Italy update … 7.10.15

Wow! This week just flew by. Seems like we were just arriving on the train on Sunday afternoon and here we are Friday night … camp is over, the closing program went well, we had our final debriefing, and it is 2 am as we get ready for bed.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a really good day. The weather has been nothing short of amazing the last two days. The gym has enjoyed the breeze throughout the day and the kids (and coaches) are not as worn out as they were Monday through Wednesday. The testimonies every day from the coaches have gone really well. Thursday we had some of the church members share their testimonies, which went extremely well. The testimonies have gone over very very well and are something the kids really appreciate and follow up on with each individual. After camp we played a game against a team with many of the same players from Tuesday night. It was cool to spend that time with some of the same guys after we have developed some relationships with them over the past few years. A few of them were even campers at Push The Rock in previous years.

What is really cool is that we have had several of the young people who have been helping at camp express a desire to read the Bible with someone from the church. Praise the Lord! We continue to pray that each camper and coach would be challenged in their walk with the Lord, whether it means they need to start a relationship with Him or just need to be encouraged in it. God continues to be at work!

Friday is always tough and very bittersweet … tired from the long week, happy to have a weekend of rest, sad to say Good-bye. And today went by rather quickly. We were trying to fit every last-minute thing in before camp ended at 5 pm. We finished out the rest of the testimonies, put the kids through skill stations, and played games with them. We had a good debriefing after camp with all of the staff and helpers. The “junior coaches” have really done a great job this week. The “junior coaches” are those kids who have graduated out of camp and still want to volunteer. But the stipulation is that they need to be a part of the program leading up to camp that runs September through June. It involves regular meetings, building into each other’s lives, and Bible study. We believe this could be a very instrumental part of church growth here in Mestre.

After camp we held the closing program in the gym. Of the 77 campers we had, only 6 were missing. Everyone else was there with at least one person from their family. We celebrated the week by watching a video, giving out certificates and Bibles, giving out sportsmanship awards, and recognizing helpers. It was a full house. Then we enjoyed some pizza … 182 pizzas were ordered for the night. Of course, in Italy everyone gets a whole pie to eat by themselves. Lots and lots of pizza and watermelon. Had some fantastic interactions with kids and their families. They all want to know when we will have at least two camps because they all loved it and more kids want to come. We will see how the Lord leads there. In the meantime, we reflect on a fabulous week and look forward to seeing and hearing how the Lord continues to work here in Mestre.

Off to Venice in the morning to finish out our trip before flying home on Sunday. Thanks again for praying!

Buona notte!

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