November 17 Prayer Requests

As you may or may not know, 17 is one of my favorite numbers because my birthday is on the 17th of April. That’s why I chose the 17th of each month to be my prayer update day. BUT yesterday, November 16th, is a very special day as well. It’s my REbirthday! I turned 19 years old in Jesus yesterday, and I’m so grateful for the growth that He continues to develop in me year after year.

Here are some ways you can be praying this month:

  • This weekend our team is taking a retreat near Lake Trasimeno in Umbria! We’ll be discussing team dynamics, our individual strengths, and how we work together. Please be praying that this will be a fruitful time of getting to know one another better, hearing from the Lord, and resting in the beauty of His creation.
  • My roommate/teammate Esther and I have joyfully begun to use our apartment for hospitality and ministry and we are so excited to see how God is going to use this. We’ve already hosted 2 nights of prayer and worship and we’re planning to organize our schedule to do them regularly, probably every other week. Pray that this initiative will be all about glorifying Christ, being sensitive to the Spirit, and hearing from the Father. We’re expectant that the Lord is going to do something big in and through His Body here in Rome!
  • I feel very strongly about the need for discipleship for new believers, so I am working on finding a few girls from church to meet with regularly for prayer, study, and growth together. Please pray that the Lord will direct me to the right relationships and that faith and obedience will flourish.

Thank you for praying with me last month! Here are some updates on past requests:

  • The Radiant Treasures Alliance (ATR) conference for anti-trafficking on October 29th in Bologna went beautifully! It was a wonderful day of collaboration and celebration of what the Lord has done and is continuing to do. Please continue to pray for the growth of our ministry Slavery No More, for more opportunities through new partnership, and for eyes to be opened and hearts to be softened.
  • Our church event with the local Muslim community went well. It was an interesting debate and presentation of ideas that gave a good occasion for discussions. Please pray for more opportunities for events like this in the future.
  • Esther has been doing great with her transition, is fully embracing language, and has jumped into all kinds of ministries and responsibilities. We’re really grateful for her! And our newest teammate, Josh, just arrived last week! He’s dealt with hardly any culture stress (praise the Lord!) and is already getting plugged in to life in Rome. Please pray that he’s able to find a more permanent place to live with good roommates soon! And keep praying for Lauren K as she continues support raising. We’re ready for her to get here too!
whatsapp-image-2016-11-17-at-5-06-06-pm

Josh, Esther, Lauren D, and Heather

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Peace in the Whirlwind

Deep breaths. *inhale* And let it out. *exhale* Ok, let’s begin.

Can I tell you how crazy the past few weeks have felt? If you know me very well at all, you will know that my Myers-Briggs type might as well be written with only one capital letter: inFp. I identify pretty clearly with most of the descriptors of this type, but more than any other aspect, I am absolutely a Feeler. I think with my heart, I am concerned about the way that my decisions will affect other people, I deeply desire harmony, and I process a LOT of emotions.

A few weeks ago, my team leaders told me that they wanted me to shoot to arrive in Rome at the beginning of September. Whoa! I am so excited to be getting back to life and ministry and all my dear people in Italy, but this was a sooner departure date than I had anticipated, and not going to lie, I freaked out a little bit.

I started mentally processing what transition back to Rome will look like, leaving my family and the dear community that I have formed here in my passport country. The States are home, but Rome is home too. Movement is such a strange feeling now, because I’m always going to people I love and leaving people I love at the same time.

We started getting things in order for this planned departure date of September 8th, and I started to calm down. By the first week of August, I had all my support necessary to fund my budget for two more years of serving on the Rome City Team! Cue all of the emotions about being fully funded! Then last Wednesday, I bought my plane ticket! Celebrations!

Then just this weekend, I was finally getting everything in hand to apply for my visa. But Sunday night when I went to set an appointment at the consulate, the whole month of August was red – NO APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE for the the rest of the month. I immediately prayed, “Lord, please present a solution. I don’t even know what to ask You to do, but please work something out!”

So here’s where we stand right now: Either the consulate will work with me somehow, I will be able to apply for my visa SOON, and I will continue with my plans to fly out on September 8th, OR I will go for a visa appointment on September 6th, I will pay the fee to change my flight, and I will depart toward the end of September. There is not a lot that I can do about it either way, and worrying is not going to help in the slightest.

So I am going to trust in the Lord’s timing. His peace that passes understanding has been SO comforting the last couple of days. Even when it feels like my emotions are riding a roller coaster, He will continue to be faithful.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
– Psalm 91:1-4 (ESV)

25/25/25

I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. For a good chunk of February I was actually pretty discouraged with the (lack of) progress I have been making in getting back to Rome. Through lots of prayer and talks with friends and colleagues, I’m feeling much more encouraged and I’m leaning on the Lord’s timing and plan. I’ve also had lots of new ideas, and with this new month, I want to mix things up a bit…

25/25/25

Introducing the 25/25/25 campaign! In the first 25 days of March, I want to try to get 25 new partners to come on board my ministry support team for at least $25 per month. Right now, my budget is almost 63% funded. If we are able to get these 25 new partnership commitments, my budget will be over 75% funded and I will be that much closer to returning to the Rome City Team. (It’s also my last full month of being 25, so it feels like an apt farewell to a pretty great year!)

Would you consider being one of the 25? Here’s how you can sign up:

ONLINE
Go to the giving form: https://www.efca.org/give
Click “Give Now”
In the amount box, type “25.00”
In the Designation – Other box, type “Creamer #1488”
In the comments box, type “Process this gift monthly”
Fill out the Billing and Payment information
Click “Donate Now”

If you’re interested in giving by check or by automatic account withdrawal, shoot me a message and I’ll get you the info.

Whether or not you’re able to give, will you help spread the word? As we say in Italian, “Passaparola!”

A Heart of Gratitude

How are you growing? Has anyone asked you that lately? What has God been teaching you?

I have been learning to walk through this season that God has me in with a heart of gratitude, not with a bubbling-over of frothy giddiness, but a steady, restful peace in the assurance that He has me right where He wants me. It took a while to get here. There has been not a small amount of bitterness in my heart toward the things that the Lord has tried to teach me in the past. Sometimes I didn’t even notice this negativity creeping into my thinking, but looking back I can see it crystal clear. I think the simple answer to this shift in attitude is due to a development in maturity that comes with time. Though the more complex reason comes through a surrender of my own desires and the working of the Holy Spirit on my heart.

I have been learning to fight the negativity. I have been learning not to react in irritation when people do or say hurtful things out of ignorance and to realize that their intention was probably to help, not harm. I have been learning not to be so quick to become angry. I have been learning not to judge and condemn my fellow Christians when they do and say things that do not convey the truth, grace, and love of Jesus Christ. I have been learning to speak gently, with wisdom. This isn’t easy and I fail in some aspect everyday. But it is a process of slow but steady progress. I have been learning that self-control (being a gift of the Spirit) comes through relying on the power of the Spirit. It sounds counterintuitive since self is part of the word. However, it is somehow freeing to come to the realization that I am not in control of anything external to myself, and I can’t even bend my will toward the will of God without the aid of the Holy Spirit. It is only by His work in my life that my desires and passions can begin to reflect His. I long to live not with self-righteousness, but in humility with grace and love toward others so that my words and actions might point them toward the One who has given me newness of life.

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
-Proverbs 16:32 (ESV)

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
-Colossians 4:4-6 (ESV)

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
-Proverbs 15:1-2 (ESV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
-Galatians 5:22-26 (ESV)

Celebrating Freedom

Freedom is a beautiful thing. This month, we are celebrating freedom and also raising awareness of those who don’t have it. October 18th is the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day. Our anti-trafficking initiative Schiavitù Mai Più [Slavery No More], along with partners across Europe and all over the world, is campaigning for freedom with the project “18 Days of Freedom.” During these Freedom Days, we are posting pictures with captions like this: “This is what freedom means to me. What does it mean to you?” We are sharing these pictures along with the hashtag #18DaysOfFreedom in order to promote freedom and justice and to create awareness of those who are still being exploited. It has been so encouraging to see the involvement and movement grow from day to day.

The campaign will culminate on the 18th with freedom events in the cities of participating organizations. Here in Rome, we will be having some dramatic performances in piazzas and a showing of the film Nefarious at a church in the city center. We are hopeful that this initiative will not only put the issue of trafficking on peoples’ radar, but stir them to take action in the fight against these injustices. One of our constant prayers is for the Lord to bring more locals into involvement in justice ministry.

Here are some of the images that we have shared so far:

If you’d like to join us for the remainder of the project, add your photos to the #18DaysOfFreedom hashtag and share with your friends!

Summer in Review

It seems almost impossible that we’ve already wrapped up summer activities. With all the goings on, the time flew by. Here are some highlights:

Outreach English Course

Outreach English Course 2014

Our OEC was such a joy. We had a wonderful team from Ohio come to help us teach our classes. They served willingly and were a great help to our team. Although our class sizes ended up being smaller than we had hoped, our students participated with enthusiasm and showed progress through the classes. There was a good mix of ages and cultural backgrounds which seemed to encourage discussion and learning. Hearts were opened and we could see the Lord was working as attitudes toward reading the Bible as a method of studying English softened over the course of the week. Several people even took home Bibles that we offered at the end of the week, and several indicated interest in continuing to study English this fall when classes start up at a church in the city center. All in all, it was a success!

 

YWAM

YWAM Team at Work

YWAM Art

We were blessed and encouraged to work with an amazing group of young people from the Youth With A Mission team in Leeds, England. This team faithfully prayed for our ministry here in Rome, interceded for the Treasures while on a prayer walk in the area of the city that we go to with our Angel Squad for our ministry Schiavitù Mai Più [Slavery No More], and prayed over different areas of the city before deciding where to set up some art installations. They worked hard, shared their creativity, and created opportunities to interact with locals in the piazza where they engineered their artwork. Their time with us gave us ideas for future projects and opened discussion for our team about making use of more evangelistic tools.

 

Personally, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Austria and stay with my friend Wally [an Austrian girl who was my roommate until she moved back to Vienna in mid-July]. And a few weeks ago, my parents came to visit for 10 days. I was so glad that it worked out for them to make the trip this year and that I got to show them some of this country that I love so much.

Summer in the City

Well, it is summer in Roma yet again, and as it goes, the warm weather brings visiting teams, special event opportunities, and a few extra trips to the gelateria. So grab some sunscreen and let’s take a look at what the heat has in store for the Rome City Team for the next couple months:

-OEC-
This week we have our Summer Outreach English Course. It’s a week long intensive course that we are putting on Monday through Friday [July 7-11]. We have a team from the States that arrived yesterday [July 5th] that has come to help us teach these classes. We are praying that the Lord will bring open hearts and open minds. The classes will be taking place in the Salvation Army facility that is in my neighborhood and would be an excellent opportunity to begin to develop relationships with people in the community. We still don’t know how many will be in attendance, but we will be thrilled even with a handful of new acquaintances.

-YWAM Team & Vision Trip-
We will be working with a visiting Youth With A Mission team from Leeds, England the last two weeks of July. We are prayfully considering what kind of activities to include in the schedule for their time with us. During the time they are here with us, we will also have a family visiting us for a vision trip. This means that they have been seriously considering joining the Rome City Team and now want to visit our team to get a feel for how ministry and life function in Rome. We hope that this time will be fruitful and insightful and that the Lord will give clarity to help their decision.

-Freedom Days Planning-
With temperatures climbing higher and higher, October seems like an eternity away, however we are already beginning to plan a schedule and events in advance. October 18th is the European Anti-Trafficking Day, and leading up to the 18th, our team will be participating in an “18 Days of Freedom” awareness-raising campaign. We are hoping that this campaign will shed light on the issue of human trafficking and will stir people’s hearts to join the fight to end modern day slavery.

-Personally-
In June, I was thrilled to have one my dearest friends come to visit for a couple of weeks. Now, my parents are planning a trip for September. Living overseas has its upsides and I’m thrilled to be working here as the Lord has called me to for this time, but being away from family and friends can be difficult at times. It makes it all the sweeter when loved ones are able to make the trip and come for a visit. I am tremendously grateful for these blessings.

Come and make my heart Your home
Come and be everything I am and all I know
Search me through and through
‘Til my heart becomes a home for You

-My Heart, Your Home//Watermark