The Joys of Preaching in Your Second Language

Posted in language at 6:39 am

What I wanted to say:

Posso incoraggiare, e posso scoraggiare. I can encourage and I can discourage.

What I said:

Posso incoraggiare, e posso scoreggiare. I can encourage and I can fart.

What a difference one little letter makes.

Spring has Sprung

Posted in Ancona, ministry, Newsletters at 6:06 am

Spring is finally deciding to join us here in Ancona. We’ve been teased quite a bit by warm weather one day and cold the next. I never know when it’s OK to finally put away the winter coats. But today I am starting to wash them up to put away until next year (even though Lance did wear his yesterday).

With spring comes so much newness. Rebirth. Excitement. God uses these beautiful seasons to give our life more meaning. Though the warmth is nice, I would hate to live in an area without changing seasons. Life never seems to slow down. Things are the same day after day. Here, I see winter as a time when God has us recharge. We stay inside more. We slow down. We sit. We relax. The weather may keep us inside. It may keep us craving a mocha enjoyed with dear friends (and gaining 10 “winter” pounds to prove it). Sure, it’s irritating to be wet day after day from the non-stop rain that comes with Italian winters. Yes, it is hard to keep up with the laundry when you can’t hang your clothes outside. Sure, there are small irritations. But, as I see God bringing life to a slower pace in the winter, I feel encouraged to join in on nature’s cycle.

But, just when we are starting to get the itch, spring arrives. No more cabin fever. Newness. I see much newness in the life of our church body. Much growth. The winter brought great Bible studies among our believers. We studied Experiencing God with a couple in our church, and several got together to study A Purpose Driven Life. Now the spring will be time for the fruits of the Spirit to begin maturing and ripening because of this time of study and reflection. Please pray for continued growth in the lives of the believers, namely Simone and Marianna. They have been really challenged lately because of our study together.

Our schedules also reflect spring’s busyness, as well. There are ladies’ events, church events, Bible studies, mom’s get togethers, interesting preaching/teaching times and more all going on right now. Our current sermon series called What the Bible Says about… has been a real blessing. It’s been good to dig into the Word and help the church discover why we believe what we believe.

Also, as you may have read in our prayer update, there’s a new baby at church!! Please pray for Daniel and Simona as they begin their parenthood adventure far away from friends and family (they are Romanian, living in Ancona).

Thank you for all of your support. Though you may not see the significance, you are a vital part of our ministry and lives. We could not be here without you!


Culinary Delights

Posted in Ancona, food, Team at 1:29 am

People always comment on what the food must be like in Italy. The stereotype is mostly true. We eat pasta about once a day, and pizza is always available for a quick snack downtown. But sometimes you just get tired of pasta, and pizza won’t hit the spot either. So what’s a missionary to do?

Down in the center, near Teatro delle Muse, you’ll find Tunital, home of the best Kebab in Ancona. You can find kebabs all over Europe. Some people call them Doner. Some people pronounce it ke-BAB. But on our team for some reason forgotten to history, it’s KE-bab. And it’s delicious. We go there often enough that they know just how we all like it (half meat, half fallafel, a little spicy). And of course …

the mayonnaise blast. A dollop of warm mayo ready to help the first bite slide right down.

It sounds goofy. And maybe we’re a little bit obsessed about it. But sometimes you just gotta’ have a kebab.

(And sometimes we get really sad when we go all the way down there and they’re closed.)


Election Time

Posted in Ancona, culture at 3:10 am

The city comes around and puts up big walls of sheet metal that will soon have posters of the various candidates. You can’t park your car without s0meone putting a flyer on the windshield. Tents are put up in the piazzas on the weekends and people hand you pamphlets and give your kids suckers. It’s election time.

And I will never understand how it works. Italy has a multiple party system. It’s not just republicans and democrats (with a couple of minor parties here and there). There are dozens of major parties and even more minor parties. No party who receives less than 5% of the popular vote can take office, so the parties form coalitions which can get enough votes. The coalition a person votes for will contain several somewhat-similar (but certainly not identical) political ideologies.

I passed by a newspaper headline just before election day (actually, it’s election weekend here). The headline read, “Photos of all 140 candidates inside”. 140 candidates? Yep, because for regional elections you can vote for the party and for the person you want to win. 140 candidates! How can anyone keep that straight?

Here’s the kicker … if at any point anyone is unhappy with where the government is going, it gets dissolved (it’s happened over 50 times since World War 2). Poof! It’s like it never happened. A temporary government is set up until elections can take place. Oh, and the current prime minister, he controls the state-run media channels (RAI), and also personally owns the competing channels (Mediaset). There are almost no independent media companies.

So basically, I don’t understand a thing. And my fear is, I’m not sure the Italians do either.