We love living and serving in Rome! Who wouldn’t? Right? We’ve been blessed beyond measure as we’ve watched the Lord pull everything together to bring us here. We know we are in the center of His will and feel right at home with our new church family at CC Roma. Yet, we left a big part of our heart back in the States… The part that belongs to our family. We were so blessed to spend lots of quality time with our children and grandchildren this summer while we were wedding hopping back in the States! But then came the goodbyes. When our youngest granddaughter said, “Bye-bye Ma-mah”, like we might see each other in just a few minutes, I had to turn around so they wouldn’t see my struggle to hold back the tears. The next time I see her, she’ll probably be able to pronounce “grandma”. We’ll miss their birthdays, programs and holidays, their hugs and spontaneous visits. They will grow on without us and we will continue to “Look Up” to the One who holds our tomorrows and holds all our hearts together.
Last spring, after we had been in Rome for a couple months (long enough for the newness and excitement to wear off) we even started to miss the little things that we left behind, like cool quiet nights, green manicured lawns and clean sidewalks. We don’t live in the postcard Rome, we live in Tor Bella Monaca, the most impoverished zone in Rome. And I confess, all the graffiti and garbage were beginning to steal my joy. So I started to pray about it (the kind of prayers that David prayed when he was in the pits, the desparate kind that can easily be confused with whining). Thankfully, the Lord reminded me to “Look Up!” It’s always such good advice to look up and put your focus on the Lord. I started reading and re-reading the Songs of Accent (Psalms 120-134) and let the hope in His Word wash over me like rain on a parched desert. ” I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.” ~ Psalm 120:1
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” ~ Psalm 121:1
” I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven.” ~ Psalm 123:1
Then, while we were walking along, dodging litter, the Lord again, whispered the words, “Look Up”, and I realized He also meant it literally. I raised my gaze above the graffiti covered cement walls to see beautiful green trees laden with flowers, lemons and a variety of new fruit. You’ve gotta love new fruit (especially the hard-to-grow varieties)! God sure has His work cut out for Him when He wants to produce new fruit in His whiny children!
Our top five Prayer Requests
Our number one prayer request… Lord, teach us to be content with our heart in two places! Grow your fruit in our lives and in our family as You grow our faith in You. “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” ~ Psalm 126:5-6
We were blessed to spend the last two weeks at Calvary Chapel’s Conference Center in Austria. One week was spent at the European Missions Conference, followed by our CC Roma Conference. Please pray for lasting fruit for all who attended each conference.
Please pray for divine inspiration in the writing and artwork for our ongoing Children’s Curriculum project. Pray also for our Children’s Ministry Team, the students and the start of our new Sunday School year this month.
Please pray for hearts to be receptive to the good news, for the salvation of our neighbors and all the people God brings across our path.
Please pray for continued progress in our language acquisition (in both the Italian language and the stronger language of love)!