Italy update #5

Buon giorno! Hard to believe the first week is already over. Seems like it just flew by. It is usually a really good sign when it flies by so quickly! That would certainly be true for this week. This was our fourth summer here in Imola and it seems to get better each time. Relationships go deeper, more doors open, new people get involved, and it seems as though the hearts soften even a little bit more.

Friday’s camp is always bitter sweet because we get a chance to enjoy camp one more day and celebrate the week together, but have to say good-bye. Yesterday was a bit cold so we went inside for most of our lunch time. This ended up being a great move because it allowed us to put on a dunk contest. It might be noted that we lowered the hoops so that all of the coaches and most of the older campers could join in. But nonetheless, everyone was really into it. We eventually lowered the hoop down so that virtually everyone could dunk, and you know that was a huge hit! We put the kids through drills but also spent time playing fun games to finish on a high note. The parents showed up at the end of camp as we recapped the spiritual components of the week. I would imagine some of those thoughts and challenges get home, but probably not all of them, so it is great to have the parents there so they can hear what the kids have heard all week.

Friday night is always such a great time. Last night we went to a local pizza place and close to 60 people crowded into the restaurant for 3 hours. We interspersed ourselves throughout the kids and parents and just enjoyed one last night of fellowship before heading out. It was encouraging to hear the parents share about how their kids enjoyed the week. I always find it interesting (and very encouraging) that parents rarely hesitate to bring up the spiritual component of camp. They always appreciate the sportsmanship and character lessons we give at camp. There are regular Bible stories that we share, many of which they have never heard before, that certainly challenge their thinking.

The coaches did a great job this week of investing in the kids. They were long days. We were out the door at 8:15 am and did not return home each night until at least 10:30 pm, at which point we had some team things to do together. So sleep was at a premium, which is why everyone is still sleeping as we enjoy a later morning before heading to Florence for the day. We will be there all afternoon and part of the evening before heading up to Mestre via train.

So hard to believe week #2 is about to begin. It is bittersweet to be leaving Imola, but we believe we left a strong aroma of Christ behind and are confident that the local church will continue to invest in these families long after we leave. And we are excited for our time in Mestre with those kids and families for the week.

Thanks for praying for this first week. Please continue to pray that what has been shared will take root in the lives of each of these young men and women. It is our desire that they would come to know their Creator in a very real and personal way!

Enjoy your weekend!

Grazie prego!

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