12.23.06

Seems like this has happened before

Posted in culture at 2:04 am

I’ve talked about strikes before. Sorry to bore you with another post, but this time the newspapers are on strike. Coincidentally, the strike started December 22 and ends December 27.

Now come on … how is this anything but a Christmas vacation?

I was at the newsstand on Friday, and I asked the newsstand lady if there was a strike. She chuckled and said there was. I asked her if they are calling it Christmas vacation. She smiled at me and said, “You learn fast, don’t you?”

12.18.06

Hocchei

Posted in kids, language at 10:23 am

I just finished checking our daughter’s homework. She had to write a story of a conversation between her and the Christmas tree. I came across this word that I hadn’t see before: hocchei. Very few words in Italian begin with an “h,” so I knew something wasn’t right.

I asked Chloe what she meant, and she said, “You know, like when they say o-kay” It then dawned on me that she had phonetically spelled the English word “OK,” which Italians use all the time. I told her how to spell “OK” and that it was an English word, and she was surprised.

My kids really do speak Italian well…

12.15.06

A New-Ager, a Jew, a Catholic, and 2 protestant Pastors went out for dinner…

Posted in culture, ministry, technology at 3:51 am

Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but in reality that’s exactly what happened to me last night. Just down the street from our house there is a new video game store. We’ve gotten to the know the owner and his friends a little bit over the past few months. Last night they invited Josh and I over after the shop closed for pizza and a chance to play the Nintendo Wii (which I hear is pretty awesome).

We headed to the shop around 8. They closed everything up and we went upstairs to their apartment to order pizza. When it arrived, one of the most intense and diverse conversations on “religion” started. A friend of the shop owner was there, and he is in the process of converting to Judaism. He was quite vocal in his opinions on the Messiah, the non-existence of Satan, and how if an “evil” person dies, they are simply reincarnated until they learn how to be good. Waaaah?

Another person is the daughter of the person in charge of Catholic catechism classes here in Ancona. She mentioned that she only went through with confirmation so she could be done with the classes.

The shop owner doesn’t see any point in “religion” and points to how much evil has been done in the name of “God.” He had a pretty pessimistic world view.

Oh … and Josh and I were there. Occasionally the conversation would stop and they would all look at us for our opinions. We had about 10 seconds to form a thought before someone interrupted us to make a counter argument.

It was all mostly polite and civil. But after it went on for over two hours, even I was done talking “religion.” I don’t have a lot of patience for the debate. I’m not sure that I can “prove” (in the scientific sense) my beliefs are correct anymore than they can. I did go home thinking that the way to reach such a diverse group of people is to just be a light. Show people how you are different and then explain to them why. Don’t debate them into some kind of logical submission. Love them into an entirely different Kingdom.

We never did go back downstairs to play Nintendo. Which is OK, since now I have an excuse to go back.

12.11.06

We’re just like every other family

Posted in kids, language, technology at 11:13 am

Today a CD-ROM I ordered arrived in the mail. I’ve been looking for a really good Italian dictionary to help in lesson writing. The Italian-English one that I have is great, but it doesn’t define the words, it only gives you the translation. So you lose some of the original meaning. I was happy to find a dictionary on CD-ROM – so much easier to use than a big heavy book.

I was showing the kids how to use it, since they often need to look up words for their homework. I left the room to let them play around. In about 8 seconds they learned how to get the program to pronounce the words shown. And then they figured out how to make it say “poop” and “pee” and other fun words like that. Aren’t they precious?

High Speed Internet

Posted in family, language, technology at 9:31 am

One thing that Europe definitely has going for it compared to the US is high speed Internet. Being a missionary means that we use the Internet a lot. Since we have such a fast connection, it’s easy for us to be online and connected to friends and family back home.

A couple of months ago, the phone company called to tell me they have upgraded our speed to 20 MBps, and for €1 more per month, they would send me a decoder box so that I could watch TV through the Internet. I was a little skeptical at first, but signed up for the free trial.

And we’ve been really impressed. Most of the local channels are streamed to us, as well as a lot of pay channels – some come from London, so they’re in English. They put tons of movies on there, most for free, but some pay-per-view. The kids love to watch Looney Tunes (in Italian) and the kids’ movies. We hardly ever watched TV before since we get such bad reception. Now it’s kind of fun to watch the news in Italian and see how much we can pick up on. The other day the kids were asking to watch a movie and Lance said, “But Dad, it’s good language learning!” I gave in – he was right!

I can only guess based on stories I’ve heard, but the Internet really has changed what being a missionary is like.

The Joys of Team-Based Missions

Posted in Team at 7:29 am

Monday mornings are team meeting days. We all head to La Via with our calendars and to-do lists for the week. We spend some time praying for each other and for the different ministries. I really enjoy seeing how each of our ministries blend and complement each other. It’s a joy to hear of the different people that God placed in each of our paths the previous week. And it’s also encouraging when Marcus tells me that the Life Group that I led the previous Sunday wasn’t as bad as I thought!

I am so thankful for the team here in Ancona. This morning as Josh prayed, he thanked God for using us – no matter how broken and goofy we are – to work in this city. I smiled, because we certainly are goofy – and somehow, He does use us.

12.05.06

MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE THE MADNESS STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:38 am

Paris Hilton has recently been on Italian TV doing commercials for a cell phone company called 3. Watch this … then keep reading.

The guy in the scene is Claudio Amendola, a famous Italian actor. Paris is playing the part of … herself. The commercial is about how it’s inexpensive to switch your cell phone over to this company.

This commercial is awful for several reasons:

  1. Paris’ accent. It is literally one of the worst American accents I have ever heard. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard for an American to get rid of their accent completely, but Paris is borderline hard-to-understand.
  2. For the second commercial in this series, they hired an Italian actress to do a American-speaking-Italian voiceover for Paris when she speaks in Italian.
  3. It’s possible that Paris Hilton wouldn’t recognize Claudio Amendola, but absurd to think that Claudio Amendola wouldn’t recognize Paris Hilton. She’s really popular here.

So now that I have gotten that off my chest… I do have to wonder why certain parts of American culture (Paris Hilton) get imported here, and why other parts (Taco Bell) do not. It really is a strange thing.

PS – The title of this blog post comes from my teammate, Marcus, when he heard that they released the second commercial in this series.