Friday, January 22, 2016

It is amazing to think that this has been the view we have been surrounded by for the past week. It is wonderful to be here. We are in a rural location, with country views on all sides.  So very different from the forest we live in in Georgia.
The conference center is as beautiful as the surrounding mountains. We are all aware that we are on holy ground.  Many years of persecution, prayer, hardship and faithfulness have shaped this small enclave into a place that is truly set apart for God.  This is the only Evangelical conference center/camp in Italy that is staffed year round.  As well as hosting large groups, this center also runs an after-school program for local children with learning disabilities. They have earned a great reputation in the local area.
We are delighting in getting to know some of the local staff.  We have had a few evenings playing volleyball and indoor soccer and hockey with some of them.  Tonight we turned the indoor gym into the dance studio ready for the Incarnate students to arrive on Monday, so the games came inside to our apartment here at the center.
This week the Incarnate staff have been preparing for school to begin. We have been amazed at how easily and quickly we have gone through a huge to-do list, and are all feeling pretty ready for school to start.  There is a great sense of excitement and anticipation among us. Including, Nigel, Ben and I we are 12 staff from 4 different continents. Our unity has been immediate as well. So many many things to be thankful for this week.

Prayers would be welcomed for the 26 students who arrive on Monday. Ben will spend several hours in Rome airport welcoming them and getting them on the right bus. Nigel has been meeting people off the bus in the nearest big town, about 30 minutes away.
The students will be moving straight into orientation week on Tuesday.  Nigel and I both have many commitments during orientation week, and will be gone from the children a lot during the week. They have been great this week as we have been working, but next week will be even longer hours. They are very safe here in the apartment, and we have been completely amazed at how well they are adjusting to a new culture and a new lifestyle. Already they have opened doors to the people here.

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