Italy Update #2 – 06.26.14

Bongiorno!

This week could be bottom-lined as full of energy and excitement. We’ve been exposed to great food, built new relationships, rekindled some old ones, and are excited for a day filled with sports and relays tomorrow at our last day of camp.

We cannot say enough about the hospitality of our hosts, Josh & Sara Whitman and Andy & Jaycie Johnson. We are blessed to spend each day with them and grow to appreciate them more each and every day. They’ve been patient with our limited understanding of Italian culture, our inability to navigate walking directions, and even make special trips for needs that we’ve had throughout the week.

The campers, while growing a bit more tired throughout the week, continue to bring lots of energy to the camp and challenge us at coaches to keep our energy level high. They’ve worked hard each day and continued to improve their basketball games while been receptive to our approach to the game. While there is much work to be done here. It’s good to know that the Whitman’s and the Johnson’s will be here to further the connection with the community.

Each day our appreciation for italian food increases (along with our love for the campers (obviously!). We’re a pasta by lunch, typical italian dinner by night kind of crew and many of us are enjoying the opportunity to show case some of our basketball abilities in an effort to gain influence with the kids.

Monday night we went to the Whitman’s and had a traditional Italian meal. We were visited by a local who’s been attending the church here in Imola and surprised us with lots of gelato. Can’t go wrong with day one of camp and getting surprised with gelato. It was also good to enjoy hearing from a teammate on their story of how they found and began following Jesus.

Tuesday night we ate dinner at the Johnson’s and enjoyed an americanized watching of Italy in the world cup. Unfortunately, painted faces and cheers didn’t lead to an Italian victory and their world cup hopes ended in disappointment. We were able to sing a few songs together that night and enjoyed getting to hear another teammates’ testimony of redemption found in Jesus.

Wednesday night we had a basketball game and enjoyed the opportunity to walk through the center square together as we experienced a little bit of traditional Wednesday night culture of summers in Imola. We crushed some gelato and it was a beautiful night filled with laughter as we pressed through our “hump day” of the week. The basketball game was an opportunity to connect with a few local players as well. PTR faired well, but more importantly we displayed the love of Christ in each interaction and gave the local church another opportunity to connect with locals. There was a good turnout and we’re hopeful the experience continues to help see people come to find and follow Jesus.

Thursday night kicked off with a watching of the USA/Germany match and we had the impromptu opportunity to worship with and share testimonies with Andy & Jaycie’s neighbors. One of our coaches’ story clearly impacted their neighbors as they heard of transformation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We’re excited about how the Johnson’s can continue to share the love of Jesus with them in their daily lives and hope to see them come to know the Lord!

Here are a few of the photos from our past couple of days!

Onward…

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