Wednesday, May 30, 2007

God's Answer

As we begin the English clubs, God gave me a promise:

16 “In that coming day,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead
of ‘my master.' 17 O Israel, I will cause you to forget your images of Baal;
even their names will no longer be spoken. (Hosea 2.16-17)

I have been praying that God would replace the idols that the students have with his name: my husband. Well, last night at 1am, Marcos repented and asked Jesus to lead him. He & his wife are from Brazil (but have been living in London till 3 months ago). They knew of Jesus, but now he knows Him. Svemi is close. She is going thru a tough period. Pray for them to get rooted into God's love for them. Pray that they would be able to boast in the fact that "they are the ones the Lord loves!" Pray also for her sister (age 14) Anna who is without a dad and is really hurting here.

Love you cats. Pictured (left to right) Shawna, Charlie, Marcos, Suemi, Anthony & Nikki!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Quick note, we began English Clubs on Tuesday. They are going to last for two weeks. Please pray for the health of all those involved (each of our missionary families has at least one person sick--Sammy is under attack too.)

Please pray for our sensitivity to the Spirit to lead us in conversations, appointments and our boldness to share God's message as we should!

Please pray for unity amongst our team & joy amidst challenges. The students and graduates (pictured here: beginner team, intermediate team & advanced team) are from Texas and Florida. They are amazed at just how spiritually dark this city is!

Please pray for the students that are coming to the clubs--71 signed up! (pictures of the advanced level students that I am helping teach). Pray that God would draw their hearts and that they would have eyes to see his power and love in us! (Picture #1,from left to right--marcos, svemi, fallon, craig, sverdi, mighena, paola, carola. Picture #2, anthony, isabella, sara, nikki)

Finally, please pray for us. Candace Santaferraro, a good friend of ours, is coming to live with us thru till August 2nd. She is coming to help Nikki out with the kids, learn Italian and serve the students as a missionary. Pray for our unity, chances to sharpen each other and that God would touch her heart deeply for Italians!

We love you and wish you were here!

Time in Tuscany

Well, it wasn't the getaway and celebration of Nikki's Birthday and Mother's day that we had hoped for, but it was special to be together, return to Siena (birthplace of our daughter's name) and visit our dear friend Luisa Pasquale (met her brother Danny at Denver Seminary when God was calling us to Italy) and her church family in Firenze.

I'll describe our trip briefly and then post some quick pictures. don't forget to check out the videos, there is a great one on there of Siena the pigion chaser!

Before we left for Florence/Siena, Nikki contracted the flu, so we didn't even know if we would go. Then our friend who was going to host us got sick, so we needed to find other accomodations last minute. God provided! (picture of home behind Siena)

Nikki was feeling better the day we left. And some friends of our's hosted us in the Tuscan countryside. They even babysat Thursday night so that we could enjoy a somewhat romantic dinner nearby.

Friday was in the town of Siena. At lunch, Siena turned to one of the people in the little pizzeria where we ate and said, "Jesus loves you!" We cried. So beautiful to see Siena beginning to live out God's values for her life. Later, Nikki explained to Siena the meaning of her name (Interior Beauty of Jesus 1 Peter 3.3-4: Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.) while in Piazza del campo (see pictures). That night we cruised by San Gimingnano, a city that Anthony studied in Architecture studio creating his favorit design project(see picture). Finally, we returned to Florence, exhausted--2 kids 2 years old and under are not meant to travel all day--to stay with Luisa who had recovered from her sickness.

Saturday Anthony me with Campus Crusade's leader in Florence to build a relationship and pray together. He got a bigger picture of what God is doing on the campus' in Florence, Rome, Pisa & Salerno. Then we ate lunch in Boboli Gardens and went to meet the Ammirabile family once again in the Tuscan countryside. We had dinner with them and we overwhelmed by their ministry of hospitality (see pictures of their camp & size of an average dinner gathering at their home).

Sunday was spent in Firenze at Luisa's church. It is very different from ours, however, we felt the presence of Jesus and were warmly welcomed. We met a missionary from Chicago who has been in Italy for over 30 years (Luisa & her roommate, missionary with Crusade pictured,also)!

Our drive back was beautiful, Tuscany at dusk is magical. We didn't know this till returning, but they have some 6,500 feet mountains in the northern part of the region and an extensive coast line.

We never did run a race--one of the original purposes for visiting Tuscany during this period. But the smile we share, the people we met and God's leading the trip and healing Nikki and Luisa were priceless. Sammy agrees :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Refreshing Ourselves

We are all busy, right! We all need to take a break and enjoy each other and Jesus. Here are some pictures of recent moments where we as a family have said "NO" to many other things and just enjoyed time together. Hope this encourages you and let's you see a window into what we do between openings at Il Rifugio, Alla Scoperta, E4, Worship Services (culto in italian), endless dinners, evangelism & discipleship one on one, English clubs & Short Term Mission Trips...did I forget anything??? (Like learning the language & the culture still!)

Hiking trip in the mountains on today, Italy's labor day.

Day alone as a staff to picnic, play bocce, hike & celebrate Janice's birthday.

Day & a half trip to visit with Davide, Anna & Caterina at the seaside.

Well, speaking of being refreshed, I gotta go steal a few moments with Jesus while the kids sleep!