"...How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" -- Matthew 7:11
We asked for a church, and the Lord delivered so much more. (:
Attending a church in Italy -- let alone finding one -- was more challenging than I anticipated. There were travel excursions planned the first three Sundays in Verona, so we went through a hiatus of no communal worship or service, and I could just feel my soul longing community. Fortunately, through a friend who studied in Verona previously, we got in touch with a few American Christian churches in the vicinity.
We decided to check out a home church made up of two American missionary families. They invited us to evening service — and supper, as well! Kind folks they are. (;
Each week we gather in the family room and sing along to the music/slideshow on the tv screen, listen to a sermon, followed by a home-cooked meal. (: Last week we met two hours earlier to spend more time together. We ate bread, drank tea, played board games, and just enjoyed each other's company.
Sundays with these people have been some of my favorite memories while living in Europe. Sometimes I leave church feeling so overwhelmed with the Lord's love shown through these people. I'm learning more and more why the Lord calls the church beautiful and why he stresses the importance of unity and love within it. Time with the body softens our hearts, allows us to be vulnerable, reveals Christ love in the flesh, reminds us of our purpose, fills us with truth, love, and encouragement, and in turn, reenergizes us to be light in our mission field. And that we can't do it on our own, He never intended it that way. We need the body.
Living in Europe — apart from CFC + LWAC — has definitely developed a new appreciation for a church to call home. For services to regularly look forward to. For a community to worship with. For brothers and sisters to walk life with. For the word preached to prune you. For leaders to hold you accountable. For prayer meetings and revivals to remind you that the Lord wants to transform you. Being here has increased my love and appreciation for the body.
Thank you, Jesus, for your provision. (: