09.26.11

Grinding Gears

Posted in Ancona, church, family, Newsletters at 7:48 am

Do you remember what it was like to learn to drive a stick shift? Cars with a manual transmission are becoming more and more rare in the US, but here they are very common.

In high school, part of our driver’s ed course included a few lessons on how to drive a stick shift. There were two of us in the back seat, the instructor on the right, and in the driver’s seat was the poor guy who was the first to try out a clutch. The noises that the car made as we all learned the nuances of just the right amount of gas and clutch were awful. Everyone within a mile knew that someone at the high school was learning how to drive a stick.

I experience a bit of that every time we come back to Ancona after some time in the US. Sometimes the gears grind a bit as I get used to the way of life here. The language comes slower after three months of speaking English. On a good day my sense of direction is bad. Being away from Ancona for a while makes it even worse. Our team has been separated during the summer, and being together again takes some getting used to.

All of these things are little adjustments. Added together and concentrated into  a cross-cultural reentry, and you get a little bit of gear-grinding. Nothing that will burn out the clutch.Even now, a couple of weeks later, things seem much more normal. We’ve gotten in touch with most of our friends, even had some over for dinner. Heidi amazes me as she shifts gears into buying groceries over here (a much different chore compared to the US). The kids dove right into school again. Francesca even started preschool and is beginning to remember all the Italian she forgot.

But despite the gear grinding, it’s good to be back. Our few meetings back with the church members have been so refreshing.In a few weeks our team will be having a team retreat (though with the kids in school we won’t actually be going anywhere). Can I ask you to start praying for our time together? Pray that God would speak clearly to us, and would reveal the next step that he has for the church here. More than anything we want to see a vibrant, growing, independent, Italian church! Ask God to show us what He would have us do.