Monday, June 28, 2010


One of the most exciting opportunities for evangelism on this trip is our use of a street mime to grab people’s attention and get across something about the gospel. Our big mime and the one we’ve been working on the most is Lifehouse’s Everything skit (good examples are on Youtube). This skit tells the story of a girl who fell away/pushed away Jesus by falling for immoral guys, drinking, becoming bulimic, doing drugs, cutting, and almost committing suicide. At the last moment, she rejects all these things and tries to run back to Jesus, and it is only until the Savior comes between her and her sins (literally) that she is saved.

We’ve had some intense preparations for doing this in Italy . The song is extremely powerful and fuels the entire emotion of the story. I think this mime in particular is an excellent example of how “seeing” redemption on a stage can resonate with people differently than just hearing about it. I’m praying that it does indeed touch something within the audience, that we would truthfully portray this story of God’s love, and that God would soften some hearts in Italy to receive this awesome message.

Here’s the cast:

Girl – Nata Lopponen

Jesus – Mike Solis

Dancer – Isaac Stough

Money – Mark Grisamore

Glamour – Hannah Huff and Kathleen Cervera

Bulimia – Emma Cook

Drugs – Colin Zimmerman

Cutting – Allie Lange

Devil – Drew Cochrum


It has been fun preparing for this trip, and this wonderful opportunity God has given us to reach the people of Italy. As many of you know, we will help run an English camp in Bologna that's intended for teens ages 12-15. There have been many meetings to prepare for this camp. We are mainly in charge of coming up with activities, games, and skits that relate to the day's English or Bible lesson. Preparing for these lessons has taken more time and thought than I originally thought it would. We have chosen fun games that we in our team like to play, and have had to tweak them to make them more simplified for a non-primary English speaker. As a group, we have told ourselves that we will have to be able to go with the flow and be willing to make changes to our original plans. Our group has really shown it's creativity and hard-work whenever we meet. I believe that through this preparation we have become stronger in our team unity, and have shown our willingness to serve.

Whenever our group would leave a "camp" meeting I always prayed that God would use those activities to draw in the campers, so that we may share the Gospel further. Currently, we know that there are 5 campers signed up, and we hope that there will be more, but you never know what God can do in the future by telling just a few people. I think that the camp will go smoothly after the first couple of days and will be successful at helping the teens learn English, while incorporating God's Word. I expect that everyone will do their part and will be willing to help out in different areas. This isn't your typical VBS camp because we believe most of these teens are 'un-churched', so we hope that this camp will help participants to become more interested and enthusiastic about Him. I expect God to use this English camp to plant a seed in their hearts towards Christianity and wanting to pursue this faith more. I also believe that with this camp, our team will be able to create a close bond with the teens who attend, making it easier to want to share the Gospel, and lead them to Christ. This is the camp's first year, and we hope to help set the foundation for more camps to take place in the future so that more people will learn about Him and will be able to proclaim that Jesus is their Savior.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Street Evangelism, Naperville:

This past Friday night, an innocent walker in Naperville would have been surprised by the vast array of street performers that lined the cracked cement of the river-walk. Near the fountain, a young guitarist was playing an array of tunes for a good sized audience. About 200 yards away from her, Buffalo Wild Wings had chosen to set up a bean bag toss and offer prizes. And right in between these two events, a man stood in front of a large easel. He didn’t have a large amplifier and he wasn’t offering fabulous coupons, but a crowd still grew around the man and his easel. Maybe this was because he had friends, and a crowd draws a crowd. Or maybe it was because he was offering something much more filling than a six wing meal.
It was our team’s pleasure to go out to the river-walk in Naperville and share the Gospel with the people there. We stayed for about three hours and worked out a steady routine. Pastor Castaldo would begin evangelizing in some creative way and we would walk up at some point during his presentation and create a crowd. After the presentation was over, we would talk to the people that had come and stayed throughout the Gospel message. This was the routine that we settled into and it was very successful. Many conversations that centered around the Gospel stemmed from this routine.
One of the conversations that really affected me was a long talk I had with a man who was from Texas. He was ready to talk about anything and everything and it was fascinating to hear about his beliefs as a devout Catholic living in Naperville, IL. He told me about his church and why he believed what he did. I did the same and then we talked about the similarities and differences between our beliefs. This man made me excited to witness to people in Italy. One of the things that a participant takes away from an experience like the one we had in Naperville is the urgency of sharing a Gospel that will affect people eternally. Our team is extremely excited to share this Gospel of joy in Italy.
Although Nata left a small dent in a public ‘garden’, I believe that God worked through our team this past Friday night. Over gelato after the evangelism, our team grew closer and we are all extremely excited about our upcoming trip. God has put together an awesome team for this quest and we are excited to see His hand in Italy just like we saw it on the river-walk in Naperville, IL.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


With World Impact Italy 2010 coming up in two and a half weeks our team is working hard at hashing out the final details for the trip. We are preparing mime and music teams as well as learning how to teach ESL so we can do this effectively while we are in Italy. Personally, I have been doing preparation for the music team because I am that team’s leader. We are meeting together to come up with songs that we can possibly perform as park ministry, as well as songs for team devotionals. I have also been more intentional about looking for ways to share my faith with friends that I know. Specifically I have been talking with one friend who isn’t very open to the gospel; however talking with him has helped me to really get to know his life story better. This has shown me ways in which I can show him God’s love in ways I would not have known before. It has also taught me that we need to love people before we share the gospel, because without God’s love flowing through us we will not be nearly effective as we could be for Christ. I am looking forward to continuing to do this in Italy as well.
Whenever a new opportunity presents itself it is exciting, yet there will always be uncertainties. This trip is no exception. However, these uncertainties give us a chance to trust God, and allow him to demonstrate his provision for us. The camp we are helping to put on at the YFC center in Italy is the first of its kind. We do not know how many students are going to show up, and how responsive the students will be to our ESL training and lessons. The lesson plan, schedule, and activities are all subject to change so we are going to need to be flexible. Another item of uncertainty for me is travel. We are transferring flights and airports on the way over, in which we will hope no luggage is lost, as well as hoping that our airline carrier (British Airways) does not go on strike again. We are praying that God will help us to be flexible and effective and that he will work out his plan for the trip, which may not necessarily be ours at the moment.
As our team anticipates the departure to Italy we have so much to look forward too. We are going to experience a whole different culture and meet brothers and sisters in Christ from a different part of the world. To join our voices in worship to the living God with people thousands of miles away from us that we may not see again on this side of heaven is going to be an awesome experience. I am also looking forward to talking with the students who come to the YFC center’s camp. Listening to the youth’s life stories and trying to show them the gospel with be no doubt challenging, but I believe very rewarding. Seeing how Christ is working halfway around the globe will no doubt be an eye-opening experience, and one that I hope with strengthen my faith, and demonstrate to me the power of Christ’s name worldwide.

So far my preparation for our upcoming trip has consisted of a large amount of angel hair pasta with an occasional chef boyardee meal in order to become acclimated to the Italian culture . On a more serious note, as a team our meetings have focused on creating games, music, and mimes in order to help lead an English camp in Bologna. Since coordinating this camp is a new experience for us and for the missionaries we're partnering with, currently the schedule remains relatively vague. As a result, the lessons and activities we prepare will most likely be tweaked and reevaluated once we arrive in Bologna. Additionally, we have each prepared a written testimony. Though we obviously won't read off of English hard copies in the streets of Italy, this project helped me highlight the key aspects of my testimony and will hopefully be helpful as we seek to spread the gospel throughout the trip.


Since I'm regrettably 0% Italian I'm unfortunately not a cultural expert (thankfully we have Pastor Chris). However, my previous World Impact trip to Costa Rica showed me how God is working globally, and I'm extremely excited to experience His love for the Italian people. Though I remain unsure about the language barrier, I'm confident God will provide for our team. Also, please continue to pray for the campers and the organization of the English camp. Though we're not certain about the number of kids attending along with their English proficiency level, I pray that we can assist our missionaries in witnessing to the children who come.

Looking forward to?

I'm extremely excited to work with Ester and the Brucatos. Also, I look forward to interacting with the kids in Bologna (although I should've mentioned the sports aspect of the English camp in the list of activities I'm unsure about ). In addition, I'm eager to see how God will unify and strengthen our team. Ultimately, I'm excited to have the priveledge of experiencing God's work in Italy.

~Emma Cook

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting Ready

Hopefully, as you visit us here you will read more about how God is working. We have less than a month to go before we leave. Do we have all of our plans finalized? No. Are we eager to see how God will use us? Yes. Are we flexible and willing to do whatever our missionaries ask? Yes.

God will honor our willingness and desire to serve Him. How He does it will be our privilege to see. This adventure will be World Impact Italy.

Please, pray with us that we will have all the right kids at the English/Sport camp. Please, pray that we will seek out all the opportunities we can to be PURPOSEFUL in talking about Jesus, our King and our Savior.