04.30.06

Encouragement from Home

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:40 pm

We just said goodbye to six lovely ladies from Shively Christian Church in Louisville, KY. This is the church that about seven years ago began researching a place to send a team of missionaries to plant a church. Ancona is just as near and dear to them as it is to us. They brought tons of stuff from home (summer sausage!), but more importantly brought us encouragement. They spent time getting to know the city and our work here. They played with our kids and prayed for our families. I think they all went home with a bigger sense of the task here.

It really is a challenge to communicate to people who have never been here what it is like. Not just the funny, cultural quirks. But to see the desire we all have to see a church take root and grow here. Watching them cry big, compassionate tears as they prayed over us and the city was just … something amazing.

Thanks for coming over ladies! Come back anytime!

04.25.06

Did I miss a memo?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:44 am

Today is Liberation Day in Italy – the anniversary of the end of WWII here, and a national holiday. Everything is closed. And I mean everything. I could count on one hand the number of people I saw in the center of town. Intersections that are usually crowded with cars and busses are completely empty. As I was walking around today I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. Everyone was somewhere else and here I am wondering where everybody went. It’s kind of a weird feeling.

04.24.06

More red tape

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:14 am

For some reason our internet connection got switched off. I called the phone company to see what the deal is. The operator was puzzled herself, until she did some digging. She came on the line and said that the internet connection was shut off by request. I asked her who made the request and she said that they did. I was puzzled. Then she explained that since I had requested to change the name on the account (over a month ago) they have to shut everything off and start again.

Today I called to get it turned back on, and this time the guy asked me why I was calling. I explained the situation. He said that there is no way they had processed the name change so quickly, and that I needed to wait at least until Wednesday or Thursday before I call again.

I just kind of said, “Uhhhh … OK”

04.20.06

My PIN is 10 digits long

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:45 am

I opened an Italian bank account a few weeks ago. The sign up process itself was very easy, and it will make bill paying so much easier. I think I have mentioned before that the post office in Italy is also a bank. Kind of different.

Anyway, I signed up for online banking. It’s kind of a new thing here, and the person who opened my account wasn’t even sure how it all worked. But she handed me an instruction sheet that the printer spit out and sent me on my way.

First, I had to go online and sign up for a Post Office email address. Which seems kind of odd – the post office hawking an email account? Anyway, the screen instructed me that I should receive a telegram (!) within a few days verifying that I actually live where I said I did. After I got the telegram, with the secret code, I had to punch that into the website. Easy enough, and I got my first telegram!

Next, a 10 digit alpha-numeric code came in the mail. I will need this code anytime I use my account online. The website will randomly ask me for 4 out of the 10 digits. Yikes! I need to study.

Then, I got another number in the mail which is the PIN for my ATM card.

Then, I got an email with another code, which I had to take to the post office, which would activate my 10 digit alpha-numeric code.

And sometime, I’m supposed to get the actual card, and then I have to go and activate that.

And THEN … I can make a deposit. That’s right, I haven’t even given them any money yet.

04.17.06

One Year

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:08 am

A historical day came and went yesterday (other than the Resurrection!). On April 16, 2005, the Roterts arrived in Ancona, Italy. We were exhausted. We were missing 12 of 13 rubbermaids. But when we walked through the security line and saw our teammates’ smiling faces I couldn’t help but smile back.

What an amazing year it’s been. There have been hard times. Trying desperately to hold a conversation in the early days of language school was discouraging. Dropping our kids off at school for the first day was rough (though they’re doing great now). Calling friends and family back home sometimes makes you more homesick that if you hadn’t called. But overall, our experience here has been great. We have a wonderful team who knows when to push us to handle things on our own, and when they need to swoop in a rescue us from some language barrier. They are encouraging, passionate for those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and just plain fun to be around.

After Life Group we shared a meal at the Casey’s house and we took turns asking questions like “What was the hardest part of your first year?” and “If you knew then, at one year, what you know now…” Then we had an Easter Egg hunt in our “backyard” and ordered pizza. It wasn’t formal. They’re weren’t a ton of people there. But it was just what I needed. To hang out with some Americans and not worry about language and culture for a day.

Many of you reading this have given sacrificially for us to be here. You’ve been here for our phone calls and emails. You’ve sent care packages filled with junk food. You’ve encouraged. You’ve asked questions. You’ve been there. For that, we’re grateful.

And now, as we dip our toes into this crazy ministry called cross-cultural church planting, I can’t help but wonder what the next years have in store for us.

04.13.06

No really … He’s fine

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:01 am

The whole fam was riding a bus this morning. It was the older kind of bus that has a high row of seats in the back, a single line of seats on either side, and a large open area for people stand in the middle. We were all sitting on the back row of seats, when the bus driver stopped fast.

Trey went flying out of his seat and into the big open area. He sniffled a little bit, but we scooped him up and everything was fine. Then the bus driver pulls over, walks back to us, and wants to make sure that he is OK. He was very kind and said that if we needed to, he would take us right to the hospital. At this point we have quite the little spectacle going in the back, and everyone is staring at us. I thanked him over and over, but he kept asking Trey where he hit and what hurts. Trey, probably not really sure what is going on, asked Heidi, “What is he doing?”

He finally believed us and went up to continue the route. An older woman sitting near us whipped out some candy from her purse and insisted that we all take some. I was surprised by the driver’s kindness, but it was one of those situations where a tiny little thing was getting blown out of proportion and everyone is staring at you.

But definitely blogable! :)

04.11.06

Earthquake?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:18 am

Last night around 9 I was on the phone with my teammate Marcus. At the exact same time, Heidi and Marcus said, “What was that? The house is shaking!” I thought they were crazy because our windows rattle every time a bus goes by, but sure enough the paper said we had a 4.2 earthquake last night. Our first earthquake! Let’s hope they’re all so small that they can be confused with a bus driving by.

04.08.06

The Great Equalizer

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:20 am

So today I had to go to the police station to pick up my living permit. I struggle with finding a way to describe the experience to someone who has never been. First, you take a healthy dose of bureaucracy. Add in employees who are tired of dealing with scared foreigners who don’t speak Italian so well. Mix in a crowd of people from every imaginable country. Since the process is never the same from one visit to the next, you’ll have to add a dose of confusion. Now, roll a dice because it seems impossible to know if you have the right documents, or, if you do, if your permit will be done when they say it will be.

And that is kind of what it’s like.

Today, I slayed the bureaucrats – my permit was finished and I’m good for 2 years!

04.05.06

Paying the Rent

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:38 am

My first rent payment was due today. To pay it, I go to my landlord’s bank and make a special kind of deposit into her account. My rent in Perugia was paid a little differently, so this was the first time I’ve had to do it this way. There really aren’t “checks” here. It’s cash only for the most part, and many places now take debit/credit cards.

So I stand in line and give the clerk all the paperwork. He needed my passport, the form for the deposit, and my codice fiscale – a special number that you get here that everyone asks for. Recent law changes don’t allow just anyone to make a deposit anonymously – they have to know who you are. Sometimes getting an American’s information into an Italian computer system is a challenge. Italians don’t usually have middle names, for example, and so they are often confused about my name. And they always need to know the city of birth, which isn’t really important to an American. We ask for city and state – there’s a whole lot of Springfields out there, but each city name in Italy is completely unique.

At one point, there were three workers huddled around the screen trying to figure out why the deposit wouldn’t go though. I just kind of stood there while they tried different combinations. But finally, one of them clicked on something and they got kind of a surprised look on their faces and the printer spit out my receipt.

As I walked out the door I realized they spelled my last name wrong. I didn’t dare go back and have them correct it.