Note: For more photos, please hit this site: Italy Mission Photos.
It is the plane trip home. My itinerary says that the plane trip back, including a lay-over in DC, will be 18 hours. I asked for an aisle but am assigned the middle seat of a five-seat row. I suspect that the coffee I’m drinking will not make me popular with my neighbors.
I mentioned that after the concert, we had a late night (or maybe early morning) briefing at the apartment. Eleven of us sat and talked and marveled at the God Thing we were a part of. One thing I didn’t mention was that while my team was in Naples, the Rome team under Bob did a piazza outreach concert. There were an estimated 1000 people listening from their apartments as well as on the piazza itself, and at the end, maybe 200 people came forward for prayer. We don’t know what that means exactly, but it is pretty much unheard of here in Italy. What is even more amazing is that three of the city councilmen were present at the concert, and they came forward too. As we gathered together in the small dining room of the apartment, I felt a little like the disciples the night after Pentacost. “Hey Peter, did you see that guy with the beard who had tongues of fire on his head?”
One of the things we talked about was the idea that we were a catalyst for bringing these different Italian churches together. I mentioned in an earlier blog that the local churches have a hard time working together, for theological, stylistic, and other reasons. The fact that there were eleven Americans from eight different churches and denominations that flew to help them was a statement of unity far beyond the workshops and sermons we presented. It was like a revelation to them, as if to say, “If they can come together, why can’t we?”
Everyone seemed to speak of coming back again next year, with the intention of being better prepared to meet the needs of the evangelical Italian community. We hope to help them with finances, resources, training, and encouragement. We hope to be a catalyst which brings all of these churches back again. We hope to come back again, and be used by God again.
I miss my Deb and the kids and look forward to rejoining them soon. I want to thank you all so very much for your generous support and prayers which allowed this to be possible. Grazie. Grazie tanto.
Food Scorecard: In the last week, I think I’ve eaten my weight in pasta and pizza. The Italians take at least two hours to have lunch, their main meal of the day, so I’ve been trying to fill up with salad the last few days, and skipping breakfast. Oh, but I will certainly miss the coffee.