Just one week ago we were in Chicago to apply for our visas. So much has happened since then and we wanted get you all up to speed. For months the big question has been, “When are you going to be leaving for Italy?”

We haven’t had a good answer for people because there were so many things that had to happen before we could schedule our departure date and buy the plane tickets. But one week ago the last piece fell into place when we received approval for our visas. We were officially released by our sending organization, Operation Mobilization, to GO!

So, we now have an answer to the big question folks! We will be leaving for Italy…drum roll please…

January 1, 2012 at 2:55 PM!

New Years Day we will take another massive step of faith in this journey God has us on. We are due to arrive in Milan, Italy on January 2nd to begin a new chapter in our lives.

After months of preparing and praying it is surreal to realize that it is all really happening. It’s clear that God wants us there. We’ve watched Him pave the way for us to get there as He’s moved mountains. He sold our condo, moved people’s hearts to pray for us and support us, and granted us our visas. There were people out there who thought that getting to Italy was an impossible task and that God could or would not make this miracle happen. Well, I now know more than ever that there is nothing that is too big for God. This past year was hard for us, but God was in it through good and bad. He accomplished this miracle in our lives and He is the one who deserves the glory for this whole process. “To God be the glory, forever and ever.”

God never ceases to surprise us! Not only did He give us our visas last week, but He also gave us another awesome gift. On Tuesday night I received a phone call saying that I won a grand prize in a contest I entered (you know, one of those contests that you enter thinking you’ll never win, but it can’t hurt to sign up). It was a trip to Chicago and Milwaukee for 2 nights 3 days all expense paid (plane tickets/hotels) except for food. I never win things like this. It was something we couldn’t pass up.

The Graphic below gives you some of the highlights of our trip!

So we came back (from our trip to Chicago to apply for our visas) to Ohio on Wednesday and flew back to Chicago on Thursday. Kind of funny! Apparently God wanted us to relax and enjoy life for a special getaway weekend as a couple. We have not had a chance to get any days off this last year and relax. We have been going at 100 m/p/h this year, but God allowed us to stop and enjoy His goodness for a weekend vacation.

A company that I love which makes bags for bicyclists sponsored the trip. So in addition to the trip, we got some awesome laptops bags/backpacks to use in Italy from them while we were in Chicago. It is just awesome how God takes care of his people. We are so humbled by how God has taken care of us this past year. We are excited to see how He is going to use us in Italy when we get there in a couple weeks.

Please keep us in your prayers for the last several days we have here in Ohio. We are excited to leave and do God’s work in Italy, but we will have to say goodbye (see you later) to family and friends, which will be very difficult. We’d appreciate your prayers especially around 1pm on New Years Day when the teary-eyed final goodbyes will be happening at the airport. In the meantime, pray that we have a sweet time with family over Christmas. May you enjoy Christmastime with your loved ones as well.

Thanks for taking this journey with us! We look forward to updating you next year!