Another amazing week!  We stayed close to Verona this week and visited all of the mountain areas.  I absolutely LOVE the small towns here – they are definitely unique and have an awesome character to them.  Some of the roads are so narrow and small that you would NEVER THINK a car could possibly fit down them… let alone 2 cars!  Going up to the town of SAN ZENO was frightening and exciting at the same time.  I have a greater respect for my husband’s driving skills and his ability to adapt to every situation.  There were so many older people in San Zeno – we learned that much of the older community in Italy retire to the mountains.  It is quieter, the way of life is much slower, and not to mention the absolute beauty of the place.  In these small towns were 80 year old women on scooters riding around!  It’s like your youth is extended in some of these places.  There is also a great respect for the elderly here – it is not uncommon to find people walking around holding hands with their grandparents or fathers and mothers.   There is a real sense of community here that I have not experienced in other places.   Lou and I were looking at prices of condo’s and thought… hmmm… maybe someday!  LOL.

While sitting at Lake Garda and looking up at the amazing mountains and landscape around you, you cannot help but see the glory of God. I kept thinking, if this place is this beautiful, imagine what heaven will be like!  It is beyond our understanding to know the creative power of our God and His incredible ability to engineer such amazing places.

Please pray for the church here.  We are getting to know some of the people now and the international community in Italy has some particularly challenging issues.  Many of the people who immigrate to this country are looking for a better life for their children and families.  Some may have had professional positions in their previous life, but here in Italy if you are not a citizen, opportunities for employment are very limited. Even if you have qualifications, you are overlooked at times because you were not born here.  Many internationals though are open to the gospel and the church here has a real opportunity to reach out to them, especially in time of need.  It has been a privilege to see the faith of some of these folks who left everything in their previous country to start fresh – God is faithful and He gives favor to His people.



What a great week we have had!  International Christian Fellowship in Verona was wonderful to minister in! The people are so hospitable and kind.  Pastor Lou preached the first message in our series “slaying the three headed dragon”.  You can sense God’s presence here and the people are very open to the Word of God.  Pastor Titi – the associate Pastor here – is a wonderful,  godly man.  He has done a great job leading this congregation while their Pastor is away.

We had another chance to minister to some young women from Lithuania.  They were travelling together on the same train as us when we were going to Venice.  We got into a great conversation about faith, culture, and our countries.  They thought that Christians were very judgmental and we got to speak to them about that.  At the end of the train ride, they had forgotten to validate their ticket at the beginning of the ride and the officer told them they must pay a hefty fine!  They were so upset and did not have the money.  Pastor Lou and I were able to help them out and the young women had tears in their eyes because they could not believe our kindness.  Please PRAY for these girls – we do not even know their names, but we do believe this was a divine appointment.   We have given them a new vision of what it means to serve Jesus!

Our 3 days in Venice were INCREDIBLE! One of the most interesting and confusing cities we have ever been in!  Every single scene is beautiful – even some of the old buildings that look like they need repair.  Pastor Lou has taken SO MANY PHOTO’S I think our memory card will EXPLODE!  You can see some of these on our facebook pages…. If you dare!

Doge’s palace was , by far the most outstanding place here.  Just incredible… you can hardly describe it.  What pride these Venetians had in their city! They were also very exclusive, which was evident when we visited the Jewish Ghetto.  “Ghetto”?  Did I really mean that here in Venice?  Yes, I was surprised too.  We took a tour down the streets of where the Jews were allowed to live here in Venice – you would not believe how small the area is for a population that reached the thousands at one point.  There is also plaques and pictures all over the walls that commemorate WWII and the many that were lead to their death.  Incredible.

The beauty and the history of this place is overwhelming at times.  Friday we will take some time to visit another Assemblies of God missionary of ours in PADOVA ITALY.  We will spend some time with his church and see another new city!


We Made It!!!

Kris at the Roman Theater.

We made it!  What a beautiful place Italy is.  After being jet-lagged for 3 days, we are finally getting our biological time-clock correct.  We were met here by another missionary couple who were so WONDERFUL to show us around the town and acclimate us into our new culture.  It has been a fun time just getting adjusted to the new language and “way of doing things”.

Our first time driving in the town was quite an experience!  Pastor Lou is already a city driver, so it was not too difficult to learn how to get around and maneuver our way to get to where we need to be.  But I did have to close my eyes a number of times!!  Not knowing what the signs are saying is also challenging.

Last night we spent the evening in Bible study with the wonderful church here – International Christian Fellowship.  There were families from Peru, Africa, Romania, and Albania.  Such diversity!  It reminded us of our own congregation. They were so eager to learn the Word and very hospitable.

Today was spent walking all over the city of Verona – The highlight was definitely the archeological museum.  Pastor Lou and I love history, so this was a real treat!  It makes you want to go watch gladiator or something like that !  More to come!

Maturity in Marriage

Ever think about what the real goal of marriage is?  There are so many times when we struggle in our relationship with our spouse and we work through our personality differences, control issues, and problems.  If you think over your married life, how many different challenges have you had to overcome as a couple?  Some difficulties may be serious like infidelity, pornography, or drug related issues, but there are other problems that are common to all of us… such as: forgiveness, patience, anger toward your mate and so forth.

There is so much effort that goes into making a healthy marriage. We learn to give of ourselves, submit to one another, and pray through difficult seasons.  Sometimes I think that God intended it to be this way. Marriage was never meant to be easy.  Even from the fall in the garden of Eden,  there were serious challenges between men and women. These challenges  prevent  us from having healthy, harmonious relationships. But the GOOD NEWS is that in CHRIST this curse can be overcome through submission to the Holy Spirit. When we submit our will to GOD’S WILL, our relationships on earth get better. God will use all of the challenges we face to MATURE us personally as well as in our walk with God.  He works in our hearts and as WE change… the relationship changes.

I believe the real GOAL in marriage is MATURITY. Through the good times and the bad, God is working something in our lives. He is bringing us to a point of surrender to HIM and a place of unity to that most important person in our life – your mate.  Maturity helps us see beyond ourselves and look outward toward others. Jesus while on earth was never married. We are His bride. You can clearly see the way he GAVE himself continually and unconditionally to His church. His example is a clear picture of the maturity and the love that we are to have for our spouse.

Wherever you are in your relationship today… start fresh. Ask God to help you see your differences as his way of maturing you, and shaping you to become more like Jesus. The goal is maturity in Christ and Unity with our spouse.  The two SHALL become ONE.

When I think of the benefits of serving Christ, I automatically think of a life lived in FREEDOM and not fear. What are the things we fear today?  We fear financial collapse, health problems, the future, for our children, and any other number of problems.  Fear can keep us from moving forward in our life. It makes us focus on OUR ability and not GOD’S ability. It keep our hearts on the defense rather than the offense. Fear creeps into our lives and paralyzes us from moving forward with faith and makes us live in discontent because we don’t have the courage to try new things.

The benefit of serving Christ is a life that is SECURE in His hands. Living for Christ brings such freedom! There is a poem called “IT DEPENDS WHOSE HANDS IT’S IN”

Read the words of this poem and remember that today your life is in God’s hands.

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is
worth about $33 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6
A baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea
It depends whose hands it’s in

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands
is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s
hands will feed thousands It depends whose hands it’s in

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce
salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it’s in

As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
your hopes, your dreams, your families and
your relationships in God’s hands because

It depends whose hands it’s in.

Today, remember that your life is in God’s hands.  I choose today to have faith in God for all things and not give in to the attitude of fear that permeates our society. Faith over fear = a great future!

Toxic Religion

Ever wonder what Christ thinks about your church? Your programs? Your set of beliefs? The longer I am a Christian, I realize how much room for error there truly is in regards to true Christianity.  Many of the things we do and perform on a weekly basis, that we call Christian, have no bearing on eternal things.  It is so easy to fall into a religious tradition, rather than have a thriving, real RELATIONSHIP with God.  Christ has called us into a personal relationship with Him. This relationship is not based on what I can do to deserve it, it is simply based on HIS WORK on the cross. This relationship is not based on outward appearance, but on the passion of our heart.

There are so many times I have to STOP all activity and ask myself… where is my heart? Is it truly Christ focused and striving to know Him more, or is it complacent and stained with a stale Christianity.  When I consider TOXIC RELIGION, I can’t help but think of something that is supposed to be pure and holy being slowly poisoned. People who live in TOXIC religion, exist in a system of thought that has nothing to do with faith at all. It’s all about the appearance of holiness and the good works. True relationship with God is based on a heart of humility, a heart of surrender. It is not focused on what others think of Me, but on what God thinks of me.

How can you tell if you are living in Toxic Religion rather than a thriving relationship with God? These are some questions I ask myself when considering this….

1 – Do I care more about what others think of me than what Christ thinks of me?

2 – Do I feel like God talks with me regularly and I am obedient to his leading?

3 – How much importance do I place on doing “good deeds” to make myself feel good about my relationship with God?

Jesus wants a passionate, thriving relationship with us even more than we want it with Him. Stop what you are doing today, say a prayer, and ask Christ to energize, revive, and inspire your relationship with Him to a new level. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

This was a very interesting weekend. I don’t know if you have ever experienced times with your kids when things were completely out of your control.  I have to be honest and say that up until this weekend, I felt like most of the last 19 years of parenting were pretty controlled. Not that we haven’t had difficult times or moments that were scary, but overall things have been pretty smooth.

This weekend when my son presented with abdominal pain that resulted in a critical surgery, I think my perspective on “control” changed. Sitting in the ER and being told that your child needs a surgery, and the person who is going to perform this great feat, you just met 10 minutes ago.  This requires a level of trust in a person I have never met before in my life… that is very scary to me.  I learned that as parents we can’t always have the upper hand in situations that involve their children.   We can ‘t always have our schedule, plans, disciplines, desires, and dreams for our children. This is a sobering thought and it brings us to the realization that they really aren’t just “our children”…. They are God’s.  Until that resolve is tested, you don’t really know how much faith you have in God and His care of your children.  I learned this weekend how much more growing I need to do in the area of TRUST with my heavenly Father. It’s so easy to have faith for ourselves, even for others, but when it comes to our children, we get a protective, defensive attitude… even with God sometimes.  Our children belong to the Lord. Their beginning and ending will be with Him. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to learn surrender. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, had to learn surrender. Abraham, the father of Isaac, had to learn surrender.

No matter what you are facing today in the area of surrendering control of your child, I encourage you to trust God with all of your heart. Whether it is a health condition, a rebellious child, a child on drugs, or any other situation… give control to the Lord. He knows the purpose and plan for your child even better than you.

By the way… my son is doing GREAT now!  We made it through!