Such an amazing adventure of ministry, new friends, experiences, stories (lots of stories!), and most importantly - children coming to know Christ!
I'll try to use wisdom and not inundate you with Italian material. But several of the things that happened, you'll want to know!
God always manages to set things up to exceed all that we can think or even imagine. (Borrowed that from another writer!) This trip was a perfect example of that truth.
Originally, it was just Kristin going with the team. Then we decided I should try to go as well. Just as plans were finalized, someone had to drop out and the team decided it wouldn't be the same without Pastor Frank.
The daily schedule proved a bit intense:
- We left the hostel at 7:15 each morning.
- Walked briskly in order to arrive at the church for 7:45 prayer.
- Spent the mornings doing Vacation Bible School.
- Ate bag lunches with the children.
- English classes all afternoon.
- Recap meeting at 5:00.
- Walked less briskly to dinner somewhere around 7.
- Dragged ourselves to the piazza for gelato.
- Limped slowly back to the hostel by 10:30 or 11:00.
- Fell onto our bunk beds.
- Tried to sleep through the mosquitoes and heat.
- Rolled out at 6 AM to start again.
Kristin did the Bible lesson each day. The rest of us rotated between: crafts; snack/indoor games; and outdoor games. Too many stories to tell in a single post. But each one amazing!
We worked with dedicated people. Steve and Patti Gray have been missionaries to Padova for over 25 years! The entire program is their vision for reaching out to the many immigrant children there. We had eight different nationalities represented this week.
Kay was doing her third VBS season and is an amazing children's pastor year round. (Kay also grew up in Pensacola, FL - like me. So we had an immediate bond!) Nick and Jessica recently moved with their two small children to Padova as missionary associates. Interns had raised their own finances in order to come to Italy and work hard all summer: Spencer, Randy, Anna.
We quickly grew to admire and love each of these people!
Like I said, there are stories just waiting to be told some hilarious some more poignant. But the first one I'll share is very personal. A kiss from Heaven arriving at a moment I needed it the most.
Just let me give you this little teaser - God hears our every prayer and He always answers! Always!
By the time we were scrambling to load suitcases into taxis Monday morning, we knew that we had been entrusted with a sacred assignment. We fulfilled it to the best of our abilities. But we also left with a greater desire to pray for the children and families of the beautiful nation - Italy!