I left Sacramento International at six in the morning to take the flight via Atlanta to Rome. Altogether the flight was smooth, though I had trouble sleeping. I am traveling with Jebby Moates, worship pastor from Lodi, which has made my trip more fun and interesting. Upon arrival, we meet up with groups from Anchorage and Seattle/Tacoma areas. There are eleven of us, not including Bob Kilpatrick and his wife and grandson on the Team. Armed with donated musical instruments, recording gear, and enough clothing for two weeks, we slug our stuff through the train and metro system to our hotel, which is located in the heart of Rome.
We decided before our trip began that we would take advantage of the first day and do some sightseeing. After dropping off our bags, ten of us toured St. Peters Square (in the Vatican), Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. In between, we had some terrific Italian food and got to know one another.
Our goals this year are specific: (1) Promote unity among the local Italian churches and model it within the team. Being able to work together while having such differing geographic, denominational, and even stylistic differences will preach not only to the unchurched, but to the churches themselves. (2) Provide outreach opportunities for the local churches through concerts. (3) Identify and record great original music that may provide a unique “voice” to the Italian churches, and hopefully give them more opportunities for commonality and unity.
My role here continues to be defined. As some of you are aware, last year’s missions trip comprised of two teams sharing time between Roma and Napoli over the same weekend. At that time, I was in charge of the Napoli Team, and we presented worship conferences to area churches as well as well as preached and performed. This year, we are going as a single team to both Roma and Napoli over two weekends. I am sharing leadership over the team with Rick Dupea from Tacoma and Melissa Saulnier from Anchorage. My role is to lead the Piazza Team, which will play music for purposes of outreach, and give overall leadership to the team. I am somewhat concerned that we will not have enough time to learn the material before our first concert on Friday. But well see.
Also, the weather forecast predicts rain over the weekend, which jeopardizes our Piazza concert. Please pray that our team will gel quickly, that it wont rain on us, and that God can work through us in His power and His purposes.
Fun Facts: (1) During the plane trip, I opt out of the newly released movies and pick one I’ve seen a dozen times, so I can get some work done on my Mac. I wonder what the Naples Church would think if they knew that I was writing their sermon while watching “Caddyshack”? (2) One of the weird quirky things here is this stuff called Nutella. It is a bread spread used for breakfast. I can’t even begin to describe to you the taste.
Photos: Me overlooking the bridge taking us to Vatican city (top photo). St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican (middle photo). Nutella spread left for us at breakfast. Weird but yummy (bottom photo).