Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Hello from Illinois. It’s hard to believe that we’re all back here in the states and our Italy adventure is over. Our group had a blast, and I personally would love to go back! The ESL/Sports camp was amazing and we were able to plant many seeds. In the morning we would play games, followed by lunch, English/Bible, and more games. I was fortunate to be the small group leader for the girls during English and bible. During bible, we had many great and deep conversations. For example, on the last day we talked about the fact that Jesus will raise the dead. One of the campers then asked about Purgatory and how He could possibly ‘raise’ the dead. With help from Sue, we were able to explain that there is no Purgatory and you didn’t get to Heaven with works.
Another cool thing that happened was that our theme for one of the days at camp was ‘law breaking’. The bible story was about Jesus healing on the Sabbath and the Pharisees calling him a rule breaker. The original theme sentence was controversial; Jesus doesn’t like laws, so we came up with a new one. The new theme sentence became Jesus loves relationships more than religious laws. That night while we were talking to a British couple who were staying at the hostile with us, Allie was able to share this same sentence and idea with Georgina. This also got some of us thinking as we realized a better way to think about and describe Christianity to those we met on the street. This better way is to say that Christianity really isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship with Jesus.
On the train ride back from Florence to Bologna on Saturday, Colin and I (Kathleen) were able to share about our trip and the Gospel with a teacher from Germany, who was sitting with us in our cabin. This teacher was on the train with 12 students, along with another colleague. He asked us why we were in Italy and when he told him he was shocked. He said that he had never heard of any churches sending people out to do [short term missions trips] before, especially not in Germany. This opened up the opportunity to share about Christianity and the differences between Catholicism, although we had to be careful of what we said, as we found out his colleague was the religion teacher at the school. This conversation lasted for a solid 45 minutes, and went really deep, but unfortunately we were cut off as we came to our stop.
On Sunday, we went to Nouva Vita (The Brucados’ church), toured Bologna, and watched the world cup at Nouva Vita with the church congregation. It was fun to see how the church was able to do things like this together and that they were basically a family.
Monday, we painted a government building and it was fascinating to see the majority of the campers come out and help us. It was encouraging to see that those walking by were interested in why we were painting the building and would ask us. It was also encouraging to have people from the ‘teen news on the internet’ come film us and help share the Gospel and spread the word about Youth For Christ, even if they didn’t know it.
Tuesday and Wednesday were fun as we toured Rome. The cathedrals were amazing, because they were so ornate, but some of us couldn’t help but feel sorry, and confused about all the decorations. For example, an interesting thought that came to some of us was whether or not the paintings and elegance was for God’s glory, or man’s glory. We were able to hit all of the hot spots in a day and a half and it felt great to kick back after a week and a half of hard work.
This trip was a great reminder of the wonders of God’s creation around the world, and that His Kingdom exists halfway across the world and beyond.