Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Vision for Rome

There are so many cool things that I want to write, but I don't want to bore you all. By you all, I mean all ten of you that have actually read this blog. No, thats a joke but I did feel loved by all the people who left me feedback or emailed me. I HAVE MY ADDRESS now, but am not going to post it, so if you want it, email me at and I will send it to you.

Today was our vision and strategic plan day. What this means is that I spent about 5 hours in meetings with my team and it was great. Seriously. Our vision is the big picture for what we would like to trust God to do and the strategic plan is what steps can we take to reach that vision. It was so exciting to finally be taking steps, specific steps, towards what we will be doing this year, though it seems a little overwhelming. It is strange coming from a ministry at Miami University where there are hundreds of students involved and Campus Crusade is not entirely unfamiliar. Here in Rome, it just isnt like that. We would love to see it moving towards that but the reality is that we have a long way to go.

Just to share some of the vision, we want to see God raising up students who take ownership of Agape Italia. Right now there are students involved, who are coming out to meetings or to Bible Studies but we arent seeing students own it as their own. We want to trust God to see our Bible study's double or triple, see students hungering for scripture. We would love to see La Sapienza linked with Agape Italia, even using their English department to advertise for our English Club's. What we really want to trust God with is to start to see Italian students sharing the gospel with Italian Students. There are a number of other big-picture goals that we have made but you can start to see why this is a little overwhelming. The amazing thing is, we serve a BIG God. He is entirely capable of pulling all this together. We want to do our part on planning, but the reality is that God is the one who works in hearts. Only God can change hearts and we want to trust him to do that as we step out in faith.

So that is what I am jumping into. That is why I am in Rome. Since arriving, there have been times that I have wondered what I am doing here. These first few days (today was the end of the first week), have been a lot of details, a lot of time alone with God, and a lot of settling in. I think I have had little doubts on what I am doing here but today was good for that. Today God seemed to step in and say, "Hey Chris, this is Rome, these are people that I love and want to know me. Think you are up for the task?" Scary thing is, I know the answer is that I am not up for the task. My teams isnt up for the task. We cant do this on our own. So when it happens (and don't get me wrong, I am trusting God that the vision He gives us will happen), no one will be able to say "Look what you did!" It will be "Look what God did!" Can I get an Amen?

As for non-vision related stuff, running through the streets of Rome is pretty cool. I went for a run yesterday and had absolutely no idea where I was going. I just ran around my neighborhood, looking at stores, dodging cars, almost being hit by a scooter and smelling fresh bakeries. The weather was gorgeous it truly felt like an adventure. It would be kind of funny; I would think I wa
s a ways from my apartment and would round a corner to see that I was just down the street. It isn't a nice grid here like it is in American suburbs or cities or countrysides... it is all criss-cross, like someone was playing Pick-Up-Sticks (great old-school game) and just tossed em all on the table. So I am actually looking forward to running. Amazing, isnt it? That is a miracle in itself.
Lastly, I can cook. No, I am no Betty Crocker or Rachel Ray (that was one of my housemates from last year), but I made my own version of Zuppa's pasta-with-chicken (Zuppa is a great restaurant run by Kevin Spruill, my bro-in-law in Upper Arlington... if you life there, go to it and enjoy some good eats for a GREAT price). I went to the grocery, made up my own list of ingredients, came home, called Kevin to finalize the recipe and away I went. It actually turned out good... so if you want my cooking advice, just ask. Or talk to my Mom or Kev because they are both better cooks than I am. Or my sisters. Basically, what I am trying to say is that I am not that great a cook... but I made a good meal. Much love to you all.


Greg said...

Chris, Keep it coming. I'm blessed to read your post and realize that that's how Jesus gets us. It's rare that the lightning flashes and the voice sounds from the heavens. But it's so typical of the Lord to lead us down a street, fill us with sights and smells, and gently start to stitch our lives into place for his work. What you're doing is big--not because it's dramatic, but because you're saying "here I am. I'm engaging in the community." And you know--and I know--that that's enough for him to work his plan in, through, and around you. Thanks for doing it. Peace on you, bre.

eric said...

Hey, Chris! Just ran across your blog. I read most of your posts-- great stuff. I'm going to remember to visit when I need a pick-me-up. Praise God about your financial support! Denise and I continue to pray mightily for you. I'm doing another Kairos prison weekend in late October--please pray for that! God's blessings to you.

Marla said...

Chris, I was so excited to get your USPS letter and find your email address and blog. This is great. God is good. Say hello to Matt for us and a Happy Birthday to him.

I enjoyed the tour. I'll write to your email. Keep sending us updates.

Marla (Andrew's mom)

Kevin said...

Your team is in my prayers brotherman. I will say this though, know that God is bigger than big. God is...God. He will do what he needs to do. All of our lives are best experienced though when we actually do what he wants! So often we place our goals on God, when in reality, we must step back and allow God to place his goals in our hearts.

For example, you could realize that you totally click with this bartender at this local pub. Rather than inviting this bartender to your goal of a bible study, you continue down the infinitely deep path of friendship with this man. You meet his friends and friends of his friends. You have sacrificed maybe some of your short term goals of hosting a bible study in your apartment, but you've gained relationship with all these new people. And that group now could turn into a stinking lovefest in the bar, and you whip that bible out over some brewskis and share the Gospel with them!

I say all that business, just to constantly encourage you to think outside of your own and your teams box/framework of approaching your desires to love on people in Rome. Don't constrict God's love to flow how you want it, let it flow however the Lord takes it!

Let the river flow my brother, let it flow.

Keep the faith,