there were about 60-70 italian christians here for this annual retreat and it was such a great time of encouragement and building up of our faith.
so, i already told you about the youth retreat and how powerful and emotional that time was for us. however, the feeling had not yet hit me that this is the end of our stay in italy (for now). that this would be the last time i would see some of my favorite people (for now). then it did hit me. one evening before dinner ryan began some spontaneous singing of some newly translated worship songs. holy lord, here i am to worship...it hit me. i lost it. then i couldn't get it back. the floodgates of emotion had been opened :) my mom is laughing right now because she knows that this "cry at the drop of a hat" thing is something she gave me. but it wasn't the drop of a hat. it was huge.
we are wrapping 2 of the hardest and most wonderful years of our lives. the most bittersweet feeling i've experienced. i'm a completely different person than i was 2 years ago because of things that happened here and the people we've known. it feels so strange to leave it. maybe i'm being dramatic but i don't think i am.
the beautiful thing and the thing that makes it even harder is how sad the italians are too. they love us unconditionally just because we came. they are used to americans coming and and leaving in 2 years but they don't hold back love to keep it from hurting when we leave. they love us strongly and unconditionally regardless. it's moving. god is using that.
so basically after the emotional breakthrough, i walked around like every moment was moving in slow motion. like i was watching a movie. hyper aware. telling myself to remember every detail. soaking up every voice, every smile, every hug. i'll remember it all.
sunday after church telling everyone bye was pretty awful but i know that our work and relationships with these people aren't over.
i couldn't be more thankful.
here are some photos from the week.
|angela italian melissa and american melissa|
|gennaro antonio and us|
|italian laura antonio and francesca|
|our kids class|
|marco the peters natale and ryan watching gennaro do magic|
|my kindred spirit marta|
|elison and matteo|
|matteo and the soccer game|
|giuliano joele and giacomo on the triumph|
|the talent show|
|under the beautiful olive trees|
|the water fight|