Last time we wrote on our blog, it was from a discouraged place of prolonged waiting for our return to Italy. So much has changed since then! Now we are at the beginning of a new chapter IN ITALY! It sure has been a whirlwind in between, but today I’m sitting in our new Italian home finally taking the time to fill you in on the details of our transition over the past several weeks.
In mid-September we took some time and space as a family to focus on prayer about the season ahead and asked the Lord for wisdom about next steps. After much consideration, we felt the Lord confirm that we should take a step of faith and plan our departure for Italy. We were still waiting on the last several percent of our financial goals to be met and for our visas to come through. However, we bought plane tickets that would get us on the ground in time for an important ministry event we were facilitating in Italy at the end of October.
We were so relieved to finally have a date on the calendar for our return to Italy after almost 2 years away! We had one month to prepare our family for the international move which included countless tasks and details. Thus began the domino effect of attending to all the necessary tasks preceding our departure.
We sorted all our earthly possessions packing some away in long term storage (thanks Mom and Dad!), some in a large container that we shipped off ahead of us, and the rest in a few suitcases to hand carry with us on the plane. This is generally a dreadful process of making decision after decision about what stays and what goes and how to get it all there in one piece for the least expensive price possible. It’s moving, taken to a whole new level and we are SO glad to be on the other side of that process now!
We spent hours organizing paperwork and completing forms in order to obtain necessary legal documents. We then made more trips to the Italian Consulate in Detroit to turn in more documents required for our visas. We were almost denied our request for final approval of the visas but God made a way and we received them in hand just 3 days before our flight!
We squeezed in final wellness checks for the kiddos, dentist visits, and other errands because those things are no fun but even less fun to try and accomplish in a different country with a whole different medical system and way of life.
We were commissioned by our sending church, celebrated at a going away party with supporters and friends and savored making some last precious memories with family.
Then before we knew it, the long awaited departure day (one that had been postponed and rescheduled a few times over the past couple years) was here. So bittersweet and surreal. Local family gathered at the airport before the flight where we spent one last hour together before saying our tearful goodbyes.
The girls did wonderful during all three flights spanning our 20 hour journey. Thankfully they are both great travelers and our trip was smooth except for one 3 hour delay between our 2nd and 3rd leg. On October 20th we landed in Italy! Our luggage all made it too. We were greeted at the airport by two of our colleagues/teammates in Bologna who took us to the apartment God had provided for us to rent.
They had prepared it for our arrival making for a warm welcome. We were jet-lagged and had a long road of settling ahead of us, but we were so happy to be home, finally in Italy again!
Caryl Johnson said:
Hi, Jon and Erika….thanks, this was fun to read so we could experience the return with you as well as the family good-byes plus the commissioning at your church. We
love those times at our church, as well.
I just addressed your Christmas card to the Ohio address, realizing you most likely will not get it until after Christmas, so am thinking about doing an American Greeting card to your email.
Prayers with love added!!
Caryl and Gordon
Here is a contrast in our ages you will enjoy I am sure!! Yesterday I picked up 3 gas cards for our youngest daughter’s teenagers (ha-ha)….she informed me and they confirmed that – that was what they would like!! I had offered to take them shopping, but they prefer to do that themselves with friends….from dependent to very independent is the picture I am describing (giggle!!).
Jon and Erika Tello said:
I’m so glad you enjoyed reading! Thanks for sending the Christmas card, love and prayers!
Deb & Jim Sykora said:
So happy to see that after all the preparations, you are finally back in Italy. God bless your family and ministry as you go forward. With prayers and blessings.
Jon and Erika Tello said:
Thanks so much Deb and Jim! We are glad to be back!