Okay--so we've been home for almost 2 months now...and yet I am NOW blogging! How terrible! Again, I blame it mostly on the pregnancy, and just a little on the busy-ness of summer.
Italy was completely incredible! We had such a fabulous time!! We got to Padova on the 21st after a long flight overseas and got settled into our youth hostel that evening. We enjoyed 2 Sundays with ICF (International Christian Fellowship), the church we worked with while there--with missionaries Steve and Patti Gray. Rick even preached the first Sunday! He did awesome, of course! :-)
Our week was like this: Mon-Wed we met in the mornings at the church for our devotionals, then we walked through the city of Padova praying at the old city gates (9 remaining). We did 3 each day and it was a beautiful experience to learn the history of the city, to allow God to speak to us at each gate, and to pray over the city and the people of Padova. Patti was amazing as she knows so much history of Padova--it was better than having a tour guide! After praying at the gates, we would go eat lunch and OH MY--the Italian food is above and beyond what I imagined it to be. YUMMY!! They would have a 3 course meal that started with a pasta dish, the second course was a meat dish, and then you ended with your salad or vegetable. And of course, we ended it all with an espresso. After lunch we headed to the church to enjoy the air conditioning (they were in somewhat of a heat wave while we were there) and just relax from all our walking. Then we would head back to our hostel and freshen up--and go do "church in the park". We would meet at a Park in the center of the city that was huge and absolutely beautiful. People would gather there in the evenings to just hang out. So we would start by playing volleyball or soccer to draw people in, we would also walk around and hand out tracts and invite people to our service or just talk to them about what God has done/is doing in our lives, and pray with them. Then we would gather and give testimonies and sing worship songs together. We ended with Rick sharing a short mini-message and prayer. It was an amazing experience as there are so many different nationalities in Padova (I believe over 80). The language barrier was difficult at times, but many from ICF came to help translate for us. We got to be a part of many who came to know Christ while we were there. Then we would end our night by getting some very yummy gelato (Italian ice cream)--there's nothing like it!!!
*below--the water that surrounded the park we ministered in each night, and us holding our "church in the park" service.
On Thursday we spent a day in Venice. It was beautiful, but to us, didn't compare to Padova! We did enjoy the shopping, the canals, the scenery, and taking a gondola ride.
*below--one of the canals in Venice.
Friday we spent the day doing projects around the church.
Saturday we got to be a part of a water baptism with ICF--at the Adriatic Sea! It was a wonderful experience!
This was an amazing mission's trip and we were so sad to leave our new friends and the beauty of Italy (and the gelato).