Italy Update #9

Bona sera!

Bittersweet … that pretty much sums up today. We just got home from a great celebration at church of our week of camp with the kids and their families! This is the first time that the closing program was held at church, which is a pretty big deal here. Getting people to come to an evangelical church for anything is quite an “accomplishment.” Of the 25 families we were only missing 3, which we knew about ahead of time. It was the Closing Program, so we gave out awards and shared about the impact the week had on the kids and the coaches. We had some snacks and then just took lots and lots of pictures with kids and their families. It was a great night!

Time to back up. Thursday (yesterday) was a good day. Another full day of camp and loving on kids with His love. It was a full day and it was another hot one, but everyone did very well. The kids are very attentive to the spiritual parts of camp (i.e. testimonies, sportsmanship thoughts, Scripture challenges, etc. They pay close attention to what is being shared and seem to be really processing what they are hearing. We did the non-basketball stations over lunch again today and kids just ask some really good questions. They had obviously been thinking quite a bit about their own situation because they asked a lot of probing questions … makes for some very good conversation!

We played a game again across town last night. We ended up playing many of the same guys from Tuesday night. It would have been fun to play some new guys, but this gives us a chance to continue building those relationships. We have seen these young men multiple times now and had a chance to play and interact with them. We made an ice cream run (which has become a nightly ritual) and then had dinner and Team Time.

Last night was a short night for everyone. The wear and tear of the week is catching up to everyone. But the Lord provided the strength and energy we needed for a fantastic day at camp today. Fridays are always great because we play more games than we normally do Monday through Thursday. Kids seem to respond pretty well to that as well:). It was supposed to rain in the middle of the day but the dark clouds just raced across the sky and passed us by. However, it was also the first (and last) day for the pool. Ironically, it was the “coolest” day of the week. Nonetheless, bath time was great for the kids and coaches was great. We had another great day of life and spiritual questions over lunch. Kids are searching!

Camp ended around 5:30, just in time for us to race home, shower up, and head to church for the Closing Ceremony. Praise the Lord for a great day! We pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of these kids and their parents as they have heard the Gospel many times throughout the week and in many ways. We will be praying for the church as it will follow up with these kids and their families.

We are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and then heading into Venice to a Murano glass factory. Should be fun.

To God be the Glory!

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