Thursday, March 15, 2012
This morning, on an alleged day off, I had the chance to have breakfast with some of the kitchen crew. Benjamin, Elia, Marco, Cettina, Leila, Livie, Moira. Names that will live long in our memory banks....
Marco showed up randomly one day, and asked if a cook was needed at Forterocca. He is a new believer, in search of what God might have for him, and came in a few days before our students and guest lecturers arrived. Just in time to set up, stock up, and take that new kitchen for a test drive...thank you Lord!
Elia arrived shortly after that, asking the same question. An artist himself (a classical guitarist, composer and theater major), Elia speaks English, and we quickly adopted him, inviting him to share his portfolio with us. That took the form of an evening listening to a few original compositions of his for classical guitar. He is now inducted into our worship team, and sitting in on as many classes as he can.
Then came Cettina, who spoke almost no English when she arrived but is putting us all to shame with how quickly she's learning our language. My Italian remains dismal, but Cettina is helping me. She is the cheerful little worker bee who always has a smile and a hug. Her story of finding out about OM last fall, which birthed a desire to come and work here, then having someone sponsor her, and getting clearance from her church, is a wonder to OM Italy, her and me. So encouraging to see Italian young people explore missions.
Livie, the sister of someone here, is a photographer and arrived with the students to help cook. She also joins us for classes, and peeks in our studio whenever she can.
Leila is from the Isle of Man, by way of Finland and other parts of the UK. She and her husband have been supporting OM for years, and when she wanted to learn Italian, she checked with OM Italy for opportunities, only to discover Forterocca and the School of Mission. Leila has been slaving away for us in the kitchen for 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, and has never lost her smile.
Amanda is here prematurely - her support wasn't in, but the need was there and she came early. She will be part of OM Italy.
Then Moira arrived, another artist, who found out about the school too late to apply but volunteered to come and help in whatever way she could, just to be here. She comes to classes on her day off, and can be found lying on the floor in our art studio, painting and drawing when she can.
Benjamin, from Switzerland, has left already, having spent our frozen February with us, doing whatever he could to be helpful (which mostly meant finishing a kitchen). Benjamin reminded me a lot of my nephew, good-hearted, good-spirited, and just generally fun dude.
Magdalena has just arrived from Switzerland, to replace Leila, who left Tuesday to return to the Isle of Man, and advocate for the arts in her church.
These volunteers, who are all paying money to serve us, inspire us and humble us. May God bless them for their selfless service to us. Without their help, we would probably be collapsed in a heap! Just cleaning up after ourselves, recycling trash (which has been elevated to an art form here) and get through laundry (one small European machine, with a 2-hr cycle, for all of us, no dryer) is enough to keep us busy between classes. An amazing testimony to God's faithfulness in supplying a need before we knew we had one.
The OM Italy staff has no idea how most of them got here. "They just keep coming!" says the field leader. "It is a BIG DEAL that Italians are coming!"
Tonight we celebrated Marco's birthday, with wonderful cakes by Livie, drinks, music, hugs and smiles. Marco is struggling with his family's disapproval of his 'wasting his time' here, unemployed and seeking God's will. Pray for Marco, and his desire to join OM Italy. It will not be without great cost.
I think of how often I have no idea what God is doing on my behalf, and help shows up before I know I need it. These wonderful servants are quite dear, not only for who they are, but for what they represent: another facet of our theme this week: our Father God, who cares so deeply for us, and provides for all our needs. If you have a minute, would you thank God for these lovely people right now, and ask him to bless them beyond imagination?!
Posted by Pat Butler at 1:17 PM