Italy Update #3

Buon giorno! Hard to believe it is Thursday morning already! The week is flying by.

It certainly was a wet one yesterday to start the day. Thankfully we have been inside all week. The last four years we have been in Imola it has been in the mid-90s. This year it has been in the 60s and 70s. Quite a change! It has kept the gym much cooler during the day. Instead of a sauna, the gym has felt more like a gym all day. It has really helped with the energy level of the coaches and kids.

The kids continue to work really hard every day. They pay special attention to the spiritual components as they get quizzed throughout the day. We start out the day with a Sportsmanship Thought and prayer, play some basketball, stop for a testimony from a coach about how a personal relationship with Christ has impacted his life, more basketball, a challenge from Scripture, more basketball, lunch, non-basketball stations where coaches can ask each other questions about life, basketball, and any spiritual, more basketball, a testimony from a coach, and then some more basketball.

It has been encouraging to see the kids write down questions at night and bring them the next day for these non-basketball stations that we do during lunch. They take it quite seriously and have asked some great questions. Many have also been quite open about their thoughts on spiritual matters.

Italians love their food (and for good reason!). We love to walk around during lunch and see what kids have brought to eat. Their Moms pack them enough food for about 3 days, but the kids put it away. Not to mention the 3-4 course meals they bring along. For some odd reason, they also seem to be hungry after they have polished off what they brought. The coaches continue to eat very well. This is one of the few trips that Push The Rock takes where coaches do not lose some kind of weight with all of the basketball being played.

Our host missionaries have taken great care of us this week! We are staying at a local seminary in town and living in the same hall with college students. They are very friendly and have put up with our early morning goings and late night comings. We have had an opportunity to interact with them on different levels. Looking forward to more dialogue these last two days before we leave.

We would appreciate your prayers for today (Thurday). We are sharing the Gospel at camp today. The kids have heard and seen it all week, but they will be getting a very explicit explanation of what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ. Please be praying for one of the missionaries who is the church planter here. He will be sharing this morning at camp. Then at lunch time we will break up into smaller groups and follow up with the kids, asking them questions, and challenging them in what they have heard. We are looking forward to seeing how the kids respond today as we have seen the Lord soften their hearts all week.

Tonight we will be hanging out with the three families who have hosted us. Italy plays Spain in soccer, so that will be on the agenda tonight. It is our last night of just hanging out together before we head north to Mestre for week #2. Last night we hung out for dinner and then went downtown for a few hours. Every Wednesday night in the summer they have an open market of sorts where people come and sell their goodies. Many streets throughout the center of town are lined with vendors. They also love their demonstrations here. We watched a karate demonstration and part of a kids’ puppet show. The downtown was absolutely packed, which made it harder to get our first taste of gelato. But we did, and we most definitely lived to tell about it! 🙂

It was another late night last night but I would imagine the team slept well. Right now it is about quality over quantity. Hopefully we can get a little quantity sleep over the weekend as we head to Florence and then on to Mestre (Venice region).

Before that happens there is much to be done! Thanks so much for praying for us! We need it and and cherish it. Be blessed to be a blessing today!

Off to breakfast  and camp day #4 …

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