On Monday Amelie started language school, which is huge, as she is only thirteen and is in a class with adults. She is excited to begin learning the language so she can communicate with these people she has grown to love!
Because we are living in a completely different part of town than her school, I have the opportunity to explore the neighborhood. Her school is in our neighborhood we love and desire to live in. So now there is time to explore it and get to know it even better.
After I dropped her off at school, I went to our friend's shop and journaled. I watched people. I prayed. I cannot get enough of Lindy Conant's 'Take Courage' and listened to it over and over.
I walked to a small, nondescript park in Piazza Dei Ciompi. A sign immediately informed you this was a place for children to play and was struck with what I saw:
there were no children.
Three Arabic men sat on a bench chatting. A group of what seemed to be special needs adults sat together, yet seemingly alone. An older woman walked in who was obviously a caregiver to a much older man. She walked him to the bench he wanted to sit on, and (not very politely) refused to sit with him because it was too hot in the sun. She stood in the shade and he sat alone.
All I could see were the unwanted.
And then all I could do was pray. And when I did, asking the Lord what he would have me do, I looked up and saw Arabic writing outside the park. It's a place called the Islamic Center of Florence and Tuscany.
Before outreach, I wouldn't have had eyes to see that.
Then Amelie called me. She was having a hard time bc the teacher was teaching in Italian. My sweet, sweet girl. She is my first ministry and what a joy it was to be able to encourage her and simply listen.
I am excited to be here and all the LORD is birthing in my heart to love this city. I just can't tell you. I cannot wait to see what and who the LORD highlights to us. The people at Amelie's school, our landlord, the people in our new neighborhood, the sweet lady working at my friend's shop with a six year old that speaks four languages, the American 20 year old students I hear talking on the street about going to a strip club full of Croatian women, the Muslim woman cleaning the doors to a building shocked bc I acknowledged her and said, "Buongiorno!" So many, from all over the world, and all in need of truth that never changes: the gospel.
Come alongside of us. Share our website. Video chat with us and your homegroup. Help us invite others to join us in what we are doing. Visit us. Support us financially. Be in this with us.
If you would like to contribute to Amelie's tuition (834€), you can do so by visiting our PayPal.
Originally we reserved an apartment in the area we want to live in. It was on the second floor, without an elevator, and had no air conditioning (its hot in Italy during summer). But it was in our area. Less than a week before we were to arrive, it flooded. The city is packed with tourists and our real estate agent found this place for us. Same price, and so much better - just not where I wanted it to be.
But God knew what he was doing.
There is so much more to come once our internet is established and life comes back into rhythm. This is our landlord's first property and everything in it is new; we are working our many kinks with grace and patience. It is beautiful, and so is the experience getting to know our Landlord, and realizing again, for the millionth time, God wastes nothing.
When we move we will need to order a kitchen, figure out wifi, all of it - and because we are in Italy it is even more frustrating since everything takes ten times longer to accomplish (so cool to joke about that with our Landlord, too)!
We look forward to sharing and walking this out with you! It is giving me a taste of what it will be like when we move. The Lord is so sweet to show us, step by step, and give us new mercies, everyday. I am even feeling stress from all the Italian I've been speaking the last few days. All of this is preparation for what it will be like. Today Amelie confessed being tired of hearing Italian, and I confessed being tired of speaking it. Our brains were tired. After dinner, though, it was awesome to help her study verbs and help with pronunciation. Man, what a gift to see her get it, and to be able to help her do it.
Before we left Berlin, I met with our school leaders to talk about next steps after outreach. Tim prayed Jeremiah 29:4-6, verses filled with life, over me, as we look to whats next:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease."
What he didn't know was nearly five years ago, because we were unable to move to Florence though I ached to be there, I began supporting the Church as best I could from afar by making little digital postcards. Jeremiah 29:7 was the first one I made just after I returned from the first Acts 29 Europe conference in Wales.
Believer, wherever you are, whatever your 'mission' is, God is near. He knows exactly where you are and what you need to do what he has called you to.
We are all in, y'all, with complete trust and joy. Jump on in with us to do what God has called us to do: love this city and it's people.