First Month in Italy!
Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be writing you from my new apartment in Italy!! I have been living in it for almost three weeks now and have been abundantly blessed by this little place. Below is a picture of me in front of my home (mine is the top floor) and if you click to the next picture you will see the full view of the apartment.
SEND OFF AT THE AIRPORT
On the morning of September 11th, my mom and I packed our bags, loaded the car, and set off for the airport. We were greeted by a wonderful group of people who had gathered to see us off: family, friends, church family, former students. We laughed, cried, hugged, and ended with a time of prayer. I couldn't have been more blessed that morning. I was showered with love, encouragement, and gifts as I set off on this new adventure.
FIRST TWO WEEKS
My mom was with me for the first two weeks in Italy to help get me settled. We had such a wonderful time together and I am so grateful that she got to meet Landon, Rachel, Avila, and Holden, see my new home, and meet my new amazing church family. She was a huge blessing to me. She spent two weeks in Italy and not once was able to do the "tourist" thing. She was so selfless with her time: she spent hours organizing my home, unpacking things, putting new items together, running around stores shopping for home goods, etc.
God truly provided for my needs through many of you who gave so generously and with cheerful hearts before I left. I was able to purchase some new furniture, stock my kitchen, and get many of the first-time-home necessities with your donations, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a blessing furnishing this new home in the hopes of welcoming others in for ministry. It is my prayer that this apartment would be a place of refuge and comfort for many and that they would know that they are loved immensely by the One who made them and died to save them when they step foot inside. (Below are pictures of my packed car after an Ikea run and then photos of the inside of my apartment after unpacking all of the purchases...click on the arrow located on the right of the picture).
Despite all of the shopping, organizing, and unpacking, my mom and I were also able to enjoy some sweet times of fellowship with people in the church and many of them still ask me regularly how she is doing. As always, she made quite an impact on the people here and is already loved and adored by many. I know she fell in love with this place and the people as well...it's not hard to do. (There are multiple pictures, so be sure to click the arrow on the right of the photos).
SEASON OF LEARNING
This may come as no surprise to many of you, but, I LOVE to learn! Despite the stress that so often accompanies it, I love school. I always have. Which undoubtedly is one reason I became a teacher. I love challenging myself, growing in knowledge and skills, learning new information, and being exposed to different ways of doing things. Being in new and different cultures is exciting for me. So praise the Lord for that because I am definitely in a season of learning. Everything is new: new language, new culture, new home, new relationships, new ways of traveling (by foot, bike, bus, or rides from other people), new home routines (trash and recycling, no dishwasher, no dryer, metric system), but I truly am enjoying it.
I feel like a little kid all over again. I'm having to relearn how to do life. I'm dependent upon other people to get places. Dependent upon them to translate for me and be my mouthpiece. Dependent upon them for direction with customs and cultural practices. Dependent upon others for financial support. I'm just in a constant state of dependency. It can be uncomfortable at times, especially coming from a cultural that values and strives for independence, but it is a glorious place to be from a spiritual standpoint. Here's what I mean. Through my life's circumstances I'm learning:
How to become like a little child
It is so necessary to remain teachable, not just in life circumstances, but spiritually. To be willing to receive instruction, correction, and counsel. I'm learning on a new and deeper level what it means to trust the Lord. To take Him at His word; to trust His faithfulness to meet my every need; to believe that He will equip and sustain me for the work He has called me to do. And instead of it being a challenge, I have found it to be so freeing. What rest comes from entrusting your life into your Creator's hands. Please pray that I will always remain in this state of dependency, especially when I begin to grow more comfortable with the language, culture, and manner of life. It is often in our strengths that we fail to trust the Lord. I don't want to grow comfortable or confident in my own ability to the point where I stop depending upon the Lord. I want my confidence to remain in Christ alone and to always be in a teachable state.
What's on my Calendar???
Monday: Italian language class at a local school from 9:00am - 1:00pm
Women's Bible Study (3rd Monday evening of every month)
Tuesday: Grocery Shopping
Church Prayer (Every other Tuesday evening @8:00pm)
Wednesday: Missionary Meeting (8:30am - 10:30am)
Italian language class (11:00am - 1:00pm)
Thursday: Midweek church service (7:00pm)
Friday: Free day
Saturday: Women's Bible Study (1st Saturday of every month @5:00pm)
Sunday: Church Service @5:00pm
I will be joining the worship team in November. My electronic drum set that Calvary Chapel Reno donated will be arriving in the next two weeks!
The first picture below is from our first gathering for our women's bible study. We are going through the book of James. The second photo is from our Sicilian dinner event from church. There are many Sicilians in our church here in Northern Italy, so we had a night of fellowship to celebrate their culture and food.
Our flight to Venice, car rental, and travel throughout Italy was the smoothest it has ever been for me. I have not had the best experiences renting cars in the past, so this is a HUGE praise report on my end! My heart is filled with much gratitude!
My time with my mom was sweet and her flight home was smooth. Thank you to everyone who prayed for her, loved on her, and welcomed her home with open arms!
I'm slowly picking up the language (still in the listening and absorbing phase for sure, but I can tell that I'm growing)
My transition has been very smooth thus far. I've learned how to travel by bus, am becoming more familiar with the city, can fumble my way through conversations, am adjusting to baking in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit, etc.
Praise the Lord that I was able to enroll in language classes for this season!
I have been welcomed into this church body here in Feltre with open arms and loving hearts. I feel so loved and cared for by these people and they have already made me feel like family. I'm so grateful for the new and developing friendships!
Praise the Lord for my apartment and my loving landlords!
Praise the Lord for His provision, both financially and in the practical needs of my home (furniture, plates, bedding, cookware, towels, etc.).
My appointment for my Permesso di Soggiorno (permit to stay) went very well. I'm beyond grateful for Landon (who was my translator for the appointment) and Tessa (a sweet sister in the church who wrote a legal letter for me as part of my application for my Permesso).
Praise the Lord for putting together such an amazing sending team! These people are prayer warriors, they are passionate about His kingdom, they have a heart for the lost, and they have been a huge support for me during this transition. I'm in awe of what the Lord did and how He has knit this team together! He is using them in mighty ways!
Prayer Requests...please pray for:
My language acquisition, a mind to learn and memorize, and stamina and diligence to study Italian daily
Unity and vision as a missionary team (Landon, Rachel, and myself)
The new church building project. Pray for wisdom in selecting the right people to be a part of the renovation and opportunities to share the love of Christ and the gospel with them
Financial provision for the new building project. God has already provided for the full cost of the building, all that's left now is renovation costs
My Permesso, as it is currently (hopefully) being processed. Pray that it would be done speedily so that I can move towards applying for residency
My transition and learning to adapt to new practices and a new culture. Please continue to pray for ease in learning these new things
Vision and direction for future ministry and outreach and how the Lord would have me to be involved
Salvation for the people of Feltre and Pedavena and boldness for us believers to share the gospel
Unity within the body of Christ here in Feltre and continued discipleship, raising up, and equipping of the saints for ministry
Financial provision. I've seen the Lord provide abundantly and faithfully each month already, but I want to be faithful to continue to ask and believe that He will move and stir in the hearts of people to help make the work that I'm doing in Italy financially possible
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, encouragement, and support. If you have any questions or want to know how you can be more involved in the work taking place here in Italy, feel free to write me/email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).