Posted in Ancona, church, culture, family, home service, kids at 1:28 am

I remember during our training at Team Expansion before our move to Ancona that we were taught a lot about “culture shock” and how to deal with it. Transplanting an American family into another culture is bound to cause some stress, and so they wisely gave us strategies on how to deal with it.

For the most part, we don’t really deal with culture shock anymore. But there are times when the longing for home takes center stage and we find ourselves missing family, friends, and Beef-a-Roo.

What has been very interesting is watching our kids go through this. In the beginning, they also felt some of those stresses. But now, especially with the older kids who have spent more time here than in the US, their culture shock happens when we leave Italy. Our familiar and comfortable has become their foreign and stressful. Which leaves me amazed at how integrated they are in Italy, and somehow confused at how to help them be comfortable in both places.

I recently began meeting with a woman who was interested in studying the Bible. Like many Italians, she grew up in the Catholic church, but has since left. We were getting to know each other before we started studying and she talked about the Spiritual journey that she has been on that brought her to the point of wanting to study the Bible with a crazy, foreign, protestant pastor. Using her own words, she described the “God-shaped hole” that C. S. Lewis wrote about. All of us our born with the desire to fill that hole. We usually try and fill it with all kinds of things that don’t really satisfy. We are wired to seek God without even knowing it.

I think you could describe it as a built-in homesickness that we have. Reading the paper, watching the news, we feel that there is something that just isn’t right about the world. It’s crooked somehow. And it’s the job of the Church to point the way to the one thing that perfectly fills that hole: God.

Please pray for the church in Ancona, and us as its leaders. Ask God to help us boldly point the way to Him. Ask Him to keep us united as a body of believers. And ask Him to keep us a bit homesick for our eternal home.

Until next month…