Tuesday, June 29, 2010


i don't think i even need to explain how amazing this is, but i know i want one.

found here

i'll keep dreaming...

Friday, June 18, 2010

now reading

i know, i think because there are such serious, stressful things going on in my life right now, i just had the urge to read something easy and whimsical. i have always liked the harry potter movies but never read the books. my husband was one of those people who camped out at the book store dressed in hogwarts attire and fake glasses waiting for his copy at midnight. needless to say, we already had the books.

why not? they are exactly what i was looking for in an easy summer read, and i'm already on the 3rd one.

i will never dress up like the characters and it's definitely not an obsession, but it is a good escape for now. especially when the other book on my reading list is:

this is what we will teach from at avanti italia and what we will be taught from in our orientation week in searcy. it was written by one of the founding fathers of avanti italia, jim woodroof. so far it is great, but obviously a little deeper than harry potter. i like the balance.

Monday, June 14, 2010

here's the scoop

so i said i would give the deets about what avanti italia is, and what exactly we will be doing in italy. the truth is...i don't completely know.

the last 2 weeks of august we are going to searcy, ar for 2 weeks of missionary, evangelism, culture, etc training. i know we'll learn all we need to know then, but for now all we really know is that we are going to italy for 2 years to learn italian, use our italian and the bible to teach english, do work in the community in the name of the church there, and probably a lot of other awesome stuff. i love not knowing, that's the most fun part of the adventure.

i do know that for at least the first 3 months (language school) we'll be living in this city...

florence, italy. my favorite city in the world at this point in my life. i'm sure spending a semester there in college makes me a little bias, but i don't care. bias or not, this city is splendid.

there's a chance that after language school we could be sent to another city in italy and work with the church that is established there. fine with us, we told them that we would do whatever they needed us to do. of course, my brother and cousin will be doing their semester in florence the spring of '11 and we would love to be there for that, but we'll see.

that's really all the details i know so i'm just going to copy some info on here from the avanti italia website, and i'll leave you with that.

"Our main method of outreach is teaching private Bible lessons in the English language. In advertising, we are completely up-front about our purpose. Our team members teach an average of 15 Bible lessons a week, and we often have to place names of interested persons on a waiting list. We have developed our own curriculum, which includes basic grammar lessons, a set of "bridge" lessons that span the gap from grammar review to English conversation about the Bible, our own editions of the Shawn Daggett "English Using the Bible" books, and advanced studies in the core Gospel message.

Besides our private lessons, we organize an evangelistic study in Italian at the Bible School on Tuesday nights. We also have a weekly women’s Bible Study. On Thursday nights, we attend another Bible study at the church building for discussions among Christians. In addition, we strive to serve the members of the churches of Christ throughout the entire country by hosting seminars with guest speakers and sending invitations out to all of the Italian congregations. In August, we help with a yearly retreat sponsored by the Florence congregation. At this lectureship we meet Christians from all over the country who often invite us to help with their projects.

Much of our work could be described as friendship evangelism. We make friends with people and share God's saving message with them. To get to know our students better and to help them get to know each other and the members of the Florence congregation, we often organize evenings of games, music, food, or a video. Sometimes we help with summer camps for young people from the Italian churches. Whether we are having friends over, going to eat at someone's house, or taking an excursion together, we're never lacking opportunities to share the love of Christ with our friends.

Each team member is committed to finding ways of using his or her individual talents to contact more and more people for God's glory. For example, some have become members of the Scandicci band. As a result, several of our students have come from the band, and two have been baptized. Other A.I. members have coached boys' basketball, taught music in the public school system, helped with a local ambulance service, and volunteered at the local hospital. Each member tries to find his or her niche."

"Most of our work is centered at the Florence Bible School in Scandicci, which has a living/dining room, kitchen, large classroom, library, offices, and living quarters. We also teach some Bible lessons at the Florence church building located in Florence proper, and occasionally we travel to other cities to help out with special projects or seminars. After sufficient orientation and language study, A.I. members may be assigned to work full-time with congregations outside of Florence. In such cases, the workers are closely supervised by the local church leaders and by the Woodroofs on a regular basis."

Friday, June 11, 2010

something to blog about

can you believe it? it's almost been 6 months. but something happened in january that just made everything else seem more important than blogging.

i went to hear shane claiborne speak at caritas village one night. i have read his books, and i know he's just a guy, but it is impossible (if you have a soul) to listen to him and not be moved. he tells the most moving stories of LOVE...just pure love. rich loving the poor, good loving the evil, hopeful loving the hopeless, and the amazing things they do for each other when they are filled with GOD'S love. needless to say, i was encouraged, changed even. my experiences in guatemala, haiti, belize, ghana, and inner city memphis had made me restless with everyday life, restless because i knew there was so much more and i was not a part of it. hearing shane in person just pushed me over the edge. i couldn't sleep that night thinking of all the things i was going to do. buy a house in the ghetto and feed homeless people, move to guatemala and work in a clinic in the jungle, join the peace corps, open an orphanage, plant urban gardens... the list goes on.

while my husband (bless his soul) dealt with my multiple personalities, i tried to process my feelings. when i had finally come to the conclusion that for now i was just going to be the best nurse i could be, start tutoring for hopeworks, and keep tutoring for MUM, i got an email.

this was just a group email from the recruiter of avanti italia reminding me that when i was doing my semester in florence, italy during college, i signed my name to a list saying that some day i might be interested in participating. of course if i was single i would have signed up the day i graduated, but i never thought ryan would be willing to do 2 years of mission work outside the country. I WAS WRONG. a few days after i had deleted the email and wiped the impossible thought of avanti italia out of my mind, my husband came to me and said "have you ever heard of avanti italia?"

from that day, we started the long and laborious process of fundraising for 2 years of mission work for 2 people. everyday has been a test of our faith, and it has become stronger because of every day. there have been so many generous people who have come into our lives and made this far off idea so possible. i really can't even begin to explain the feelings of gratefulness that i have for these people who are supporting us in a mission to people none of us have ever met. we are still short a few hundred dollars a month, but i know that God will provide, look at what he's done for us already. i cry every time i think about it.

so that's the deal. we have a church that will manage and distribute our funds while we are there. we just bought our plane tickets last week, and we are now in the extensive process of applying for visas. our last day of work is july 31, then we will move out of our apt, visit family, go to 2 weeks of missionary training, and fly out september 8.

since we began this journey, it's like i have been holding my breath waiting for it all to work out. all my thoughts have been focused on this mission and if it's really what God has planned for us. i almost kept myself from getting excited or talking about it, because i couldn't stand the thought of it not working out and having to tell everyone. now i feel like i can let out the breath that i've been holding for so long, and then i can take one in and let it out... and breathe normally again feeling confident in the fact that THIS is God's plan for us right now. wow, it feels so good to say that, because i finally really know.

so, i think i'm back to blogging, that is. in the future, i'll explain the ins and outs of AVANTI ITALIA and what we will be doing during these 2 years. for now, i'm relieved. relieved that God is in control and not me. and i can't wait to see what else is in the works for us!