Monday, September 14, 2009
We had to deliver a stove to a country house for some friends of the church. After we finished we took a night off and went to a small coastal town for a walk and some dinner. The town was having a festival so there were lights up in the square. We found a small seafood restaurant that overlooked the harbor and boardwalk area. There was also an “unofficial” street market set up on the boardwalk. The wares ranged from jewelry to furniture. We enjoyed our dinner and the fellowship. It was a nice break and a beautiful night.
Posted by Laura G. at 8:26 AM
We had a picnic with the youth as one of our final outings. A family in the Palermo church has land out in the country near a lake so we grilled out. It was a beautiful day and we saw all across the valley on the drive up. We took a bbq spice mix sent to us by our pastor and fixed chicken for everyone. We enjoyed food, fellowship, and a nap in the warm sun. We had a time of sharing and prayer and looked back on a wonderful year. It was hard knowing that this was the last time in a long time we would see some of these friends. The photos include: BBQ chicken, chowing down, a WWII era bunker, with friends, and the mountains overlooking the lake.
Posted by Laura G. at 3:51 AM
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Two weeks before we left Italy we went to Bari to help with VBS there. We did a Veggietales theme using the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. We left Sicily and had to take the traghetto (ferry) to the mainland. After 7 hours and some very frustrating traffic delays we finally arrived in Bari and stayed at a missionary’s house that was on furlough. We had to be at the church early the next morning to welcome the kids. We only had 8 kids, but at times it felt like 18. We had a great time. Shawn taught the middle school class, I helped him and also with the English lessons and craft time. The kids had a great time, especially with game time. They were fascinated by the frisbee. It was close to 100 degrees several of the days so we had water games planned for most of the week. Unfortunately, one day they would not listen and we had to cut the game times short. The next day went much better. We spent each day on a different Bible story that reflected our theme. Thursday, the kids got to watch the Veggitales movie, and then had to answer questions about the theme and characters. The final program culminated with the kids explaining what they learned over the course of the week and singing songs, including one in English. There was also a short gospel presentation given by one of the local church members. After the program a local specialty, foccacia and gelato were served as snacks. It was a very busy week, but we enjoyed the time with local believers and the kids. We also had the opportunity to work with some friends from the US. He was a former missionary kid in Sicily, and this was the first time his wife had been to Italy. We were tired at the end, but glad to be able to assist the church in Bari in this outreach.
Posted by Laura G. at 8:10 PM
There was one thing I said I would never do again, work on a construction project and pack for a big move. Well……you should never say “never”. We recently moved into a new location for our church and needed to partition off some walls to make a Sunday school room and kitchen area. This was about a month before we were to return to the US. We had some help from the men at church, but since most of them worked during the morning hours, I became the help in hanging some of the drywall and mudding the seams and holes made by the screws. It was hot, dirty work, but it was very satisfying to see the job finished so that all the men of the church had to do was paint. The pictures show the framing that all the way up to the end prior to painting. We even had some help from the youth group in Palermo also.
Posted by Laura G. at 4:11 PM
We spent the 4th of July in old town Palermo with some friends. We had crepes, stighioli, and sausages. As we sat at the table there was a hungry stray dog that was very interested in our feast. The owner of the snack stand tossed him a piece of chicken, to keep him away from the eating area. After that we saw a church that some friends had gotten married in, that the roof had been bombed out in WWII. We finally decided to stop for gelato and granita, since it was a rather warm night.
Posted by Laura G. at 3:35 PM
Thursday, July 9, 2009
We had a party Sunday evening for a couple who is getting married. He is one of the local youth leaders, she is a church planter from Kansas. They met in Bologna in northern Italy. We spent the previous Thursday night planning and organizing the food, games, and decorations. (Well the girls planned, while the guys watched soccer.) Anyway, we divvied up the responsibilities while enjoying some gelato. Sunday afternoon we decorated, finished prepping the snacks and organizing the games. There was a small table with paper to write notes of encouragement to the couple, and a notebook to put them in when you were finished. There were several games planned, including one where the bride and groom had to find each other by feeling feet. First all the girls sat down and he went through touching each foot. He found her foot and knew immediately. She was more uncertain, but got it right also. Then they had the “newlywed” game where they had Q&A to see if the men and women’s answers matched up. The outcome was pretty hilarious. There was also a game that involved ice cubes in your mouth and he had to guess and see if she or someone else was speaking. Both Shawn and I were recruited, and neither of us got through the script without laughing. We had a good time regardless. Snacks, cake, and drinks were served before playing anymore games. There was even iced coffee with whipped topping. Yummy! They had one last thing planned before the end of the night – a practice run on the wedding ceremony, complete with flower girl and ring bearer. The groom’s siblings, bride, and groom were outfitted most fashionably with newspaper wedding outfits, and the mock ceremony ensued. Everyone was laughing and enjoying the moment. The evening ended with a pantry shower, and the couple is now well stocked in non perishable food items, detergent, and paper tableware.
(Pictures include: The groom & Co., the 3 “lucky” couples for the newlywed game, and Shawn playing the ice game.)
Posted by Laura G. at 12:39 AM
We had an end of season barbeque in the country as a final event for the disabled group. They take the summer off and restart in the fall. I have enjoyed the opportunity to be a volunteer and get to know the participants in the program. The doctor who oversees the project invited all the kids and parents to his country house for dinner. It was a beautiful house, complete with a fountain in the garden and a pool in the backyard. We went with the lady from our church that invited me to help and her family. We didn’t realize that Saturday evening mass was also on the agenda, but stayed respectfully at the back. The barbeque was full of all sorts of Sicilian delicacies. There was cozze (shellfish), pane con milza (spleen sandwiches), and stighioli (cow intestines). Shawn made the most of the meal, being polite and sampling large quantities of all of the above. I was full, because we didn’t know the other stuff was coming. (Not that I normally care for those items, although the pane con milza is not terrible if there is cheese on it.) They also held karioke by the pool for anyone interested. After dinner, Shawn and the priest who performed the mass had an interesting 2 hour discussion on the differences between Catholics and Evangelicals. Everyone had a good time and went home very well fed. It was a good finish to this year’s program.
Posted by Laura G. at 12:38 AM
Saturday, June 20th we took a trip to Scopello with some dear friends here. Scopello is a teeny little tourist town in the province of Trapani on the coast of Sicily. It is well known for its clear waters, and snorkeling is very popular here. The tonnara, where we went to swim was also used as a set in the movie “Oceans 12”. (Shawn was disappointed, because on a previous mission trip, they wanted to swim here, but the area was closed due to filming.) There are large rocks underwater and you can see all the way to the bottom, even in the deep water. We stayed for several hours, swimming around and laying out in spite of an overcast sky. We decided to go to lunch in Scopello (Which is smaller than downtown Mt. Crawford.) Off a small side street was a little restaurant, which specialized in “pane di casa” (homemade bread). Unless you knew it was there, you would have never seen this little place. There was a small seating area located in a garden, beneath some fig trees, and a little storefront where you placed your order. It was a thick crusty bread with cheese, olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and anchovies on it. I skipped the anchovies on mine. It was very good, filling, and inexpensive. After we finished eating we wandered through the center of town, and washed our hands at the very cold fountain. It was charming and picturesque, and not very touristy yet. The time spent with good friends was refreshing and enjoyable. We finished out the afternoon by stopping for dessert and flavored iced tea at a local bar. The dessert was called ravioli alla ricotta, a hot, fried pastry with ricotta and chocolate chips melted inside. It was delicious and very messy. At one point I had it all over my chin, hands, purse, skirt, and knee. Well worth the mess, however, and I provided a good laugh for our friends as they helped me clean up. We were relaxed and very full as we headed back into Palermo.
Posted by Laura G. at 12:16 AM