I apologize for taking so long in getting this update out, though I hope the pictures from last week helped provide enough of an appetizer so hold off the hunger. But then again, who am I kidding. You guys really aren't waiting for my updates... or are you? Anyway, to give a quick rundown on this post, it will be last weekend's Agape Italia conference in Tuscany, the plague, this week with nostro capo Glen, Rome Round tables, and really anything else I dream up as I write this.
Last weekend (really beginning on Thursday) was an Agape Italia national team conference called "In Missione Insieme" (In Mission Together). It was a wonderful time, where the teams of STINTers (the program I am doing) from Solerno (S. Italy), Roma, Firenze (Florence) joined Italian and American staff in Rome, Firenze, Pisa and Bologna. It was so encouraging to meet our national leadership and really get to know them, to hear a bit of the vision, and to experience the fall essentials (good food, football, falling leaves and fall weather). I loved it and the place we were at was beautiful. Check out the pictures below if you don't believe me. Some take away points/highlights for me were as follows:
+ Hearing the vision of Agape, how we hope to partner with the body of Christ everywhere to take the gospel to all Italians. It was exciting to hear that we aren't here to build an organization (Agape), we are here to help fulfill the Great Commission (found in Matthew 28:18-20)
+ Playing in the fall weather: I got the throw a football around, play a little bit of soccer, hike, get in a leaf fight, enjoy a cool Autumn night... it was a beautiful, much needed, even spiritual, thing.
+ Hanging out with the national staff: Our director, Greg Lillistrand, is such a cool guy; Elfi, our Italian expert who is from Rome, simply puts a smile on my face; Kip, on staff in Rome, is the first person I have met who seems to always have laughing eyes; the Malcolms are an American couple who has been here so long that they talk to each other in Italian.... I could go on and on.
+ Agape Italia is beginning to partner with Malawi and a country in the Middle East to do humanitarian stuff while sharing the Gospel. It is, as Haswell Beni said (quoting someone else), "Our organizational mission does not relieve us of our Christian responsibility."
+ Being reinforced that, as Colossians 3:3-4 says, to be fully alive is found in Christ. I love that concept, being fully alive. I love how that being fully alive is found in pursuing Christ, not pursuing everything else (job, money, studies, things)... I have seen that in countless lives of people I know and love and respect... I want that to be true of my life.
The negative thing about this conference is that afterwards, SO MANY came down with the plague. Three from our team were hit hard, five from Solerno, and a number of staff... throwing down (makes more sense than throwing up), fever, shakes, nausea... we even made a facebook group for it. This week was spent with nostro capo (our boss) Glen, in from the States to check up on us, encourage us, teach us, and buy us dinner. Good deal, eh? He and Julie (staff from Miami) have spent the week with us and although it took time away from campus, it was needed and encouraging. Now we have something called the Rome Roundtables going on... really what this is is cool people from partnerships all over the US have come to learn together how to best reach Rome, Italy or any other big city. I have quite enjoyed hanging out with Keith, from Crusade Headquarters and a buddy of mine's Dad, who is both insightful and knows how to laugh.
I apologize if this is starting to get random, but here are the last notes... I met a guy name Giovani this week, who I will most likely continue to meet with to help him practice English and hopefully share the Gospel. He is an amazingly talented juggler (we met because I was watching him juggle and struck up a conversation) and was trying to teach me a few tricks. Needless to say, I am a novice. Also, pray for a couple meetings I have with students this coming week: Andrea, Juan, Ilaria, Adriano, Giovani.... I am really praying God uses our times together to communicate His message to them. I love you all, thanks for reading, I will probable post tomorrow my attempt at creative writing.... scary thought.
If you have made it this far, check out The Drop link to your right... interesting music. Or The Rabbit Room.. writing that is better than mine. As always, leave comments if you want. Much Love.