Thursday, August 16, 2007
Hello again, everyone! Well, I've been in Milan for two weeks now. I'm settling in--I've gotten things pretty much in order in my apartment. Tammy, the girls, and I took a trip to Ikea, and I got some bookshelves and a small chest of drawers, as well as a comforter, curtains, and some colorful pillows. Gary and Jennifer, the AI directors, came up last Wednesday, and brought the rest of my stuff from Florence in their car. So, I've finally gotten everything into place and am quite comfortable in my little apartment.

While Gary and Jennifer were here, all of us (me, them, and the Shorts) went to the Milan Museum of Technology. The museum houses a famous display of models built from the drawing of Leonardo da Vinci, displays showing the history and evolution of various industrial and househould machines (record players from victrolas up to cd players, clocks from sundials to cathedral belltowers to the modern Rolex, the machinary used for mining and refining nickel, etc.) The most popular exhibit is a huge submarine used by the Italian Navy from the 1960s until the 1990s. They hauled it on trucks from the coast, working in the middle of the night because they had to shut down the interstate to bring it through. The roads around the musuem had to be reinforced; there was quite a party when it was successfully parked at the museum.

We've stayed pretty busy, despite it being August. August here is the holiday month--everyone is on vacation. Many stores and businesses are also closed for at least a week or two during the month, if not the whole thing. So, life is quiet in an Italian city in August. Today especially--today is Ferragosto. The 15th of August has been a holiday here in Italy since Roman times; originally it was part of the celebration of summer, and the end of the field-work until the harvest. It often was dedicated to the goddess Diana. The Catholic church then used the day to celebrate Mary's assumption into heaven (they teach that Mary, also, was carried to heaven on a cloud when she died, and was never buried). Now, it's just the day the world stops while everything is closed and everyone has the day off, the middle of the vacation month. I came over to Lewis and Tammy's for the day. They took advantage of everyone being off of work, and had various church members as guests for both lunch and dinner. The conversation was particularly interesting with the dinner guests, a Ghanaian church member, Steven, and his Italian Catholic wife. Apparently they met when he was her tour guide when she visited Ghana from where she was studying in Nigeria.

Last week, Tammy, the girls, and I spent an afternoon with Nadia, one of the newest members of the church in Milan. She is Ukrainian, and has lived in Italy about four years. She became a Christian just a few months ago after becoming friends with some Italian Christians, and has been attending the church for about two months. However, her husband and his family are atheists and quite unhappy about her decision. She seems to be a really sweet person, and is happy to be making Christian friends and getting involved. She plans to go with us tomorrow to visit one of the older ladies from church. Please pray for her as her faith grows, despite the complete lack of encouragement from her family.

On Monday, I met the Shorts down at the church building, and Tammy and I started reorganizing all of the children's Bible class material. For the past while, Tammy has been teaching the one children's class, but she would like to split it into a class for the pre-school age and one for the elementary-age, and maybe start a class for the teenage girls. There are several church members interested in getting involved, so we're trying to get the material organized so it will be easier to divide up.

Next week, I'll be heading back to Florence for most of the week for the annual Florence convegno (convention). Christians from all over the country come together in Florence every year; there will be speakers, activities, and meals together. The main speaker this year is Don Shackelford, a former missionary to Italy who then worked at Harding for many years. I'll let you know more about that when I get back.

Well, I hope you are all doing well, and your summers have been good. I sent out a newsletter last week; let me know if you didn't get it and want to. I'll try to update again soon; I don't have the internet at my apartment, so I try to get on whenever I'm at Lewis and Tammy's.

Ciao a tutti!


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