Just when I thought I was getting my footing here in Rome...I am just starting my 8th month of living in Italy. And things were settling into a routine, wake up go to school for 4-5 hours, homework, time to meet with people, go to bed. But this month God had different plans.
This month because I am not fully supported I had to stop attending my language school. At first this seemed like getting the rug pulled out from under me. I had just passed a very hard level of Italian and had studied very hard for my test after having missed quite a few days last month being sick. My pride wanted me to say, no I have to keep attending this school, but wisdom and money said no.
But as I thought about it I realized that this may in fact be an answer to prayers. I had been frustrated that I was not meeting more Italians and that I was not able to spend a lot of time with God or in my neighborhood. Because I cannot afford language school for the time being I am finding free and creative ways to improve my Italian. One of these ways is to find language exchange partners. And as it turns out there are a lot of Italians looking for just that. So in this way because of my need, God is going to be filling my schedule with Italians whom I can and will be expected to talk to. Hmmmm...feels like a good thing. And as I have been browsing the language exchange websites searching for partners, it seems like there are quite a few who are studying or have an interest in Film and Television, hummmm what was my major again? Oh yes, that's right Film and Television. Seems like once again God never lets anything go to waist.
Now that I do not have to be up before the sun to get to school I can also start my days with God. And I figured that I would bring a little bit of CA into my neighborhood by having my time with God at the Coffee Bar downstairs. This is not really done here, people do not just sit around at coffee shops like they do in CA reading their favorite book or Bible for that matter. But, I figure since this Coffee bar is in my neighborhood and I desire to be a light in my neighborhood one good way to make people begin to take notice of me is to let myself be different. Which in this case is a comfort to me, as I have missed my morning quite times at Coffee Cat with a cappuccino and my God.
Already I can tell that Satan is not so excited about my new found avenues for ministry. Two nights ago, I was heading to go teach English at a local church and when I went to board the train like I do almost everyday my footing was not good, and I slipped landing with my left leg and half of my body between the train and the platform. Thankfully the kind people inside the train pulled me up quickly before the train doors shut on me and before the train departed. However in falling I injured my leg pretty badly as it hit the train. I decided there was nothing to do but continue on to class as I had invited some new friends to try out the beginning level, and did not want them to show up and not find me there. I transferred to the metro, and then after hobbled tears falling to the rest of the way to the church. Some of the other teachers helped clean me up a bit and got me some ice for my swollen leg.
Yesterday when I got up I knew I still needed to meet with God and encounter my neighbors so despite the pain I went to the Coffee bar and settled myself at one of the outdoor tables.
just as I was finishing my reading and beginning my praying an older woman with bear legs (sunny but COLD) the size of my wrists if that came and sat down, I looked up and knew instantly that this woman was homeless. Now we have homeless for sure in Rome, but not in this neighborhood. She looked cold, and she was using a cup of hot water to mix with a can of soup. I recalled that I had 2 extra pair of tights that were too small in my apt. and some gloves, so I asked her in Italian if she was cold. She promptly put her thumb on her nose and all 5 fingers wiggling about stuck out her tongue and made an ugly face. I was a bit taken aback, but seeing as I am from SC was not totally thrown off. I packed up my stuff went home, put together a gift bag for her; sweater, tights, tea, crackers, gloves, and a book about God in Italian. I made my way back down there, and handed the lady the bag. She looked surprised, and then angrily spat out words that I could not make out, and then demanded for a coffee. I told her I did not have coffee, as I had left everything else back in my apt, including my wallet. She went back to her soup, and I went back home.
I had been reading Exodus, about Moses being sent to the Israelites to get them to leave. And had noticed how at first when leaving meant harder work for a time, they were willing to stay as they were rather than get rescued. Funny how God works. Then at home I listened to Dad’s sermon about the Famine in the Land and again was struck by the idea that the people here are unable to see their own true needs, and are willing to stick with quick fixes.
All this to say, please pray with me as I try to get my footing in this new approach to language learning, and ministry. Pray that God would continue to reveal His path to me, and not let me stumble. You can also pray that my conversations with these new language partners and times in my neighborhood that God would be glorified that people (myself included) would be aware of the need for a savior, for rescuing and would find that in Jesus.