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)

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Living and Active

I’ve been back in Italy for just over one month now, and it feels so good to be in Rome, my second home, once again. April was wonderful. Here’s an update on what readjusting and diving back into ministry has looked like:

After smooth and uneventful flights, I arrived safely in Rome and stayed a few days with my team leaders. I am now living in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, an area that has a lot of students because of its proximity to one of the universities in the city. My current housemates include four other girls: two Albanians, an Austrian, and a Brazilian. They’re all such treasures and I’m so blessed to be able to live in fellowship with all of them. We are all a part of Chiesa Evangelica San Lorenzo, which meets just around the corner from our apartment. This is the church that I started attending regularly before I came home in October, but this time around, I wanted to be much more involved in church life, helping the body, and seeing it grow. Right away, I got plugged into a mid-week Bible study [that often meets at our apartment], and last week I began helping with the worship ministry. I’m so excited to start getting to know people and to have a place where I “fit” and know that I’m being helpful.

I am still working on my online Teaching English as a Foreign Language [TEFL] course, and plan to finish before we have an Outreach English Course this summer. In the meantime, I hope to help one of my roommates study for an English exam next month. It’s the last exam she needs to take to finish her studies, but she has been postponing it because she doesn’t feel prepared. Hopefully we will be able to get a lot of practice in and she will be confident enough to take it and pass! She is helping me with my Italian too. I am also going to start getting Italian tutoring from one of the girls from church. She is super sweet and I’m really looking forward to beginning our lessons.

Spiritually, this month has been tremendously refreshing. About a week after I arrived, we had a 3-day team retreat in the mountains in Umbria. It was gorgeous, and so wonderful to spend time all together after being apart from my team for almost 6 months. I’ve been catching up on my Bible reading plan that I started at the beginning of the year. I was nearly a month behind, so I started reading multiple passages everyday. Right now, I’m almost finished reading through the book of John, and every day I fall more and more in love with Jesus. How beautiful it is that the Word is living and active and transformative, and that God reveals new truths through it with each reading. Yesterday, I also began reading Augustine’s Confessions. In reading his words, I am gripped by the magnitude of who God is. I am so small, and yet, God knows me, and I too can know Him.

One of my roommates, who just accepted Christ as her Savior last November, told me that she has tried to read John several times, but hasn’t been able to make it through. I told her I would love to read it with her, and I can’t wait to start it over again and to see what the Spirit will reveal through the Word this time.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

-John 14:27

Team Retreat

Team Retreat!

Sunset SG

Sunset over San Giovanni