Hey guys! I hope all has been well for you these past few weeks. My last post i had just returned from Vicenza. About a day after Vicenza i hit the ground running...this time in Florence!
Every year a Church of Christ convention is held in Florence.It is held at the Harding University Villa. They own the villa for students who choose to study abroad. The convention is for all the churches around Italy. They come together for a week and spend time hearing lessons, praying together, singing, getting to know one another. If any of you have been to Tulsa workshop....imagine a scaled down version but located in the beautiful countryside of Italy...with great food...in a beautiful villa...and everyone speaks Italian. Ok so not exactly like the Tulsa workshop but you get the idea. Also in Florence is a Church of Christ Bible School. We are becoming close with the people involves in these
ministries and programs and got to build our relationships with them during the convention. These people include David and Debbie Woodroof, their daughter Emily, Kyle, Ermenita, Robby, and others. I stayed in the girl's dorm at the Bible school. In the room with me was Anna, and a girl named Maria. Eacy day there were two speakers. in between speakers we fellowshipped together, ate meals, prayed, and sang. also had an entertaining talent show! Overall, it was an uplifting time with opportunities galore for metting fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. There are many who come that are not Christian but attend with family or friends. the girl Maria who stayed in the room with me at night is not a Christian. She came with family. every night we stayed up talking before we went to bed. She spoke little English but told me she wanted to keep in touch and be friends. she was so kind and i plan on keeping in touch with her. Not only for an opportunity to have a friend but more importantly an opportunity to share the gospel. This is only one of the many great things that happened throughouts the week. Also Tammy and Lewis were there. Tammy invited me to Milan to help her out with her children while Lewis is gone in October so i am looking forward to that! So many connections with different churches are being made. I feel recently that God is giving me opportunities and opening doors for me here
Mike and Anto Return!
Our coordinators Mike and Anto Mahan have been in America visiting family while also meeting with their supporters and giving updates to them about the work here. They returned the beginning of September so we are thankful for their return! Im looking forward to working with them.
Since Mike and Anto came back, we spent a week preparing for the Womens Convention that took place the 11th-13th of September near Rome. We made bookmarks and prayer reminders that would be passed out at the convention. Anto was one of the ladies organizing and did an excellent job. On that Friday, Anna, Anto, and i all took off for the town near Rome where the location for the retreat was being held. I love roadtrips. I packed some m&m's, water, and fruit and Anto took care of the music. We got stuck in traffic in Rome and Florence...but made it there safely late that night. The roads here are VERY confusing and getting lost is not uncommon for my team and I. So props to Anto for finding her way there!
About 45 women attended. Tammy from Milan was there and also Rebecca from Padova who i met during my Vicenza trip. Also ladies i had met from the Florence Convegno showed up along with Debbie, Emily, and Jill from the Bible School. Of course there were new faces and new people to meet. Saturday we had two lessons and then two activities along with getting to know you's. The theme for the weekend was how to build a bridge between women of the church, despite age and circumstances. We are all sisters in Christ and we need to find ways to relate to one another no matter where we are in life. Anto had one activity where we all had a piece to a puzzle. We colored on it and when we put the pieces together it formed a heart. This represented that even though we, like the puzzle pieces, are all different, we are also the same and together can form somehthing beautiful. I stayed in a room with myself, anto, anna, and then three ladies from the church in Pistoia. One, Antonella, was recently baptized!! The weekend was awesome. I got to meet new people but also had heart to heart talks to Rebecca and spent time with Anna before she leaves.
This week we have passed out fliers around town offering free English lessons while usuing the Bible as our textbook. Please pray we get responses from these and that God can use them to do good here.Also, coming up my team and I will be taking a trip out to visit with friends from the church in Vicenza! It will be the last weekend in September. I am so excited and just love the folks out there so much! It is really going to be good seeing them all again.
Oh one last thing before i go! Anna returned this past week to America. Im sad to see her go! She is going to be praying and deciding if she might want to come back and work with us here in Prato. please pray for her decision. She would be a great help out here. Pray God shows her where she need to be.