Monthly Archives: April 2014

Leaving Milan – Coming home

First –  leaving Milan  flt 199  arrive in New York  1:35pm EST

Leaving NY  flt 291  5:15p   arrive in Austin  8:20p CST    See you there –  Your student will be waiting for you to pick them up!

Wed night  – Milano!

We left Forterocca this morning amidst sweet goodbyes and invitations to return! We have kids camps… your kids are such hard workers… We loved having you… come back!

We got to Milano and it was time for a quick tour of the castle and the Duomo (largest church in the city) then we broke off into teams to go exploring and shopping… all within a few streets radius from the church and 10 minutes from meeting place!

A few fun games of hacky sack waiting for the whole team to arrive, sitting in the grass right outside the castle… picturesque!

We checked in to our hotel (even though they say they have internet and Wi-fi… not so much!) I’m writing now on Wed night hoping to be able to push send when I get to the airport!

Dinner was at a Brazilian restaurant – oh my word! Amazing! It was all you can eat and believe me we did!

We went for one last serving of Italian Gelato and headed back to the hotel lobby for debriefing.

It’s been an amazing week. Our evening English class to help encourage students that are learning to speak English fell through. But your students haven’t lacked for some amazing times of incredible followers of Christ pouring into them. Sometimes our well laid plans just aren’t the ones God has in mind.

I had each student tell what they thought they were good at – what they thought they were going to pursue as a career and then for the class to encourage the gifts they saw in them.

Informative and encouraging!

Giorgio closed the debrief with a challenge! He too had plans for his life but they didn’t happen. You start from one point and then life brings you in to a different plan…it’s better and makes you understand it’s really in God’s hands.

He shared that he loved the story of Isaiah! He was a man that had certain beliefs and strong convictions. Isaiah started looking at his society and questioning – what if I become a main prophet, things will change… he goes to the synagogue and the last thing he expects is to meet God. Face to face.

He was just a man but still he was shocked! His life changes in a way that he says, “God, tell me what to do” After that God says I’m going to give you something to do… the worst career! I’m going to send you to a people that will stone you and reject you! A difficult and unrewarded career. But will you go for me? “Yes… here I am, send me”

Then think about the Waldesians – sending their strongest mentally, spiritually and physically sons to train to go out in to the world to most likely be martyrs for the faith.

Christian Education is not your faith. It if the background to your faith. It’s what bring you to your life plan that will eventually change. Your aspirations will be used by God. He will take them, flip them around and then put them in the right place. Our expectations are limited and small. I (Giorgio) studied music as a kid wanting to be a famous singer. Now, what I do reaches more people.   Really put your life in His hands and he can do amazing things. Nothing is too difficult. He is looking for followers…not planners. Lay down your expectations and meet him face to face.

There are many examples of people that did not just START well, but FINISHED well. Don’t be afraid to fail. God is grace! He will help you.

If you refuse to follow God and allow him to take the lead… you will go to the depths of despair. If you think now is the time to just live for myself – you will burn out.

I pray that each one of you will follow your dream as you protect your heart, stand for purity, and trust God for what’s next in your life.

 

We also prayed for Giorgio and his church and worship ministry! We pray that God will provided the money he needs to do ministry!

Evangelism in Italy is very difficult. And resources to do the ministry are almost nonexistent!

Many people deposited into your students.. Please pray for them as all Evangelical Ministries are struggling in Italy!

Eliazo and Paula of Forterocca and OM (Operation Mobilization)

Robert and Laura

Giorgio and his parents

Forterocca/ OM ministries

Matt

Believers that have gone before us and the testimonies of their faith under persecution

 

 

 

 

 

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Hiking to the Cave of the Persecuted +more

Hi all,

I didn’t post last night as I felt it was more important spending the time in my cabin with the girls at that time…. so here I am catching up!

Yesterday was an amazing day for the team.

They hiked to one of the very first known Bible Colleges in the world!  The Waldesians felt it was so important to give God their very best so each winter they would send their ‘best’ son – strongest, in mind, body, and spirit, every winter for 4 years.  Then those sons would be sent out into the world to evangelize knowing they would probably give their lives for Christ.

Then they hiked to the cave where the believers would have to hide – when the Pope’s army came to take their lives

They saw the cliff where the soldiers threw the people off the cliffs when they would not deny Christ

Parents stood there watching their children be murdered, yet they knew there was a greater joy waiting for them after death so they still did not recant their faith.

This really impacted the team.

  • Would I be willing to do something like that?
  • What love and focus the believers had knowing that was the greater treasure – the kingdom of God
  • What would it be like to be hunted down for my faith.
  • What would that be like to relocate, give up everything I was accustomed to because of my faith
  • The struggle it was to crawl through the small opening – just to check it out –  yet there was no choice for the believers.. it was life or death for them… and for some… they still found them and burned them out in the cave!

 

Would I have enough faith to stand firm in the face of persecution?   It’s a hard question when we honestly take a look at our own lives and realize –

We don’t live our lives in the way that “says” … I would give it all up for the sake of Christ!

Material things are way more important than spending quality time with my Savior –

okay… we’re loading up the van –  I’ll continue on the next blog

Thanks for your prayers –  pray that everything these seniors have experiences will make a life long impression on their hearts towards giving and living it all for the Kingdom of God!

 

mrs g

 

 

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Monday in Italy! Torino – Missionaires – A Challenge!

Torino – Missionaries – Challenge!

We switched our days and today the team went to Torino and walked their legs off! Experiencing the beauty of the architecture and being amazed at how old so many buildings and statues were! “Older than America” one said.   Well… older than colonized America! It was a fun day!

This evening we had Robert and Laura who are missionaries from the U.S. to Italy come and share their stories. He introduced his wife by reading Proverbs 31. It was so amazing and it truly impacted the students when he did that. Later when Laura shared her testimony she spoke about the fact when he did that it amazes her because she knows where she came from and is grateful for the power of God to change her life and now to give her life a fulfilling purpose.

They have been here 1 year and 8 months. Their testimonies are stories of God’s great redeeming love! Robert told us he was so excited that young people their age would care to come to Italy to experience a different culture and learn about how Christianity is doing in Italy! He told the students that it could change them. Robert and Laura are a part of community ministry – working through the church – helping the church to evangelize – Salvation Army Church – every day a soup kitchen – once a week food distribution –

Robert has a heart for sports. He was competing in rugby when he came to faith. He played sports for his whole life thinking he’d have to give that stuff up.

Robert and Laura show their neighbors and parents of the kids they coach, in a slow and easy way that they care about them.   It’s not a Christian camp they do but they spend time in prayer asking God to let them have an impact on the children’s lives and their families.

He said they can’t just street evangelize or quickly in a conversation go through the 4 Spiritual laws. They are so post Christianity that you would be labeled a weirdo and then no one would want to listen to anything you have to say. Relational ministry… one on one!

They minister to a lot of people from North Africa, lots of refugees from Albania, Morocco, and Romania.

Respectful of that fact that they come from Muslim, strict Catholic or post Christian families, but their desire is to show them that they love them and care about them – they also let the parents know they work on biblical foundations.

In the community through the school, and home they share the faith –

Robert challenged the students over and over to think about the gifts and talents they have. God uses those gifts to help you relate to people.

Debrief Remarks

  • Robert and Laura both blessed me! It really touched many of the students when Robert read Proverbs 31 to introduce his wife!
  • The beauty of the mountains and this Pellice Valley we are staying at. It seems so untouched by major technology and fancy buildings, houses, cars, etc.
  • Finding out that in France and a couple more European countries it is now illegal to have summer youth camps. This is where many ministries would be able to share the gospel to the youth. They are afraid that it’s coming to Italy!
  • Giorgio challenged the team to enjoy their Christian freedoms and to fight for them because it’s coming their way one day that they won’t have as many. Look at Europe… that is what it will look like.
  • Getting to work yesterday and knowing it really made a big difference to the people here at the base.
  • I’m challenged about my faith, I’m pretty complacent. I want to work on that and be more intentional in being able to share the gospel
  • How Christ needs to be the center in our lives – apart from that there’s no meaning to everything we do – everything I do is empty if I don’t do it for Christ … Robert’s message affirmed that.
  • I am a lot more relaxed here, just the environment. Everyone’s not rushing around, worrying about getting things done! They are happy with what they have!
  • They live modestly!
  • We are very fortunate and we forget that!
  • After listening to Robert and Laura, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to do with my life!

 

It was a great night! Afterwards there were games, another run to the store/café/local game room for some more ice cream, cokes and maybe a little Italian Karaoke!

 

Pray for tomorrow.   The whole day will be focused on the Waldensian people that hid in the caves, their Bible School and where they were martyred. It should be an amazing day! Pray for the team as they hike in the mountain, and be challenged again about:

 

  • stories of fellow believers that would not compromise the gospel and it cost them their lives
  • their own gifts and their future
  • their personal walk with Christ

 

mrs. g

 

 

 

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He is Risen…He is Risen, Indeed!

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

 

It was a beautiful sunny Easter morning! We joined the Salvation Army church in the neighboring town. For their Easter service, 7 members of their congregation gave dramatic monologues of the last words significant moments before Christ died! Even though we didn’t understand the language, knowing the story well we could still follow along. In between the monologues we sang corresponding hymns in Italian! It was a special time!

What an experience to be half way around the world celebrating the most important day with fellow believers. We didn’t understand each other, but we both understand what Jesus did for all of us.

After lunch, we did our work project for the ministry here! We mended broken appliances, moved a whole room set up. Turned an eating room into a dance studio. Vacuumed, mopped, raked leaves, moved tables, cleaned refrigerators (boys did) (moms I have pictures – no more excuses) and even more. We worked for about 4 hours… hard!   Elisha the coordinator was ecstatic! He kept saying over and over, “This would have taken us 2 weeks and here your team has it done in a few hours. It is such a blessing to us”

Our kids got to go down to the Art festival and see the pieces that the students have been working on for the past 3 months. A.MA.ZING!

Jacob and Taylor (and a few followers) took an afternoon run through the village to stay in shape for their regional track meet that happens when we return! (Mr. Sherrill … you would love the view they had)

Tonight Elisha and Paula shared about the ministry here and about the Christian church in general in Italy! No one was allowed to have their own Bible in their own language until the middle 1950’s!   That was news to me! Our guide Giorgio’s parents were missionaries here in Italy to their own people!

There are not enough evangelical churches that are preaching God’s word! It is post Christianity here! People don’t even care to hear about the gospel! See no need…see no need to even be interested!   It’s a very difficult battlefield.

Jacob joined Giorgio leading us in worship tonight. Jacob on the guitar and Giorgio on the piano! It was really sweet!

Tomorrow we were going to hike to the cave where the believers hid in the 16th century but it’s supposed to rain a monsoon. So we’re going to Torino!

We’ve had a couple of student feel a little down today (maybe a little altitude sickness) , one with allergies and I’ve got one really getting over a bad throat! Please pray for God’s healing touch on them. They are troopers! I don’t want them to miss anything!

He is Risen…. He is Risen, Indeed! Proclaim it to the nations!

 

Mrs. g

 

 

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Forterocca – At Last!

It has seemed like a long journey but we are finally here at Forterocca Mission Base !

After what seemed like forever we finally met up with our JE guide Giorgio and our bus driver Roberto at the airport.  There’s nothing like being in a foreign country and seeing your name “Summit Christian Academy” on a hand held sign!

We loaded our luggage and we headed to Torino for lunch – Italian Pizza (too rainy for the walking tour) and then gelato! Yum!  Oh, and by the way, Pepperoni here – is a pizza with vegetable peppers on it… a USA pepperoni is salami pizza!  Note to self!

Austin Texas –  Friday 8:00a –  Austin Bergstrom Airport   –   Saturday 4:30p  Forterocca –    26 hours

O.MY.WORD

We are in our rooms, taking showers, relaxing before dinner and devotionals! 

I’m writing this a looking out my window at the clouds hovering over the trees and crevices in the mountains! It’s a beautiful raining day!   The ride from Torino to our lodging was pretty nice! Although, I have to take the word of Mr. Miller – he’s the only one who stayed awake the whole time!  Grayson and I joined him for the last 30+ minutes!  Amazing! Many times you could imagine yourself in a different time with the homes and the slate roofs and the sheep in the fields and the narrow passes!

Here we go!  Thank you for your prayers!  (I would ask that you go ahead and pray for our return flights… no crying babies!)  The 8 hour flight had 2 very loud screaming (not exaggerating) babies!  Makes for a long tiring trip for everyone! Attendants included!

BUT, we are here, safe and sound, ready to start a great adventure!

mrs g

“be blessed and highly flavored you are the salt of the earth”

 

 

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Wednesday – Impacting through service, prayer and ministry!

   Today we thought we were going to Rattan, but ended up going to another Head Start school that is getting ready for accreditation. We were working on the grounds and the playground cleaning up and giving everything a fresh look. We painted the hand rails, raked the yard (about 5 times-ask Max the miracle ‘raker’), scrubbed the playground equipment (playscapes, toys, wagons, swing set), and removed broken tree limbs (that were damaged during the ice storms). We finished early, and it was a beautiful day, so went back by the Endangered Ark Foundation, and the elephants were out! They were beautiful and really neat to see! Then we came back to the cabins and had some free time, which everyone seemed to need. It was actually a wonderful time, just the kids getting to spend time with each other and get to know each other more. Great fellowship and enjoying the beautiful camp grounds and lake.

   Then after a quick taco dinner at the camp, we left for New Life Family Church in Boswell where we were helping with the Wednesday night children’s outreach ministry. This ministry reaches out to the community and provides a Bible lesson, songs, and a hot meal every Wednesday. Our story tonight was on Zaccheus. Justin introduced us all, Codie (our natural full-of-life song leader) led the songs, and Troy read the Bible story while others worked the stick puppets. Then Justin did an amazing job at retelling the story in a very animated way that had everyone captivated, and showed how it applies to each one of us. We sang some more songs, then Baylee introduced our craft, which the kids absolutely loved! During craft time, all the students were helping and talking with the kids. Laura jumped in and was really connecting with all of the kids and being a great encouragement to them. Rachel O, Rachel L, Max, Amber, Danielle, Robert, and Baylee were all sitting and coloring with the kids helping them with their craft and getting to know them and their stories. Rosie, Catherine, and Danielle were amazing at setting up the crafts and resetting the room for Sunday morning service. It was a great but heart wrenching experience to see what these kids face every day, and we pray that we had an impact on them tonight. Then after the kids left, we closed in prayer, praying over Pastor Rick and his family and ministry.

     Then we came back to the camp and had debrief, and even though everyone was very tired, they were so amazingly affirmative to each other and really expressed how the trip had moved them. The overall theme of the week seems to be when we learn to use the gifts God has given us, we accomplish more and bless others and glorify God. We wrapped up the debrief with these verses: Romans 12:6-8, 20. Verse 20 says, “Be devoted to one another in love, honor one another above yourselves.”…We challenged to think about…what this means, and how would their life look if they lived this every day?

    

We will be leaving Hugo tomorrow between 9 and 10, and will have the students call 30-45 min out. Weather and traffic conditions permitting, we will be home between 430-530.

Our track kids made it back home – pray they have a successful day at the district track meet.  We missed them tonight (Carrie, Shelby, Gabby, Becca, E.J. Cody and Chris)

A BIG Thank you to my leaders … Judy Burns, Sean Miller, Sam Mata, Jessica Smith and my student leaders … Becca Anderson and Chris Cothran

 

mrs. g

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Movin’ Dirt! Saving Lives!

It was a beautiful windy day…. We now know WHY that line is in the song… when the wind comes sweepin’ cross the plain’   wowza!

 

A team of 7 finishes the painting at the Sopra Head Start! It looks like a new building! Seeing the little ones playing out on their clean playground was very satisfying! When they finished they joined the rest of the group at Boswell Head Start.

The work at Boswell

  • Cleaning out the sand box and adding new sand
  • Cleaning the grass and weeds out of the playground
  • Painting the rails going into the playground
  • Painting the purple ‘bouncy see-sawie thingy’
  • Cleaning the Tea Cup
  • Cleaning the paint station
  • Moving LOTS of red dirt and filling in around the two new storm cellars for the Head Start (this took all day)
  • Raking and bagging leaves and trash
  • Removing a pile of concrete pieces and rocks and wood
  • Unloading all the trash, rocks, bags of leaves, and concrete pieces into the dumpsters!

 

We went to the Hugo cemetery (it is a tourist stop) to see where Lane Frost (8 seconds) and Freckles Brown (bull rider) are buried and to see the Circus section! Let your student explain it.

We had dinner at Braum’s … an hour of resting… the track stars practiced for the district meet.

Then we practiced for tomorrow night’s ministry at New Life Family Church in Boswell, Oklahoma! We will do the whole children’s service! Songs, skits, games and the story of Zaccheus! Please pray for our students as they are ‘running the whole ministry’ time.

Debrief:

It was another day of hard work but the students enjoying it and really working together! As a leader, it’s exciting to hear them talk about how much they enjoyed working together and accomplishing a lot together! It really was amazing!

One of the students was asked by a little girl, “Why are you here?” The student told her what we were doing, then asked her if she knew Jesus. The little girl replied that she did. Then our student asked, “Is there anything I can pray for you?” “Yes, my dad is in prison!”   It was very sobering for our student and for the rest of the group as it was shared tonight.

Again, Donnie and Paige were blown away by the hard work and determination of this group!

The leaders and students alike agree… the willingness to do the job and to do it well … it’s a different class from last year. This class has taken pride in every project put in front of them. Today we thought we were done with putting the dirt around the storm cellars. We asked Donnie and Paige to come and ‘check off’ the work. The students were already in the playground ready to move rocks. We were told, it’s not enough dirt ( a group had been working at it all day) to leave the top of the concrete exposed more than an inch was enough for the force of the tornado to lift the shelter out of the ground and risk the lives of everyone in the shelter. The kids came back and tackled the project with a tenacity that made us all so proud. No complaining, in fact, taking very serious the need to finish it and finish it well! In the end, Rachel Olson said it best!  I felt like what we were doing really counted, we were saving lives!

Even the students at the school commented on how hard our students were working and what a great job they were doing. (Boswell Head Start, Elementary, Jr. High and High school are all together on the same campus)

Tomorrow we head to Rattan, Oklahoma to work at another Head Start – we’ll be cleaning another playground area and the equipment and staining wood!

5 of the 10th graders and the 2 student leaders will be coming home tomorrow so they can compete in District Track! Please pray for Mrs. Schaible as she is helping us get the students back home! Pray for safe travels and for a great track meet on Thursday!

Saving lives.. it’s a sober thought really and yet as followers of Christ it’s one that really should weigh on our hearts all of the time.  We know that as we are painting, cleaning, bagging, and doing all the chores Little Dixie needs us to do to help clean up around the Head Start buildings, we hardly ever  get to share the gospel with anyone.  However, we know we are affecting the people we are serving. When parents come pick up their little ones and  ask who we are and why we are there, we know that right then, our story and our service just might compel someone to seek out this Jesus! Maybe they haven’t been to church in a while and it reminds them of a relationship they have neglected for a long time. Maybe the workers inside the building will be ministered to by our actions.  The name on the side of our van let’s people know we are followers of Christ and seeing young people work and work hard – it’s impressive!  We pray over our projects and while we’re working. We know God answers prayers.  We never know who God is going to use or how he is going to use them to bring Christ in to their situation.  But when you hear the students  pray for the safety of the children, etc. and then hear their thoughts after a long hard day you just know God is going to answer prayers.  It feels good to be a part of his plan for the people he loves!

 

mrs. g

 

 

 

 

 

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Blessings – to give – not receive

Acts 20:35

New International Version (NIV)

35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

 

It was really a fun day of working! We went to Sopra, Oklahoma and spent the day working at the Head Start Pre-School facility.

Our To Do List For Today:

  • Pick up and bag the 1,000,000 sticks and branches on the ground
  • Rake and bag the wet (rotting) leaves
  • Re-set the swing set pads that were buried in the rocks
  • Clean the sand pit and add sand
  • Eat snacks mid morning
  • Sand and scrape the front of the building and the eaves and the porch
  • Paint everything that we sanded
  • Scrub and clean the playground basketball game
  • Remove broken playground equipment
  • Eat BBQ sandwiches or lunch (a.maz.ing.)
  • Remove Rocks off the padded playground slide area
  • Remove years of tape residue from the front door (from signs being taped to the front door)

We had dinner at my favorite Mexican Food Restaurant Los Compadres! Yuuuummmy!

I had the opportunity as we left the restaurant to pray for Gracie Johnson’s grandson.

Debrief –

  • What made this a great night is almost everyone mentioned how much fun they had working together.
  • We ENJOYED each other’s company.
  • We didn’t get tired of menial tasks but sang while we were doing them.
  • When we finished one task we asked for more.
  • I loved learning how to do new things. It was fun working with my friends. It was cool how we would sometimes be working with people we don’t normally hang out with… but we were still having fun
  • I felt like we were all just happy all day
  • I didn’t hear anyone complain
  • Donnie (job foreman) was so happy with our work, was taking pictures to send back to the main office
    • He said he wished more young people would do things like this
    • He is the only one that handles these kinds of things for the Head Start buildings in this area and he can’t get it all done
    • We were a huge blessing to him
  • It was cool to see the transformation of the building and the whole area after we were done

It really was a wonderful day! The students were AMAZING! All the leaders agreed. When the students cooperate and get along and work hard… it makes for a blessed day!

 

Jessica Smith (former SCA students and UT senior) came with us as one of our adult leaders shared the scripture Acts 20:35. It was in her morning devotional… what a great scripture to start and end our day with.

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   (NIV)

 

Isn’t that the truth! May we all have hearts to be blessing ‘givers’ instead of worrying about what am I going to receive today.

 

Be blessed… and with that blessing… go and bless others!

 

In Him

mrs. g

We head to Boswell tomorrow and work at another Head Start. 5 on the team will stay at Soper and finish the trim painting and then join the others mid morning.  Pray for continued good weather and joy in serving others!

 

 

 

 

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God is SOOO Good!

We made it safe and sound. We arrived about 5:00 p.m. unloaded and headed to Wal-Mart! (It is THE shopping place here in Hugo… just sayin’)   My phone does NOT work here. I can receive text but Sprint doesn’t work to make or receive calls. I bought a ‘go phone’ but haven’t set it up yet. I’ll be sending another email out with my Hugo cell number!

Thank you for your prayers because God was definitely watching over us! After lunch we got back on the road, in the rain, heading towards Oklahoma. As we were driving over a bridge a car drove past us and went ahead but all of a sudden they began hydroplaning. They slammed into the concrete wall and spun 180 and then they began sliding towards our right lane. This whole time we quickly and carefully slowed down praying they would not slide back into us. The car stopped leaving us enough room to slowly and carefully pass on the right.

We pulled up and out of the way. Myself and Mr. Mata and Jessica Smith ran back to check on them. (calling 911) Praise God, no scratches, just shaken up BAD! We asked if we could pray for them. The husband said, YES! PLEASE! Right there we held hands prayed thanking God for saving them and protecting them. Please continue to pray for Missy and her husband Shashawn. God truly had his angels watching over them and us, guiding us all!

Another man (James) helped push the car to the side out of the way. And another gentleman stayed with them till the Emergency vehicles arrived.

The cabins are beautiful! We’ve had a great dinner. We’re settling in and doing our evening devotionals.

Please pray for the rain to go away and to come another day! Pray for your students to take advantage of their quiet times, devotionals and evening debriefs.

Talk to you tomorrow

 

Mrs. G

 

 

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