Everything’s Bigger

Posted in culture, home service at 9:04 am

We’re back in the US. Having been gone for almost two years, I can’t help but notice how accustomed I have become to life in Italy. Immediately upon landing in Chicago, the differences started to become clear. Everything is bigger here. The beverages, the meals, the streets, the cars, the stores, the parking lots, the churches, the houses, and I have to say it, the people. It’s been quite the experience getting used to everything again.

I think the time when I felt the “smallest” in the bigness of America was yesterday when we got to Heidi’s home church. It was just HUGE. I’m used to church happening in my living room. I think the auditorium seats 500 at Heidi’s church. It was really a very strange feeling.


Iron Sharpening Iron

Posted in culture, ministry, travel at 4:14 pm

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

Just after Christmas we attended the Mid-Winter Rally in Germany. This annual missionary convention is one of my favorite events to attend. One of the best parts (in my opinion) happens when the items on the schedule are done for the day, and all that is left to do is hang out with other missionaries who know better than anyone what you are going through.

My good buddy Randy was there this year. He and I arrived on the mission field about the same time, and so it’s been great to have a sounding board in another country. One night after all the other convention attendees had gone to bed, Randy, Josh, Cory, and I stayed up to talk. Randy shared some of the struggles of missionary work in a closed country. He told us about how hard the culture was, and how he struggled to fit into it. We mostly sat and listened, and then prayed with him. We asked God to break through the culture and work through Randy. When we were finished, we played another round of Spades, and headed for bed.

I think one reason the church exists is for this very reason: we need each other. I need friends like Randy to sharpen the rough spots off of me. I need people who notice subtle imperfections that I can’t see. And somehow in the process both people become a little more like the One we seek to imitate: Jesus.


Two Hearts

Posted in family, kids, ministry, travel at 10:52 am

We have found ourselves in another transition period – this time as we transition from ministry here in Ancona to our first home service in America. The kids have been very excited about getting to see Grandmas and Grandpas back home, but the gravity of being away from friends here has begun to settle in.

I was walking with the kids home from school today, and Chloe told me that she cried a little at school today. I asked her why and she said that she didn’t want to leave her friends here. Her teacher noticed that she was upset and Chloe explained what was going on. Her teacher told Chloe that she was lucky because she has two hearts: one for her friends and classmates here in Ancona, and one for her family and friends in America. I could see how this just made sense to Chloe. Even though one heart was hurting, the other one was happily beating away!


Being Bilingual

Posted in language, travel at 8:28 am

So I suppose by now I can be considered bilingual, though I still stutter and stammer my way through Italian on occasion. I noticed this weird little quirk when we were in Germany, an obviously non-Italian-speaking country. Whenever someone started speaking to me in German, Italian would come out. Many people in Germany speak English. But for some reason my brain heard German, switched into foreign language mode, and Italian came out. I had to force myself to use English.

Have any other bilingual people out there experienced something similar? And what language comes out when you’re trilingual?!


Grouchy Old Men

Posted in culture, kids at 6:21 am

I found this comic in a magazine called L’Espresso – sort of equivalent to Newsweek I think. This comic is in there every month, but I don’t get most of them. But this one hit home. The captions say:

Parents don’t know how to raise up their kids.

And the parents, who knows who educated them.

I’ve often heard people complain about how “kids these days” behave. But you have to look at who taught the parents how to be parents.


Home Run

Posted in christian resources, travel at 9:24 am

We were blessed at the Mid-Winter Rally this year to have Mark & Carla Scott come and be our main speaker and worship leader. Mark spoke on a few of the parables and my teammate, Josh, had the foresight to record the sermons. He passed them out to all those who attended and I’m sharing them with you. As my good friend Randy Jones said, “He knocked it out of the park.” Definitely worth the download:

Intro to the Parables
Upside Down Love
Upside Down Authority
Upside Down Care
Upside Down Grace

I especially enjoyed how many of Mark’s illustrations were from people at Ozark Christian College, where I graduated and used to work. It brought back some of the “good ol’ days” for me!


Clapping on a Plane

Posted in culture, travel at 3:20 am

We just got back from the Mid-Winter Rally in Hermeskeil, Germany. Lots of blog posts came to mind while I was there, so I’ll be posting a little more frequently.

One thing I love about flying on a plane with Italians is that they almost always applaud when the plane lands. I’ve been on longer international flights when everyone applauds just because we finally get to get off the plane. But even on short Italian flights, as soon as all three wheels are on the ground, the crowd goes wild. It’s kind of a fun thing.