Sunday, August 8, 2010
I have just returned from my mission’s trip evangelizing in Bologna , Italy with College Church missionary Mark Brucato and my high school team. For the two weeks that we were there, the team was able to witness to so many non-believers. We had fifteen junior high students attend our camp, and we were able to witness to them through sports ministry, ESL, and displaying God’s love through our actions. We were also able to perform our street mime to many groups of people in different parks around Bologna . This mime depicted the many pulls and attraction to sin and how Christ can save you from such desires. It was very well received and a lot of fun to perform too! Another highlight of the trip was being interviewed by the Italian News station. Our group was cleaning and painting an area of the city and the News team wanted to know who we were and why teenagers would want to paint and clean? The greatest part of this activity was the children that came to the camp wanted to join us and help too. We were able to show Christ’s love for them in many tangible ways. We ended our trip with a tour of Rome . The beauty in art that showed Christ and his ministry on earth was amazing. This trip was more than I could have ever prayed for.
In Christ, Mark Grisamore
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
While the overall experience of World Impact Italy was undeniably eye-opening, there is one specific moment from the trip that I will never forget. One souvenir that I got from my visit to the Italian hospital was a very stylish nose cast. I was given very strict instructions not to get this cast wet. Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn’t wash my hair. At first this wasn’t so bad, but after four days of running around outside, in blistering heat, I did not feel too good. Instead, I felt quite sticky. Yuck! Giovanna, another woman who helped out with the camp, offered to take me to her apartment so that she could wash my hair in her sink. I could tell from her persistence that she truly wanted to do it, even though her schedule was packed with additional preparations for camp. She wasn’t offering merely because it was a nice thing to do. Personally, I wouldn’t want to touch someone’s dirty, unwashed hair, and I was shocked by the fact that she did. She perfectly embodied the spirit of Jesus, when he washed his disciples’ feet. I’m sure that the disciples’ feet were pretty gross from walking on Jerusalem’s littered city streets; yet, Jesus got down on his hands and knees and scrubbed them clean. Giovanna and Elena, who helped her out, set an incredible example of Christ-like service. I was humbled by their willingness to get their hands dirty in order to help me! From watching Giovanna and Elena serve, I am challenged to adopt this same attitude of self-sacrificing service towards others so that I too can serve like Jesus did.
My time in Italy broadened my ideas about missions. Through interactions with the Brucatos and the other church leaders in Bologna, I was able to learn that missions means far more than a two week trip to another place. To be a missionary is to be ALWAYS working for Christ’s kingdom. So often I get caught up in “normal” life in Wheaton , not thinking about the conversations I could be having in my hometown like I had in Italy . It is wonderful to be mindful of how the Lord wishes to use us regardless of location.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
My experience in Italy was one that was probably very similar to my fellow team members; a trip full of eye-opening and life-changing experiences. Since this is the case, my fellow team members will most likely cover in depth, without even knowing it, how I feel about World Impact Italy. However I'd like to share a unique experience I had with music on this trip.
As you might have known, I was put in charge of getting together a group of a few short popular songs to play in Italy. The ideal situation for this was to play ukulele in a park somewhere and sing with Nata and have Mike play drums. This could possibly get people's attention, maybe get a conversation going and then move this conversation in the direction of Christ. Well this did not happen. Not to fret though, spending time in learning these songs definitely payed off.
Even though we didn't get to have the time in the park, some of the days after camp playing these popular American songs really payed off. To my surprise people in Italy actually know a lot of American popular songs. Songs like "Hey Soul Sister", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "I'm Yours" were a hit with the campers on the days when I pulled out my ukulele after camp and just started to sing! I think Nata, Mike and I had some part to play in attracting campers back to camp day after day. I also think that when the parents of the kids noticed that we were willing to perform for them out of the blue they became less suspicious of us as a whole group.
Even though this is a rather small part of what happened in Italy I still think that this had some relevance to the trip. I think that it definitely enhanced my experience and it was so cool to see that even though we had made all these plans to play for people, God used us in His way and for His purpose. Being flexible is always required on a missions trip. This experience was truly one of a kind!
Thank you so much to those that prayed for us and supported us,
As we were preparing to leave for Italy, I had so many doubts and worries in my mind about how we were going to accomplish everything. But as always, God was good and took away all of those doubts once we began doing our ministry work in Bologna. We were constantly spending time with members of the Nova Vita and San Lazzaro church, being encouraged by their faithfulness to the Lord and to their city. Ester and Mark were our biggest companions as they drove us around daily, and we quickly bonded through the car rides, days at camp, and meetings/dinners. Their love for God never ceased even through difficult times with spreading the gospel to the people of Bologna. The Exchange camp was by far the greatest opportunity to share the Lord's love with children who had never heard the gospel before. Even though we spoke different languages (which was my biggest worry about the trip) we all formed such strong relationships with each other. Silly hand-shakes and games were the first way we bonded with the kids, and then later on in the week they opened up to us and spoke a little English while I--very ridiculously may I add--attempted to say some Italian frases such as "tre tigri contro tre tigri" which is a tongue twister "three tigers against three tigers" or even "le mie gambe sono stanche" which means "my legs hurt"...I used that one a lot especially in Rome where we walked for ten hours :) Overall, the chance to share the gospel through games, art, relationships, and mimes was an unbelievable experience. Often times we think of ministry as flying abroad to another country where people are not aware of Jesus and His sacrifice for us...but ministry is not restricted to only overseas.We can and should continue our work here in Wheaton, where there are many unbelievers walking around us daily at either work or school, sharing the Lord's love with everyone we meet.
Movin' out! This was the phrase missionary Mark Brucato frequently used during the week of the Exch@nge camp. To the Italian teenagers this saying signaled the start of a new game or activity. Currently our team has officially 'moved out' of Italy and all of us are beginning to focus on new activities. However, I hope none of us will forget the people, places, or ministries we experienced in Italy. Personally, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to build relationships with the students we met in Bologna and grow closer to my amazing American teammates. Overall, the highlight of our trip was seeing how God worked despite the language barrier to use each of our specific talents to spread His word and His love in Italia.
When one sees God’s hand at work, it is truly an amazing experience. The two weeks that we spent in Italy were filled with amazing experiences. We witnessed God working through a 5-day camp, a moving mime, and late night discussions. We saw seeds being planted by the power of the Gospel. The trip to Italy was an experience that was touching for many people, especially those of us that had the incredible opportunity to be part of the World Impact Team. Thank you for your prayers and support!