Wow, what an interesting past few days! In our last report we were camped at Bobbio Pellice overlooking the town and spent our days there evangelizing in the town square. Through our “GG” classes (Grubby to Grace for girls and God’s Gentlemen for the boys) the team members are opening up in huge ways, not only to the leaders but to the rest of the team! It’s so encouraging to see them helping each other and giving each other advice on situations and experiences they’ve been through or are going through. Our team was able to speak with the campground owners and we had a great opportunity to leave a Christian witness; the men who ran the camp were so hospitable and helpful; we interacted with them a lot, and our last night there, Caleb Powell and Jonathan Chei, with the help of our translator, Josh from Christ is the Answer, were able to talk and share with them.
The plan was originally to embark on a three day, two night hike from the campground in Bobbio Pellice to the one we’re in now beginning early Saturday morning; hiking over another mountain pass, but the theme of our summer thus far has been a lesson in trusting God’s plans, and this last leg of the journey was no different! Despite our hiking plans falling through, we were able to get bus transportation to our current camp. God knows better than we do where we need to be and when, so we all have faith that there is without a shadow of a doubt a reason that we arrived here a few nights early.
Yesterday, (Sunday) we headed into the town of Fenestrelle, just a five minute walk up the street, and had the opportunity to do a presentation right in the middle of the town. There was a huge street market going on and the whole town was milling with people; we had a lot of people gather and talk with us and watch our presentation. Andrew Simonton, Katie Kim, Karly Anderson, Erica Rineard, Jasmin Booker, Veronica Bosworth, and Ashleigh Pies shared their testimonies with the crowd and after our presentation the team had an opportunity to walk around the open market. They all had a very good time, fresh baked pasteries and gelato never fill our team up!
Last night, Ashleigh Pies and Veronica Bosworth shared their testimony with the team. Our group devos are always a great time of worship for our team. They give us a chance not only to wind down and reflect on the day, praising God for everything He provided, but it’s great to just be able to worship the Lord together in song and in fellowship. This morning, one of the elderly ladies who lives in the campground we are staying in brought us a bag of cookies and said, with tears in her eyes, that we had encouraged her so much and she enjoyed our singing; surely we were angels sent from God. He is working in the hearts of the people here everyday!
Today we had the opportunity to visit Fort Fenestrelle. It’s the largest fort in Europe, second largest in the world next to the Great Wall of China! We “hiked’ up 3,996 stairs, both inside the fort and on top, and when we stopped toward the top for lunch, Dave Powell had a really good conversation with our tour guide about Christianity and what it means; it was awesome that God provided the opportunity for our team to share and touch someone’s heart again, even without a presentation.
Everything is going smoothly and we’re all having a great time. We’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather throughout the duration of our stay here in Italy. It rained one night at Pontechianale and a little overnight Saturday night and Sunday morning, but other than that, the sky has been blue and the sun has been shining and it’s given us an awesome view of God’s gorgeous creation.
Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) we will be on a bus by 8:00AM headed for Torino. There, our team will gather all of the belongings that were left in the Powell’s apartment and get everything packed up and ready to come home! It is difficult to believe that our time together in Italy is over in only a few short days! From Torino on Wednesday morning, we’ll head to Venice to begin our sightseeing and souvenir shopping! The team is so excited to get to see more of the country and have an opportunity to experience more of the Italian culture and, of course, the food!
Johnna Herd -
“This trip to Italy has been an amazing experience. The past couple of days we have been staying at campgrounds and we have been evangelizing in villages while staying at the campgrounds. Even though a lot of my teammates and myself are homesick, we’re all getting through each day with smiles on our faces. I know that every step I take is another step closer to home and debrief, but God is teaching me to be patient and to live each day like it’s my last.”
Katie Kim -
“Greetings from Italy! It’s so gorgeous here and I’ve had so much fun hiking and evangelizing. It’s a bummer that there aren’t any more days of hiking but I’m looking forward to more evangelizing. Ruth and Josh from Christ is the Answer have not only been amazing translators, they have been great friends. The more I get closer to them, the more I don’t want to leave them. My walk with God has grown so much and it’s unbelievable. TMI is a life-changing experience and I’ll never regret coming to Italy.”