While yesterday marked 2 weeks since our arrival in Italy, it feels like we’ve been here for 2 months already! It is rather incredible how much has happened in such a short amount of time – especially in the last 72 hours!
Just three days ago we were sitting in a real estate agency in our small Italian town. You see, since our arrival we had visited all 5 agencies in town on our hunt for a new home. The search was somewhat difficult because in Italy it is common to rent or buy an unfurnished flat, which means it is empty of everything from the toilet to the light fixtures to the kitchen sink. You can imagine how expensive it is to furnish an apartment like that! So we were seeking at least a partially furnished 2-bedroom flat (room for guests!) and found there were only two of them in the whole town!
We saw the 1st flat early on and were ready to sign the papers, but the owner took several days to set up a meeting with us. In the meantime we saw time ticking away and continued our search. The 2nd and only other option wasn’t as clean and new as the first, but it was bigger, cheaper, and in a more convenient location. After much debate and reorientation of our idea of a new home, we decided to go for #2. So there we sat at the agency to meet the owner of the flat and request her permission to rent it. She was very friendly, easily agreed to have us as her new renters, fairly calculated the annual costs, signed the papers, and gave us the keys in less than a couple hours! Later we even realized the owner knows a family from our church!
That night we excitedly gathered our things from the place where we’d been staying and moved in to our new home! We celebrated by getting pizza at the best place in town, which happens to be a 2 minute walk from our flat, then returned to clean as much as possible before falling into bed. We had church the next morning, which was also just a 2 minute walk from our flat! After sharing coffee with some teammates we had lunch with our team leader and his family – a great time of connecting, relationship building and visioning about our role on the team.
Then we made our way to the nearest IKEA. We were proud to make the hour drive without any wrong turns only to find no parking! It took 30 minutes just to find a spot. Finding a cart was almost just as difficult. But by closing time we’d gathered almost all of the items we went looking for (items we couldn’t bring with such as dishes etc), took them back to the flat, and stayed up late cleaning and unpacking until we couldn’t any longer.
The next day we had 2 important items on our to-do list. First, shop for or buy a car. Second, buy a GPS. We spent a couple hours in the office that morning and then traveled to a car dealership where we met with a salesman we connected with through the church. When we arrived he announced that he had a good car for us. When he showed us the car we had to contain our surprise and excitement. We weren’t sure what car our budget could buy, but this was more than we’d hoped for. It was the size we needed, at the perfect price, at just the right time…and it even looked and drove better than we’d hoped our Italian car would! We signed the contract on the spot and walked away in awe again of God’s provision.
The rest of the day was spent running errands to get other items for the flat as well as a GPS. We’ve found in the past that one of the most valuable things we did for the health of our marriage was to use a GPS. It’s funny, but I’m serious. And we knew that the next morning we would need to drive across 3 countries so it was a good time to buy! Before the night was over we cleaned, unpacked, and arranged the apartment a bit more. And we packed for our trip.
As I write we are less than hour from our destination, the “GO Conference”, hosted by our sending organization, OM, in Mosbach, Germany. It’s a time specifically for dozens of people like us who are just arriving to the OM fields all over the world where God has called them. Over the past several hours we’ve had a chance to look back at all God has accomplished through and for us. He does do miracles! In just 72 hours we’ve:
- rented an apartment
- moved in, cleaned, and partially set-up our new home
- met with teammates
- shopped for and bought a car
- traveled to Germany
Thanks to those who have helped make this a reality! We’re looking forward to some time at the GO Conference when we can focus on what God has to speak to us and how He wants to prepare us for the work ahead. We’ll check back in at the end of the month when we return.