this much needed ministry next week sometime to discuss strategies.  Today I met with my Realtor and her assistant and though I went to talk about my apartment, we ended up spending most the time talking about what it is to be a Christian and about our Friday group their level of interest in what I believe was so amazing to me, and I would not be surprised if this was just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue and hopefully relationship.    Tonight I got to attend  and help teach free English classes at a local church.  I had a great time helping people experiment with English some for the first time.  Tomorrow I will get to see two friends from home.  On Friday I will sign the papers for my new apartment, and I can move in this weekend.  Brian and Sarah return to Rome Friday morning, and I am looking forward to their return.  A week from Thursday I will be heading to Moldova for the conference on helping to stop Human Trafficking. 

Adesso there is a lot happening!  Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Casa

I have been in Rome for 2 months and 10 days (but whose counting) and during that time I have stayed with a girl from my home group and then in the apartment of Brian and Sarah my team leaders while they have been on home assignment in the states for the past 2 months.  Before moving to Rome I shared a bunk bed and room with my little brother and prior to that my friends graciously allowed me to stay in their extra room while I raised my support.

I have not had a real "home of my own" since May 2009...Which is why I am so excited to tell you that God has provided me with a fantastic new place to call home, and just in the nick of time!  Brian and Sarah return a week from today, and I really wanted to have a place to move into before their return.

So, just when I had reached the end of my rope, when I had lost all hope of finding an apt in this neighborhood, that fit the bill God showed up in big ways!  On Wed, I called home and asked my mom to pass along a prayer request to my faithful prayers that meet on Wed mornings.  I knew that if God was going to listen to anyone He would totally hear these saints prayers!  I asked them to pray for the following:

  1. An apt near Brian and Sarah's. (in Balduina)
  2. A place I could afford.
  3. If they really wanted to be specific a place by next week
  4. And even more specifically by the park and train station I had gone to pray in that day.
I woke up on Thursday morning to find an email in my inbox from an Apt Agency (which I get everyday) but when I clicked on this ad, it opened up this page.

Which told me, that this apt. was available for rent just a 4 min walk from Brian and Sarah's apt.  That it was the right size and price.  That it is across the street from the train station, that it is a 2 min walk from the park. And they want to rent to a foreigner.

Can you say THAT WAS GOD!

It gets even cooler...I emailed a friend across the street who has better Italian skills than I and asked him to call about the place for me.  He did, and so when my phone rang during my 15 min caffè break Thursday morning at school and a Realtor who spoke English wanted to talk to me about the Apt, I was so excited!  He called the Land Lady and we had an appointment set up for today before I was done with my cappuccino!

Today I went alone to look at the apt. because I figured that the Realtor who spoke English would be there.  He was not and in his place was a woman who spoke no English and the Land Lady who spoke limited English.  But by then I knew I was supposed to have this apt., so I just did my best in Italian.

They showed me the apt.  I was instantly sold on it.  It is furnished which is something originally I was against, but after being here I have discovered that my funds just don't go very far, and that I cannot afford to furnish an apt.  So it is really for the best.  It has an entryway, a nice size living room/dining room, a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and balcony, a large built in closet in the hallway.  The kitchen is new and big enough for me to start cooking some amazing dinners for all my new friends soon! The bathroom even has a washing machine, the living room even has a TV and a hide-a-bed. 

All of this is made even better because after I sign papers next week, I can move in!  I will have a home! 

Thank you for all your prayers!  God heard them...and he even heard the desires of my heart, as there is a chandelier in the bedroom, which is just one of those things I had wanted.  God is Good!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Little Things

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty down.  Some may have been quick to call it homesickness, but for me I just felt like I had lost myself.  I missed having the ability to communicate, I missed being able to hang with gals, I missed simple things like going to movies, and coffee with friends, but mostly being able to express who I am. 

In the afternoon I let go and told God how I was really feeling, I even let the tears flow.  I wrote my thoughts, my prayers I poured out my heart.  Then I went to our Friday night home group and you know what, God answered my prayers.  The girls were all back from vacation!  And in fact we had so many people and two tables that we ended up sitting ladies at one table and guys at the other.  It seems I am not the only one who was desiring to have some girl time.  Then during our Bible study time, I found enough words to stumble through a few thoughts, and I actually followed the whole study!  Another answer to prayer.  After we were done a few of the girls and I made plans to get coffee this week!  Yet another answer to prayer!

Then there was today.  Another whole day to fill alone.  I had really wanted to go to the beach, but it seemed that it was not in the cards, so I decided to take myself to the mall.  I had been there once, but in a car with others.  This time I took the metro and a bus, and made it with no problems.  If you have not been shopping in Italy you may not know that the sizing here is enough to make you feel like an elephant if you are even just an American size 12, you could have a hard time finding clothes.  But, I had found one store on my last visit where I had found a shirt, so I went hoping to have a bit of luck.  What I had was more than luck, it was yet another answer to prayer!  I found exactly what I had gone looking for.  I am still in shock.  Not only because I found the clothes but because they fit beautifully, and the store clerks were more than helpful!  And you know what else this means, I have lost weight since getting here another answer to prayer!

So thank you all for all your love and prayers.  I know that not all of this is what you expect to hear when you read a prayer update, but you should know that sometimes when you are away from everything you know it is in fact the little things that can give you the strength to keep on keeping on.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Molto Interessante

Today in my Italian class we spent part of the time answering the question Che lavoro fai?  We were supposed to use the verb "Fare= to do or to be" conjugated to Faccio to answer the question of what do you do for work? 

For example:  Che lavoro fai?  Faccio l'insegnante (What do you do for work?  I am a teacher.)

This was an easy assignment.  And we flew through our responses around the room, but then we got to me and the gal sitting next to me.  Both of us being missionaries would have the same response.  She went first, "Faccio Missionaria."  And then here came the real lesson for today.  The insengnante paused the lesson to ponder and then said, for Missionaria you could say Faccio, but the more correct response would be Sono Missionaria.  Sono is from the verb Essere = to be.  She explained to the class that a missionary is not a job but a lifestyle.  Hum. Fantastic when your language helps you define so clearly something that is often hard to explain.

My other favorite part of this lesson was when we were calling out names of professions in Italy.  I said Pastore, and my teacher again paused and gave me a funny look.  And said that is an old job, no one is a pastore anymore.  But, yes people who work and live with their sheep are called Pastore.  Then I explained to her that in the Chiesa (church) non-Catholic there are indeed people working who are called Pastore, and that the people who follow their teaching are sometimes referred to as their sheep.  She realized I was correct and liked the lesson too I think.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Enjoying the Unexpected

Living in a country not my own, I have come to the conclusion that you have one of two options you can either enjoy the unexpected, or you can not.  I have for the most part chosen to go with the flow, and appreciate the unanticipated aspects of life here.

For example, in the last two weeks there have been 6 days when the Metro did not run all the way to my stop for school.  So instead of being frustrated I took the opportunity to find new ways to get to class and home again.  And now I can safely say that should there be a Metro problem again, I will have alternate ways of making it to my school!  Or when my friends were here they needed to be at the main Metro/Train station at the crack of dawn, which is obviously a time of day I try to spend under my sheets not on the streets.  But it turns out that Rome is actually much cooler and more peaceful at 5:30 am!  And the sun rising over the city lighting it in ways I had not yet seen took my breath away.  Plus, I decided to take the few extra hours I had before my school began to spend some time with God, and on my way to my favorite coffee bar I discovered joy in the form of a fresh pastry that tasted like french toast, but was filled with cream like a doughnut!  Deliciousness that I would have never experienced at later hour.

On Sunday, after church I took the tram, and as I was riding the lights flickered, then the air stopped, and then the tram lost connection with the power lines thus we came to a stop.  This could have been annoying, and I could have rushed over with all the other people to catch the next tram, and been packed in like sardines, (replace the oil in the can with the sweat and you can more fully grasp the idea).  Instead I chose to walk a little ways and catch one a bit further down, where I got a seat.  And when I reached the Train Station made it just on time for my train home, which made me just on time to meet up with a friend to catch a ride to a picnic!

And then there was today.  I was heading home from school as I do almost everyday, but today I decided to stop at a bookshop cafe for lunch and to do my homework instead of sitting at home alone to study.  So I got off the Metro, walked to the bookshop only to find it is closed for the month for a remodel (note to friends in Rome, La Feltrinelli Bookshop near Piazza Repubblica  is closed )  I was about to give up and just head home, but then decided that a nearby cafe looked like an equally good spot.  I took a seat and not long after was joined by a gal from Mexico who sat at the next table.  We struck up a conversation, and I discovered that she was here in Rome on vacation all alone, and not having a great time of it.  So I offered my services as tour guide and friend for the afternoon, and we both got to enjoy having some company and conversation.  I made it home just two hours later than normal, but feel much more refreshed and blessed.  And my homework is already done!  So I had time to update this blog!

Hope you are finding joy in the many surprises in your life.