Be Fruitful & Multiply

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:05 am

Last Sunday was a big day in the life of the church here in Ancona. Our church looks a lot different than most churches in that it is a “Cell Church.” Basically, we meet in homes and function as a church. But just like cells in the body, we seek to multiply into more and more cells.

So now we’re meeting in two groups. We just got too big to comfortably meet in a living room. It was different to suddenly be half the size that we were last week. But at the same time it was so excited. Towards the end of our time together we talked about the vision that we having cells meeting in every neighborhood of the city. Two members of our church were discussing what it is going to take and it was really exciting for me to see them talking about where we are heading as a church. One encouraged patience, as church planting is generally slow here. The other encouraged boldness; he talked about how people need someone to be strong and to lead. They are both right, and I think we all learned a little from both of them.

Please pray for the church here. Big steps are being taken – pray that this is just the first of many multiplications.

Coincidence … I think not

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:03 am

In Italian, the word for “trick” as in “to play a trick on someone” is the same as “make-up” as in the stuff that girls put on.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…


Tragically Hip

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:55 am

Heidi and I went on a rare date the other night. We went out to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner. Then we were going to meet up with Maurizio at a new jazz club that has just opened up here in Ancona.

We were greeted at the front door by a friend of ours who happened to be singing live that night. She was so excited to see us, and sheepishly asked us not to notice the mistakes in her English (she was singing in English that night). We went and found a seat and waited for Maurizio.

A few minutes later our friend brought over a couple of membership forms. Apparently, the jazz club is actually a club. Only members are allowed in. Later on that evening I noticed the sign on the door that says only members admitted, with a big bouncer outside the door just in case you don’t believe them.

So they accepted our application, which apparently means that we are cool enough to sit around a jazz club (those of you who know me know that is completely untrue!). As we sat there listening to our friend sing in the Alanis Morissette style (really not jazz at all), I couldn’t help but smile at the places that God brings us to be with people who wouldn’t ever come to a church service. So if it means being tragically hip at a jazz club in order to be a light, I’ll do it.

Plus, I really like jazz.


I think they’re actually angry this time…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:49 am

I know I’ve written a lot about strikes. They are an aspect of Italian culture that I really don’t understand. Today, the journalists are striking – no newspapers. Tomorrow, we’ve heard word of a possible teacher’s strike. The last time this happened, the teachers told us the day before that the strike had been called off. Today when we asked if there was still a strike the teachers said that we’ll have to bring our kids to school tomorrow to find out. They had told our kids earlier that if they lights are off when we get to school in the morning that they need to go home.

So apparently they’re upset this time. But I’m really kind of irritated that we have to wake the kids up and go through the morning routine only to possibly turn around and come back home. As teachers, I wonder what this strike game “teaches” the kids.

And … as usual … I have no idea what they are striking for.


Just trying to pay a bill

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:50 am

I’m taking care of a teammate’s finances while he is in the states. I needed to pay a bill by depositing money into a certain account at a certain bank (a fairly common way to pay a bill here). However, new laws have been passed that don’t allow someone who the bank doesn’t know to pay a bill using cash. It’s an anti-Mafia law, apparently, who used to deposit money passing out small bills to normal people and instructing them to deposit it into a certain account, thus avoiding the suspicion of making large deposits. So now, no more anonymous cash deposits. You have to “register.”

The man who took my information asked me what I was doing in Italy. I told him I was a pastor. He replied, “I don’t really like the protestant church.” I sort of ignored the comment, and listened to his mini-rant. He asked me where I was from (a set up, since it was written on my ID card he was punching into the computer). I told him America and he said, “I don’t really like America very much.” I resisted the urge to tell him I don’t really like bankers very much!

But then we had a decent conversation about faith, theology, and the church. He ended up giving me his business card and inviting me to call him sometime to chat about theology. I’m certainly no theologian, but I’m happy to have met someone who is interested in talking – even if he doesn’t like American protestants!


I Passed!

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:09 am

Today was a big day. After a month or two of class and studying, I passed my driving test. I now have an Italian driver’s license (called a patente). The test was a breeze, and really was a relaxing drive while me, my instructor, and the inspector chatted it up about what it means to be a pastor. At the end she said, “You passed, but you already knew that.”

And as you can see, driver’s license photos are awful here, too!


Where’d we go?

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:54 am

Looks like were back online (or as Heidi’s mom would say, “On the online”). Someone bought our service provider, who promised a seamless transition. And then we were offline for a week. Not so seamless, I guess. Thanks to our teammate, Matt, for uploading all the files again. Ain’t technology great when it works?!