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Thursday, September 02, 2004

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2004

AUGUST IS VACATION MONTH IN ITALY. Almost everything shuts down, normality comes to an end as people escape to the mountains or hit the beaches. This is the month when you might as well go on vacation too, because the heat can sap your energy level. August is the month when people tend to take long afternoon naps, then go out for a late evening stroll. Some actually go out at midnight, after their late evening meal! As they amble past our house, they talk loud enough that, in the quieter moments when fewer cars go by, we hear snatches of their conversation. It is no little temptation to call out to them: "Would you mind repeating that? We didn?t catch that last word!"

Italy boasts one cellular telephone for every other person! So imagine the night strollers talking on their cellular phones as they promenade past our house. Back in the days when the phone lines were iffy and the connections debatable, many Italians acquired the habit of speaking very loud on the telephones. Seemingly, they believed that the clarity of communication depended entirely on the sheer volume of their voice that rammed the message through the faulty lines! Now, our high tech cellular communication has eliminated the need to yell over the phone to be heard. But our evening strollers (and their daytime cousins) haven't yet learned this, so they carry on noisy conversations under our bedroom window into the night. When they make us unwilling participants in their phone musings, it is no small temptation to yell out the window to them, "Say, would you please give your folks greetings from us too?!" It?s always culturally instructive to watch someone standing quite alone, gesturing vigorously while talking on his cellphone, as if the other party were right there in front of them to see those gestures!

On the evenings when there are no local summertime festivals to bring their noisy crowds and fireworks displays, you are treated to the "music" of motorbikes and motorcycles roaring up and down your street, this high-decibel rumble echoing off of the concrete apartment buildings.

MALCOLM AND DEBBIE FOWLER CAME TO ITALY. So we took our lovely summer break too, hosting our son and his wife for a few days, touring with them at Perugia and Matelica. Since they were to fly to the States from Milano, we took them to Lugano, Switzerland for a brief afternoon tour of the lake. Then it was back to Italy for a substantial surprise meal hosted by parents of Christian friends who live near the airport. Next morning early, after dropping Malcolm and Debbie at the airport, we drove back to Matelica, with a side excursion to the tiny Republic of San Marino. By evening, we were back in Matelica for the weekly Bible study. Thank God for safety on that trip in our faithful Honda Civic station wagon!

CORINTHIAN STUDIES CONTINUE. The Matelica and Ancona churches are proceeding with their studies in 1 Corinthians. Harold prepares PowerPoint presentations of the text or major subjects in this great manual on church problems. Enid prepares and teaches lessons to the children whose parents participate in these seminars. Church attendance has been low due to "the August vacation factor," but with schools starting and factories reopening, people have come flocking back in. In the meantime, we run full blast preparing lessons and printing books.

Thanks to help from Matt Crosser (Ancona), we are looking forward to launching our new website soon. Watch for news of that project.We thank and praise the Lord for His strength, His help, His care and His provisions, making our service here possible, and growing up a church that will honor Him.