Never has a word meant so much as the word 'spring' has in the past month. This winter season has been an extremely rough one and yet God has shown Himself to be so faithful as He always is. It was interesting because a few weeks ago we had nice and sunny days. All the windows and doors were open, we even put the laundry outside to dry! I looked to Marla and said "Well, winter is finally over and we can start to enjoy a new season" Sure enough, in a week and a half we had a snowfall. It was unbelievable for us. We don't usually get a lot of snow and once the sun starts to come out it is usually a sign the winter is over. But, it was a good analogy for us because as we have gone through a really rough time the past months and we thought it was over but there was to be another surprise storm that would come. It reminded me how easy it is to be prepared for certain things yet unprepared for others. In winter, we expect colder temperatures (well, not if you are in So Cal lol) we expect the snow, the storms. But when these things happen unexpectedly it throws you for a loop. Imagine you have put away your shovels, your winter boots are packed away, you start to think about the flowers you are going to plant in the garden and BOOM...you find yourself off guard and taken back as you look out your window and see snow falling. But, just as in the last post I wrote, Spring will come. It can't not come. It is a part of God's plan and we can trust that Spring will come.
In just one week God has done so much! He has put us in contact with people and organizations that we have been praying about for years. Jim has been meeting with a guy pretty regularly just to chat and today the guy brought his 3 brothers along to meet Jim. Marla was hired to lead an English Conversational Group at a language school in town and I was able to begin training with an organization who help girls working on the street to have a way out if they would like. Marla and I went to a women's coffee and had the opportunity to meet some really nice ladies and we will be keeping in touch with them. Jim's friend who manages the park wants him to put together a band and be playing regularly there this summer. It has been a blessing for us and to be honest, we really needed to see and hear from the Lord that He indeed wanted to keep us here in Padova.
A few months ago the Lord gave Jim the promise in Exodus that He would give us the land little by little. The way things were going it was a bit difficult to trust in that but we held onto that promise. The other week in a devotional we read it was about every place that your foot treads I will give you the land. I love how God reiterates and reminds us of His promises. When you are just weeping, questioning, doubting, He uses a different verse but the same promise. He is ever so tender towards us I cannot even fathom His great love and care.
With the opportunities that have been coming our way it has caused us to reconsider where we are living. As much as we enjoy it where we are we are looking to move to the city center. It will be much easier for Marla to get work, it will be easier for me to go to the places I need to go to and also to meet up with friends. It will also be much better for inviting people over so they can either walk or take public transportation. You can keep this in prayer that we would find the right place for us. We have to give 6 months notice where we live (that's the Italian way) so it probably wouldn't be until Fall that we could actually move.
My friend Becky, who is the pastor's wife in Paris, France and I have been busy organizing a Pastor's Wives retreat in Paris March 22-24. We are really excited and all the ladies coming are looking forward to this time of fellowship and refreshment. Inga-Lill Guzik and Rose Martin are coming as our guest speakers so we know that we are going to be so blessed. Our theme is from Song of Solomon 2:10 'Come Away My Beloved'. I love the next few verses also because guess what...it talks about winter being over and spring is coming-the birds are coming out to sing! Ah, it was such a great blessing to read beyond verse 10. I think this is going to minister so much to all the ladies who are coming.
We are so thrilled because our home church CC Vista is coming with the CC School Choir in April. They will be here as our very first outreach group and the timing is so good. You can be praying for the different venues and opportunities for them to sing in the schools, connect and meet Italian high school students and just shine the love of God in this city. Please pray for their travel, health and anything else the Lord would put on your heart to pray for them while they are here.
Jim will be writing an update in the next week but I wanted to give the 'female version' and plus I am going to try to be more faithful at the blog writing again :)
And now....guess what.....I just had a mosquito fly by my desk two times!!! Alas, winter is over and Spring is on it's way!!! Perhaps this is the one and only time in life I shall be happy to see this most dreadful creature! Is it not like the Lord to use such nuisances to bring a smile to our face and remind us of what is to come!!
I will leave you with some beautiful pictures of the city that God has called us to, that our feet will continually tread upon and that He has promised us!