Thursday, March 29, 2012

time in a bottle

it has been a really long time since i posted last but a lot has happened in the last month. 

we have had many lunches, picnics, coffees and visits with church members, students and friends new and old. 
we went to siena as a group one saturday for a picnic and a day to relax together in a beautiful place. 
our last supper reenactment in siena
we have continued the work with the nursing home and food distribution at the train station. 

we are still working hard in our classes trying to get our students to meet the real jesus and fall in love with him.

we had a going away party for a sweet couple at our church and had to tell them bye as they moved to the states. 

our church hosted a classical music concert and a ping pong tournament.
ping pong
ryan and i went to bologna to see one of our favorite bands in concert, wilco. 
the girls got to attend the annual women's retreat where we were all encouraged and strengthened by the time we were able to spend together and the incredibly challenging discussions. 
women's retreat
the guys got to spend a fun and relaxing day together in vinci and the island of giglio visiting a quite notorious landmark. 
guys in giglio
we got to spend a wonderful week last week in venice, milan and florence with my parents who were here on a surprise trip that my dad got to make for business. 
the party people
i can see God working in every little interaction, every discussion, every meeting and hug and smile and burst of energy. he encourages us daily and i laugh when he provides me with exactly what i need to keep going. i'm not surprised anymore when he does this because he does it on a daily basis, but i can never cease thanking him for his amazing power and love. 

i've been praying like crazy for the spirit to move in the hearts of all of my students. i want more than anything for them to meet the real jesus and that's what i tell them now every week. (when i say meet, i mean that all the pieces fit together in their heads to see the entirety of who he was and what his life means for their lives, like the moment they really know) i know that when they meet the real jesus their lives will be changed and as my last semester of classes with them comes to a close, i have no greater desire than to show them all the verses that force them to wrestle with their thoughts about him.  

since i have been a part of avanti italia my favorite thing has been the time i spend talking about the things of the bible with my students. but i don't think any feeling in my life has compared to the joy i felt last night when talking with one of them. 

i have watched her walk a road that started at skepticism so strong she laughed at me when i talked about visions of the apostles and the fact that i believed everything in the bible, to the moment last night when she told me she could not wait to go home to read the bible on her own and discover on her own what it meant for her and her life. she told me that the months spent with me have shown her something she had never seen in her life and she wanted to understand jesus because she saw that i felt him and he was real.

i'm saying this to say that our god is awesome and i believe that every week when i asked him to speak to her heart through my mouth, he does. he knew what she needed to hear and i wasn't even a part of the equation, i was a puppet, and that's how i want it to be. i know we may never see most of the fruit that we are throwing out the seed for and i am content with that. i'm reminded by the words of jesus and paul that that's not why i do it, and i know that. if we saw the fruit we would get proud and proud is the last thing i want to be. i just know that the little bud of a flower on a fruit tree was all i needed to be energized to do this work for the rest of my life. 

i'm so thankful that i got to be the puppet in this situation and witness the most beautiful relationship forming between our savior and my sweet sweet friend. i want nothing more! pray pray pray for her heart with me. thank you for letting me share and i won't let it be a month before i post again. 

be honest and real and share your hearts with people about why jesus loves them, why you love jesus and why he is the only thing real in this life. pray for me that i have the boldness and humility to do the same.