For such a time as this

Posted in family, home service, kids, Newsletters at 6:20 am

What a whirlwind. As Brian last reported, we packed our bags just three weeks ago and headed home to Italy. We arrived safely and without any problems. In fact, it was a pretty easy trip. I’m sure you recall the various stories of when the children were little. Travel is much easier on us now-a-days.

We settled in easy enough, and two weeks ago school started. It was a big year for us this year, as Francesca started first grade. She happened to get into a class with her very best friend, and it was pretty neat for us moms to leave our girls the first day with the assurance that they would take care of each other. The other kids settled back nicely into the swing of things, although Jr. High and High School are quite a different ball game than the first grade.

Brian and I have had various meetings with our teammates to discuss what we learned during our training at Team Expansion. It was called Jonathan Training, and was about Sustainable Church Planting Movements. Maybe you have heard of it. There is much to pray through and think about when working alongside the Lord with the desire not only to see a church in Ancona, but a church that plants churches. A movement of churches. Please pray with us as we continue to implement what we have learned. Pray that we will see God moving in this city and that we will be blessed to work alongside of Him.

In fact, that makes me think of something that I have been studying lately. I have been studying through the book of Esther, and last week arrived at chapter 4, which contains the infamous verse that says, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” That’s not exactly what struck me, though. Not exactly. You know what Uncle Mordecai says to her before that? He says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” Relief and deliverance will arise from another place. Hmm. See, one day every knee shall bow. One day, our deliverance will come. But, it may not be here on this earth. “If you remain silent … you and your father’s family will perish.” But for now, the Lord has placed you and I here, in our circles, in our spheres of influence, in this place, for such a time as this. We actually get to work right alongside of Him! Wow. What a blessing.

You do so much for us. Thank you for a wonderful summer and for praying us back safely. We appreciate all that you do to keep this work alive.


Goodbye Again

Posted in family, friends, home service, kids, language, Newsletters at 8:52 am

In just over 48 hours, I will have the unfortunate experience of watching my family say goodbye to the US part of our lives. If the scene goes like it has in the past, it will go down like this: we will unload an incredible amount of luggage at the airport. People will stare at us as we push two or three carts full of our bags towards the check-in counter. Heidi will hover by the scales, hoping that her carefully-packed bags aren’t overweight. The ticket agent will give me a thick stack of boarding cards. We’ll turn around and Heidi’s mom and sister will be there waiting, having parked the cars for us.

And then the tears start. I’ve already seen them as we pulled out of my mom’s driveway after our wonderful visit with her and my sister and nephews. The airport tears will be tough because there is more of a finality to it. We’re not just saying goodbye to loved ones. This time we’re saying goodbye to the US way of life. Not better or worse, but somehow a part of us despite nine years in Ancona.

At some point during the scene I will remind everyone we have to get through security and we will head towards the line of people snaking towards the metal detectors. A quick wave on the other side of security, and we’re alone, headed back to a country that has become home.

There’s just no other way to say it. The good-byes are really hard. Though I will obviously miss everyone, I’m not as sentimental as Heidi or the kids. The lump in my throat will come from watching everyone grieve yet another goodbye. I will ask God to protect their hearts during this difficult time. I’ll ask Him to help them work through their feelings and somehow remind them that their eternal home awaits for them in Heaven.

The arrival in Ancona sometimes makes my head spin. One or more of our bags is usually missing and so we’ll spend a crazy amount of time trying to report our lost luggage. Our friends will be waiting and suddenly I will be thrown into a world of Italian language. People will want to catch up after a summer away and I will be nervous about conjugating verbs correctly. We’ll finally collapse into our apartment, luggage everywhere, and thank God for our comfy beds, our closets where we can finally unpack, and the little sliver of the Adriatic Sea we can see from our balcony.

So as we head back, know that we are taking a little piece of you with us, and that we are leaving a little piece of ourselves with you. Let’s see what God does with us and in us until we’re reunited the next time…