Monday, November 5, 2007

Genova and Family Day

Hey everyone! Another month has come and gone already. Sammy is now nine months old. He has four teeth and it cutting more all the time. He is standing on his own now for 20-30 seconds and taking steps with help. He will be walking in no time. He is also VERY active. We already had our first emergency room visit with him the other night, which was bound to happen sooner or later. He cut his lip open on a chair that he was holding onto for balance. He didn't have to get stitches though, thank the Lord!
These are some pictures of our trip with the American English Club students to Genova and some pictures of our latest family day. We finally got Siena to say "Cheese" and smile for the camera!

Sammy Smiles!

Siena loves her brother...

he's not so sure about her expression though!

Siena wants to be like mommy!

Who does the kid look like? We think like mommy...what do you think?

Siena is absorbed in the movie, as usual. Sammy thinks it's cool. And we are enjoying how funny you look!!!!!!

Ready, set, go............

Too cute!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Siena was a flower girl

Hello everyone! We have had a very eventful couple of weeks. Anthony went to Germany and the night before he left Siena had a fever and woke up every hour on the hour all night long. The next day it was Nik's turn to get it and then Sammy and then Anthony. I (Nik) spent two days locked up in the house with the kids and I think we watched every movie that we own. I now have Cars and Madagascar memorized!
Thankfully that passed and we could look forward to the day Siena got to be the flower girl princess in the wedding of the very first couple ever to get married from our church. It was so precious to see how Siena looked forward to wearing her princess dress. She almost didn't walk down the aisle, but, in the end, I handed her off to a friend and ran down to the front to receive her. She did awesome! Here are some pics of her.

Siena also has a favorite new game...Ring Around the Rosies. Here is a cute little video of Siena and Daddy playing in the kitchen after dinner. She loves playing with Daddy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Many Faces of Sammy

Hey guys! I HAD to to post these recent pics of Sammy from our day at the park. He LOVES the swing. His newest thing is this face that makes us all die laughing. You can see why!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The end of summer

Well, summer is quickly coming to an end, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity before all of the students get back and we get loaded down with ministry and work. We went on a family day hike to an old castle with both kids in their cool backpacks, and then to the "foothills" near Torre Pellice to visit with some friends of ours who have two kids just a little older than ours. It was fun to get out of Turin to the country and rest for the day.

The kids are growing so much. On the 2nd of September, Sammy turned 7 months. He decided it was time to crawl that day. He is already pulling himself up on the sofa and letting go to stand for a second on his own before falling to the ground. He is one coordinated and determined little kid. He loves to smile and is really enjoying eating solids. His favorite thing to eat is squash. He also enjoys sucking on fruit and bread. He has already cut his two bottom teeth and is currently cutting his top front tooth. Ouch!

Siena is now singing all the time. Her favorite song is "I Love You Lord" and she also loves "Si,si, si Signor" (Yes Lord, Yes Lord) in italian. She also loves "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" because she likes to do the spider with her hands. She keeps us all laughing! Currently she loves to make you smile with: "I have no clue!", and recounting stories in Siena fashion. For example, "Emma got hurt. Teo hit. Teo got disciplined. He's not nice." and "The rain came up the stairs! Our car's broken!" with her arms going up and around to describe how much water cam into our basement to flood our car.

Check out these videos to see a little bit of these two in action.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Il Rifugio goes to Parco Gran Paradiso

Ciao everyone! We just got back from a trip to the mountains with some of our friends from Il Rifugio. Almost everyone is gone on vacation, so we decided to take church to the mountains for the rest of us to get a little get away of our own. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, hiking, playing, praying and praising. We did the whole trip for 13 Euro plus transportation. Not too bad! Our friend Julia (pronounced Youlia) invited us all to stay in her mountain home, which is about as basic as they come. Everyone slept on the floor except for us since we got the nice room for the kids.

Siena and Sammy LOVE the mountains and their baby backpacks. I think it's because they don't have to walk. Wouldn't it be nice to go along on someone's back!

Sammy just started to pull himself up. I'm scared! My guess is that this kid is going to be walking by 10 months.

Siena is a handfull these days when we are at home, but an angel whenever we are out.

We are VERY blessed with two wonderful, beautiful and healthy children.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In the Mountains

Siena loves the mountains. She can't wait to "go hiking" and "climbing". So when we decided to join Davide and Anna & their 9 month old daughter at their summer home on the French border, Siena squealed with delight. She loved every minute of the time.

Claviere boasts some great playgrounds. Siena is particularly fascinated with the climbing features of the parks. Even Sammy is starting to swing around. He is so active!

We took one hike. Sammy loved it and Siena wanted to see every flower possible. She had several bouquets of flowers by the end of our date together.

After the flood, we didn't have much in terms of funding for a vacation, but God provided thru Davide and Anna. They are amazing hosts. We had a chance to encourage one another in parenting and pressing into Jesus.

Please continue to pray for us. We want to constantly grow as parents and in how to push Davide, Anna & Caterina to love Jesus more!

PS Did we mention that Sammy is eating solids, at least 33% goes in the mouth.

PPS Did we mention that Anthony went prematurely bald?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Euro Wilderness Leadership Training (EWLT) 2007

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is
life and joy. -Proverbs 18:12,New Living Translation
There are few things that satisfy our hearts like seeing the dreams that God puts inside us realized. One of the first dreams I had here in Torino was a ministry that build disciples through exposure to God's creation. And God began to color in this dream with the recent EWLT trip here in Torino.

We left early Tuesday morning eight people in all.

Ben Bringartner, an American, who was always eager to serve.

Candice Santeferraro, an American, who lived with us this summer, who constantly reminded us the unique beauty of God in the mountains.

Teo Socianu, a Romanian, who was a pyrotechnician.

Niku Mergotti, an Albanian, who always had a song to sing to Jesus.

Julia Mastrogiacollo, an Italian, who encouraged each one to keep pressing on and into Jesus.

Andrea Testa, an Italian, who served as a second in command, he has a desire to lead trips like this in the future.

Keesong Choi, a Korean, who smiled 100% of the time.

And I, another American, who felt very much like one of the shepherds in the valley caring for His sheep.

Our trip began with several trials. Our car broke down before leaving for vacation and wouldn't be ready for the trip to the mountains--our destination required the car or another's car. We were not able to take the train back from our vacation till one day before the trip because the trains in the region we were vacationing in were on strike--no one knew what was happening as a national strike changed to a regional strike at the last minute. God provided us with the car of a student in the church, but the ignition jammed for about 2hours in a gas station on the way to the trail head. We didn't know if we would even be able to continue with the trip. And during the entry hike we took a different trail and then the connecting trail, clearly marked on the trail, didn't exist. It disappeared! We arrived into camp at 9pm. God's grace was clear, the weather was amazing and He led us to the perfect campsite for the next four days.

The site was amazing! We had views up and down the valley, no disturbance from the herds the roam these valleys and only two hikers passed us the whole time! Our site was so secluded that they couldn't see us from the trail.

Our goal was so simple:meet with Jesus and create a space for Him to speak to our hearts. Our first days hike took about 6 hours. The next day was solitude, silence and fasting. The following day, more solitude and fasting. The fourth day of the trip we broke the fast together, but continued in solitude and then during the evening we came out of the solitude to share what God had done through our time apart. Teo build an enormous campfire and I was amazed how God used this time in our lives.

No one knew quite what to expect during the time, but one common theme was how the lack of "scaffolding", i.e. things to do and people to talk to, forced them to face their hearts, their flesh and meet God in an intimate way.

One young man asked his friends & family what he could pray for them and in the midst of praying for them, God revealed to him His purpose for his life.

A young lady who had always dreamed of a time like this, but never had time to organize it, said she wants to do it again. This was her first time fasting.

Finally, one of the greatest skeptics of the time said that he loved it. He heard God speak to him of his uniqueness in Jesus and reveal to him where God is leading him with numerous future decisions.
As for me, the trip was very arduous. Leading it with its various trials revealed many absences in my heart. God showed me my need to die to my flesh and confess with greater regularity my faults and hidden sins. I was also challenged to become a man of greater action. James 4.17 says, "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." My continual prayer is that I would be conscious of the good that I need to do and then would follow through in action.
Andrea and I are already praying about the next EWLT. I would love to expand it and to also invite others from other GCM European churches. This trip involved people from five different nations and three different continents. Who knows what God would do with this.

A huge thanks to all you who prayed for us. Your prayers brought much fruit and encouraged my heart as I saw the "Fulfiller of our dreams" at work (Ephesians 3.20)!