MMT 23–Italy, Part 1

On the drive to Italy, we were supposed to spend our time practicing Italian.

Mountain on the way to Italy

The drive to Italy

We had trouble concentrating, though. I heard a rumor that some people were listening to Pavarotti, too.

When we arrived at our host church in Fontannafredda, we felt very welcome. Why? Well, there was a welcome sign.


There was a nice comfy seating area, and wifi.

Fontannafredda (15)Some people talk about how they love to get away from their computers. They shut down their e-mail. They voluntarily turn off their computers on the weekend.

We are not those people.

I wish I had pictures of the wonderful American military families that met us at the church and served us American food for supper. Instead, you’ll have to be content with a picture of the bookshelf.

Fontannafredda (17)The bookshelf  had English books for sale. Some of us spent half our souvenir money on English books there, because we had already read all the books we brought with us. And some of us bought books from that shelf and still haven’t finished reading them because we read our friends’ books instead.

It’s a good thing we studied our Italian in the car, because we definitely weren’t studying now.

Fontannafredda (21)Some of us were singing, though. The birthday crew used the wifi connection to sing the birthday song to Megan McCauley. Then the rest of us lost our connections because Dr. Mom’s video chat used up the whole bandwidth. At least we were amused by the birthday crew.

After the amazing American supper, it was time to do what we came to do–proclaim God’s love through song and word. The pastor, Rob Krause, had arranged for us to give a concert in the nearby town of Sacile.

Fontannafredda (90)20Those are our posters on the doors of the concert hall. The concert was advertised as a free evening of music, a gift to bless the community. We were thrilled that we could give them more than music. We gave them the truth of God’s love. Afterward, we got to meet lots of people, and Rob had some great conversations with people who wanted to know more about what they had heard. It was a wonderful evening.

The next day, Rob showed us around town. He told us the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of the history of the area, and an old Italian man in a striped shirt made sure that Rob told us how the American helicopter placed the angel on top of the tower.

Fontannafredda (64)

Fontannafredda (86)

The angel spins when the wind blows.

A friend of Rob’s wanted to give us all pizza for lunch. We didn’t complain.

Fontannafredda (132)After lunch, we walked around another neat, old Italian town, and in the evening, we had another concert in a different town. The next day, we had to leave, but fortunately, we weren’t leaving Italy yet.


MMT 22–Vienna, Austria

It’s been a while, I know. But now, we return to our irregularly scheduled mission team reports. At the rate I’m going, I’ll have to hurry to finish these before the mission team goes out again (without me this time, though).

After two days in very rural Slovakia, we headed to Vienna, Austria.

Thoughts about Vienna:

  • Vienna is spelled “Wien” in German.
  • In 2008, we did a service in Vienna, but didn’t have time to see anything in the city. That was distracting.
  • Vienna is very different from rural Slovakia. I saw no goats in Vienna.
  • The music majors on the team were incredible happy to be in Vienna.
  • Finally, we were thrilled to hear German. After two days of hearing Slovakian, German sounded wonderful. Compared to Slovakian, German seemed like our native language.

Happenings in Vienna:

We arrived at our host church in Vienna, unloaded a bunch of stuff, checked e-mail, grabbed our concert clothes, and headed off to a nearby town (I think it was called Krems) for supper and a service at a Romanian Baptist Church. The church people took us out for genuine Wiener schnitzel before the service. The schnitzel were amazing–they tasted wonderful, and they were huge. So we stuffed ourselves on wonderful schnitzel, and then we went back to the church for dessert. Really. I think there was lots of left-over dessert.

The people at the Romanian church were friendly and fun to talk with. Their building was new, and they were really trying to reach out into their community. They especially wanted the local German speakers to know that they were welcome (i.e., the church isn’t just for Romanians). Hopefully our service helped with that. We certainly didn’t sing in Romanian!

Kai and Missy Soltau were our main hosts in Vienna, and both of them had just lost a parent. They were kind and encouraging to us, even though they were hurting. They were a walking testimony of God’s grace while we were there, and I hope that we were able to encourage them in some small way.

The next day we had a whirlwind tour through Vienna. There was no way that we could visit everything, so first we drove around, and Kai pointed out the important buildings. We all went to St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stefansdom), and we got permission to sing a few songs inside! This was particularly cool, because Haydn and Mozart both performed there. We always try to sing inside cathedrals, but sometimes it doesn’t work out, especially in the bigger ones. This was definitely a big cathedral, but we got permission to sing, and a crowd gathered. We were able to testify about God’s love, and several people asked questions afterward.

After Stefansdom, we got gelato, and visited as many buildings as we could. Then, we went back to the church for supper and did a service at Kai’s church.

Kai and Missy Soltau
Singing in Stefansdom
The crowd listening
We love gelato!
Statue of Mozart



“But you denied the Holy and Righteous one . . . and you killed the Author of life.” Acts 3:14-15

Injustice bothers me. I’ll see people who seem to get away with terrible things, and suffer no consequences. Sometimes, my sense of injustice makes it hard for me to function. I’ll become obsessed with an unjust situation, and find it hard to think about anything else.

When I read this passage last night, I thought, “This is injustice.” We rebelled against God, and then rejected the One He sent to save us. We killed the Author of Life. Justice demands punishment. God did satisfy His own justice, but not by punishing us. God showed mercy to mankind and to me personally. He let me live and allowed me to see what Christ was really for.

We killed the Author of Life, but that didn’t stop Him from His purpose. Still, He gives us life.

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Google Error

Today when I was using Google Insights for Search, my Google toolbar observed that the page was in Ukranian and helpfully offered to translate it for me.

Thanks, Google, but actually this page is not in Ukranian.

Google thinks the page is in Ukranian.

Google thinks the page is in Ukranian.

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