Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why we are in Italy

Many people thought we were a little crazy to give up 2 well paying positions, a nice house, the comfort of the familiar, and the closeness of family and friends to move across the Atlantic to the island of Sicily. But when the still small voice of God nudges you to do something, you had better listen. I could go on about all the hows, whys, who, what, and where, but the real beginning to this story starts in a chapel (short church service) seat at a very conservative, Christian college. That's when I met Jesus. I had a heritage of Christianity through my parents and grandparents, but becoming a follower of Christ is a personal decision. I grew up in church, Sunday school, and youth group, showing everyone what a "good girl" I was. Unfortunately somewhere along the way I realized that I had all the "head" knowledge, but it wasn't real in my heart and spirit. However, by the time I figured out that, something else got it the way - Pride. I certainly wasn't going to go around telling everyone that I didn't really have a personal relationship with Jesus. God has a way of catching up with you when you least expect it, in chapel that day we had a speaker that was sharing how he met Jesus. He was in church and feeling the pull of God on his heart, but was too worried about what people would think to ask questions and respond to that nudge. Well then a man came up and told him "Don't let what other people think send you to hell." That phrase summed up all my fears and I knew that I was so worried about what people would think that I was dooming myself. You say that sounds harsh, but it's true. God broke my heart that day, and I repented of my foolish selfish pride, right there in the middle of chapel. I knew all the right things to say and do, but they had never really been real to me. After that I was still concerned with what people would say, but I knew that I was right with God and that was more important. Looking back over the last 9 years, I have seen God's hand on my life in ways I never would have imagined. Different things have happened that can only be attributed to God's protection and guidance. And so I am here in Italy, working with my husband, to help a church and pastor who needed an extra pair of hands. God will take you places you could never imagine and do what best fits your skills and talents. I know that I would be miserable if I had not listened to that nudge in chapel and the nudges since then that brought me here.

I know that God is real, He lives in me, and I have seen things happen that could only be attributed to His hand. Some will say I'm crazy and that's ok, because what truly matters is God's opinion and whether or not you have accepted His Son, Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross.
Romans 10:9-10 in the Bible sum up God's plan for mankind. Salvation and peace with God is as simple as A, B, C,
Admit you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned...
Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead
Confess that He is Lord of your life
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him (Jesus) from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I know this was long, and I am honored if you take the time to read it. I felt the need to share why I am in Italy and Who I am working for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Termini Pictures tour 2

Here are a few more sights in and around Termini: Mount San Calogero at night, the view from Villa Palmeri overlooking the Mediter- ranean, and the view looking up into Termini from across the harbor. Termini's harbor is mainly industrial so there is no swimming allowed. However there are nice beaches within a 20 minute drive.

Tour of Termini

I just realized that we have posted a lot about what we are doing, but not much on the town we are in. It is a beautiful little town of around 40,000 or so. (About the size of Harrisonburg, Virginia when the students are gone.) There are mountains that remind us of home and Massanutten peak, and since we are on a hillside you can look out over the Mediterranean sea. The humidity is much like the Valley's during the summer, but lingers year round. The summer is hot and dry, and perfect to take advantage of the many local beaches. Fall and winter usher in cooler weather and a rainy season. The pictures include: our apartment building, ruins at Villa Palmeri, Mt San Calogero, moonlight over the harbor, and a park just up the street from our house.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Bowling in Italy is a far cry from bowling in the States. It is still noisy and fun, but we would never be allowed on the wooden bowling area stateside, whereas it was nothing to have 15-20 people congregating, talking, and cheering right next to the bowling lanes. We had a great time, played a terrible game, and enjoyed the fellowship of the youth group.

Shopping in Termini

Shopping in Termini is an adventure. In America you just drive to the mall or Wal-mart or Target, here you walk to the stores, even if you have a car because parking can be very limited. I had the opportunity to go shopping with the pastor's wife yesterday. We were walking from Termini alta to Termini bassa (upper to lower). We went to several clothing stores, shoe stores, grocery, discount grocery, and several housewares stores. We walked for over 3 hours, but because we kept stopping it didn't seem nearly as long.

There are also some unusual things that you don't usually see in most cities stateside. There are fish vendors with little trucks on the street corners most mornings. The one we passed had regular fish as well as 2 octopuses, which I found out later is a delicacy around here. You also wish people you pass a good morning "Buon Giorno" whether you know them or not. There are also the older men that sit around in the piazza's, park areas of town, and discuss everything from politics to soccer. Termini, and much of Italy is a mix of both ancient and modern. There are buildings that are hundreds of years old with a satilite dish attached. You will see a modern building seamlessly attached to a building that was built in the 1700's. It has a beauty and simplicity and values the ancient, rather than tearing it down, but incorporating it into the modern architecture.

Suffice it to say, you see much more walking than you do riding around in the car.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe for Crepes


2 eggs
500ml milk
80 gr. butter, melted & cooled (2.82oz)
250 gr. flour (8.81oz)
Pinch of salt

Mix eggs, milk, and cooled butter.
Add flour and salt slowly, mix for a smooth batter.
Let sit in fridge for 1 hour.

Ladle a scoop into an oiled frying pan. Cooks quickly, basically a very thin pancake.
Add a tsp or so of cinnamon and some sugar for sweeter crepès, or some parmesan for cheese flavored
Spread jam, nutella, peanut butter, cheese or whatever you like.
They can also be filled with a meat mixture and baked in the oven.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gruppo Giovanile

We were privileged to be asked to assist the local leaders of the youth group in Palermo. We had kick-off dinner in mid October, followed by a meeting with games, introductions, a devotional, and plans for the coming year. Shawn was able to help set up an internet forum for the group. We will be helping wherever we are needed. Currently there are plans for a youth service in December as well as a giornolino (newsletter) coming in January. I will be assisting with the newsletter, and continue to improve my grasp of the Italian language. Shawn will be involved with music and drama. We are excited to see what God has in store for Gruppo Giovanile this coming year. Continue to pray for us as things keep getting added to our schedule. We want to be able to minister effectively, but not spread ourselves too thin.

Kid's Program

Recently we began a Saturday afternoon kid's program for every other weekend. The first day we began with 4 kids and ended with 13. They came bouncing in ready for some fun. We started with introductions, then songs, story, snack, and of course games. Many of these kids attend "Settimana Felice" during the summer and always asked for more or wanted to know when they could come again.
Shawn led the music, with the help of one of the ladies in the church, I got to hold the sign. Then I told the story, while Shawn translated. We then had a snack, and it was GAME time. The kids started warming up to us during the story, but they really did during the games. We played "wink" and a circle game that kept all of us moving. At the end of the afternoon, the kids wanted to know when we would have another "Pomeriggio Felice". They are very excited about the program and we have had an opportunity to minister to the parents as well and make connections.