The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: Italy

To Make Him Famous (Part 5)

I have started to write this post multiple times, and every time I come back to it, I just can’t do it. I know I left you all hanging on the Italy portion of our trip. And I know that I need to just write this part and get it overwith. But here’s the thing…

I loved Italy. I loved spending time with Keith and Debby and their sweet kiddos. In some way that I can’t even articulate, our time in Italy changed me.

So maybe part of me hesitates to write this post, because once it’s over…well, then it’s over. And the part of the trip that changed me – that part is not really “over” yet.

So, let’s try to do this…again. *Deep breath.*

We landed in Milan on Saturday, October 23, and were greeted at the airport by our aforementioned missionary friend, Keith. As we stepped outside (mere moments before we walked right by a Maserati, by the way), we realized that Milan was MUCH cooler than Halkidiki, Greece. Whoops. Maybe next time we take an international trip, I’ll try to check the weather first. Duh.

When we arrived at their home, we were welcomed by Debby and their three kiddos, whom I adore…

The next morning, we had the privilege of attending church, held in Keith and Debby’s home. The entire service was in Italian, so Debby translated parts of it for me. Luke was able to play guitar with an Italian believer named Orazio, and that was a good connect for him.

We also attended an international church service that evening, and were able to help with their music ministry.

The next day, we got another taste of everyday missionary life as Luke and I accompanied Keith to a neighborhood of apartments that would be considered the “projects.” There we were able to distribute about 750 fliers sharing the Good News of Christ.

That evening (Monday), we went with the whole family to downtown Milan for a little bit of sightseeing. It was beautiful. We perused an old castle, walked through the streets of old buildings, and tried our first bites of gelato.

Quite possibly the most amazing building I’ve ever been inside is the Duomo. It’s a huge cathedral in Milan…So incredibly ornate and beautiful, and yet so incredibly sad when you see people lighting candles for their deceased relatives and praying to the saints. Italy, though steeped in religious tradition, is a very dark place.

(Please note that I’m leaving out gajillions of pictures I could be sharing, in the interest of keeping it reasonably short-ish. If you need to see more, let me know. My computer is gurgling-full with them.)

The next day, Tuesday, we enjoyed a day at Lake Como. One word – BEAUTIFUL! We walked around the lake, and then took the “Funicolare” (i.e. cable train) up the side of the mountain and had a picnic at the top.

That evening, we helped teach a group of Italians in an English class. It was a fun experience! The four students we were working with were already fairly fluent and able to hold a conversation in English. It was fun to be involved in that arm of Keith and Debby’s ministry as well.

Maybe one of the coolest parts of being in Italy (besides getting to know one amazing family…and besides the coffee…oh, the coffee…) was just seeing the day-to-day life of a missionary. And then catching the vision for their work. They have a strong desire to see Christ’s gospel spread to the people of Italy.

It was sad to leave Milan, not knowing if or when we’ll ever be back. But it was really, really, really, SUPER great to come back to these precious ones…

To Make Him Famous (Part 4)

For my faithful readers, you know I like to keep it real around here. I don’t have much to hide (obviously).

So, in that spirit, I want to tell you about my personal struggles associated with this trip.

Some of you know that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety in the past. It’s definitely a part of my family heritage. The summer of 2002 was the darkest time in my life thus far, though I’ve had a few more times of struggle since then.

As the Greece/Italy trip approached, I knew that it could potentially be enough of a stressor to lead to anxiety. When I thought about leaving my kiddos for two weeks and being hurled over the ocean packed like a sardine in a metal cylinder…Well, that was a little stressful for me.

So, I asked our class at church to pray that I could focus on the TRUTH and not the what-ifs. Because that’s really what it’s about, right?

The morning of the trip came, and we packed all the kiddos in their jammies into the van. We enjoyed the beautiful sunshine (pictured above) as we drove to the church. Of course, I was tearful with the anticipation of saying goodbye.

When we pulled into the church parking lot, Grandma and Papa (my mom and dad) were already there. The kids pretty much jumped out of the van and into their arms. The kids were so excited to see them that they forgot to cry about Mommy and Daddy leaving the country. So we hugged them, and off they went.

And I cried a little with my dear friend Kathy, who understood my pain, because she also left four little ones at home (who happen to be some of our kids’ dearest friends).

And that set the pattern for the trip. We talked to the kids over Skype (or Google Talk) each day, and almost every day it would bring me to tears, simply from missing them. But they never cried. They were always happy and having fun. (Which is a GREAT thing! I think I would’ve cried much more if they were unhappy.)

I believe it was the third night in Greece that I was lying in bed – SO exhausted – but I couldn’t sleep. I was really struggling with anxiety. If you’ve never struggled with issues like this, you won’t know just what it’s like. To me, it’s like a darkness falls over me. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.

Thankfully, prior to the trip, I had asked my Facebook friends (gotta love social media, huh?) for suggestions of Scriptures I could take with me to focus on. I had printed them on index cards, and that night as I lie in bed, I got those little cards out and read them out loud. And prayed. And read them. And eventually I fell asleep, focusing on the TRUTH.

I am so thankful for God’s Word.

For the rest of the trip, I was careful to remind myself of the truth every time I felt a whisper of anxiety. Each time the airplane would take off, I’d pray, “Lord, you have me here for a reason, and you know the number of my days. Today is YOURS.” It was important for me to really relinquish control of my life (and my children’s lives) to Him. That was one of the biggest lessons I learned.

That’s not to say that there weren’t more tears. I am a mommy, and I missed my kiddos! In fact, Gracie girl got strep throat while we were gone, and her blood sugar levels were out of whack, and that was really hard for me. I LOVED being in Greece, but I also wanted to be home with her!

But again – the TRUTH. My God loves her much more than I do, and He always does what is good. I can really rest in those promises.

I’m praising God today that He orchestrated the events of those two weeks the way He did – allowing me the opportunity to know Him better. Thank You, Father!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

To Make Him Famous (Part 1)

The first question of the Westminster Catechism is, “What is the chief end of man?”

And the answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

When we were in Italy, a missionary pastor there (Jim Albright) put it a little differently. He said that our job as believers is to make Christ famous wherever we go.

Please know that as I process the past two weeks and share the experience with you, I am yearning to know how I can make Him famous in my own life.

So, let me tell you about the trip. From the beginning…

This is how I felt the night before we left. Half super excited, half terrified, and pretty sure I was forgetting to pack something important.

That night, as the children were sleeping, we set up our little fake Christmas tree in the living room. I hung notes on the branches and put gifts beneath. Each had a date on it, and the kiddos had one note and one gift to open per day.

Thursday, October 14. We met at the church in the morning, packed up the vans, and drove to O’Hare. This is our team that morning, including an “extra” team member that came with us – a Cornerstoner named Jake who helped with the youth at the conference.

Our team at O’Hare, preparing to check our luggage. I’m pretty sure we had 18 pieces of luggage, not including purses and carry-ons. EIGHTEEN! It was c-r-a-z-y, but God totally provided for us. With current baggage restrictions, we were only allowed one free piece of checked baggage per person, so ALL of the musical equipment was extra. And one or two of the bags was over the weight limit. The fee was going to be outrageous, but God provided, and it was significantly lowered for us. Praise Him!

So, we flew. And we flew and flew and flew. 38,000 feet over the Atlantic, which (by the way) is about -84 degrees outside. Our 8-hour flight landed us in Frankfurt, Germany. To put it not-so-eloquently, I felt like barf by the time we got there. But a little time on the ground helped, and a little rest in these cool loungy chairs was nice, too.

After an 8-hour layover in Frankfurt, we hopped back on a plane headed toward Thessaloniki, Greece.

We flew over the Alps. That was fun.

Once we landed in Thessaloniki, we got to witness our taxi drivers arguing in Greek (which was kind of entertaining), and then took an hour-long drive down a peninsula to our destination, Sani Resort in Halkidiki, Greece. We totally crashed that night, but when we awoke the next day (Saturday, October 16), this is what it looked like outside the conference center…

We spent the day getting our equipment set up and practicing.

And we made it outside for a little fun in the sun, too.

Next post – THE CONFERENCE! Missionaries, music, testimonies, tears…a full week! Stay tuned!

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