Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All Roads Lead to ROME!

Okay, my week got super crazy and I haven't had any time to sit and blog again! Sorry about that! Let's see, I think I left off  in Morocco. On Sunday, July 18th we found ourselves back in an airport headed to Rome. We arrived in the evening and then had to take a taxi to our hotel (which was outside of Rome). We were staying in Rome for a conference called Transform 2010. It took maybe a little less then an hour to get to the city of Pomezia. We ate dinner in the hotel  and then pretty much went to bed! Monday, we didn't have to be checked into the conference until later in the evening... so we had our one and only day off to explore Rome! We met with some other friends that were also at the conference and set out to find the bus stop. After asking lots of people, and backtracking a bit we found the bus stop and waited... when the bus finally did get there, the driver told us that he would charge us 7 euros for one way, but if we went into the store they would only charge us 2 euros. Being on a tight budget we decided to go for the cheaper fare. So, we all managed to get round trip bus tickets and then waited again for the next bus! The bus ride took us to the underground, and that took us into Rome! My first European underground experience! Yeah! 

When we got into Rome, we all decided we were pretty hungry. What do you eat for your first meal in Rome? Pizza of course! I think I had the best pizza of the whole trip here! Very yummy! The other really cool think about Rome (and most of Italy it would seem) is there are really cool drinking water fountains everywhere! They are just running all the time, and they have the best tasting ice cold water coming out of it! It was so nice not to have to buy water all the time! Plus it was over 100 degrees outside and not much shade! So, we were always looking for those fountains! 

After we ate lunch, we started walking toward Trevi Fountain. I have seen pictures of this before, but was so shocked at how big it was! REALLY big! So, after walking around and looking at that for a bit, we decided to move on. I can't even tell you all the buildings we saw, because I don't know what they were. It was really cool to be in a city where just about everything was older then the country we live in! We kept walking, and saw ruins of ancient Rome (which the boys enjoyed trying to imagine what it would have been like to live there!) and then we walked more... and then came to the Coliseum! I have always wanted to see the Coliseum! We didn't actually go inside and tour it (that darn budget again!), but it was fun to walk around and look at it! I heard that really only like 2 Christians actually died there, that there is another coliseum where they killed the Christians... don't know if that is true or not. After we saw this we were SUPER hot and sweaty and decided to start making our way back to the hotel. I know, we didn't see the Vatican, or St. Peters, or the Spanish Steps or tons of other stuff... but I am okay with that. I am happy I got to walk around a bit and did enjoy what I did see! Maybe someday I will go back and explore the rest of it, preferably not in the middle of summer when it is soooo hot and crowded! Here are some pics!

Ellan and Joanne

on the underground

first Italian pizza

getting a cold drink!

Trevi Fountain (a very small part of it!)

cool little car!

our family in front of ancient ruins

Roman Coliseum

original cobblestone street

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Open the gates!

July 14, 2010 found us in an airport on our way to the Southern tip of Spain... a city called Algecerias. We were going to be there for 2 days and then take a ferry to the northern tip of Morocco, a city called Tangier. Why do you ask? Well, let me tell you! The company we work for was doing a summer campaign in the Mediterranean region this summer... I will write more on that maybe tomorrow night! Our family decided at the end of last year that this was something that God was calling us to be a part of. We were with a group of people, some from here in the states and others from Europe, along with a few workers from Spain and Morocco to seek God and really spend time in prayer for all that would be happening in the Med this summer. So, why Spain and Morocco you might be wondering? If you look on a map you will see that there is a channel of water that runs between the 2 countries that leads into the Mediterranean Sea (The Straits of Gibraltar). We wanted to spend time in both of these countries to pray and ask God to "Open the gates" of the Mediterranean for all the work that will be going on there! It was a great few days of prayer and worship!  We also spent time praying for each country that borders the sea. Psalms 24 was the bible passage that kept running through my head during the few days...
 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
   the world and those who dwell therein,
2for he has founded it upon  the seas
   and established it upon the rivers.
 3 ) Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
   And who shall stand in his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
   who does not lift up his soul to what is false
   and does not swear deceitfully.
5He will receive blessing from the LORD
   and righteousness from  the God of his salvation.
6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
   who  seek the face of the God of Jacob.  
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!   And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
   that the King of glory may come in.
8Who is this King of glory?
   The LORD, strong and mighty,
   the LORD, mighty in battle!
9Lift up your heads, O gates!
   And lift them up, O ancient doors,
   that the King of glory may come in.
10Who is this King of glory?
  The LORD of hosts,
   he is the King of glory!

We didn't do any sight seeing really in either country... but both countries reminded me a bit of parts of Turkey that I had been in.  The ferry ride was amazing... it is only like 9 miles wide at its narrowest point. So, you are going down and you have Europe on one side of you and Africa on the other!  When we got to Tangier we then took a bus into the port town and then had to take taxis to where we were staying. The taxi drivers would only take 3 people at a time. So, we all had to split up. I think traffic laws are merely a suggestion... it was crazy!  I knew everyone on our team by this point, but had a bit of a panic attack when I put Devon in a taxi with 2 other people (neither one being Jon or I!), I turned to Jon and said, "don't tell my mom what I just did!" (I guess she knows now!) Ty also got into a taxi with 2 other people and then Jon and I with one other person got the last one. I was relieved when we made it to our destination and both boys were standing there alive and well! Thank you God! They thought it was fun to drive up the narrow streets full of people... I did not! July 18th found us again at another airport headed to Rome, Italy... come back tomorrow and hear about that! Here are some of my favorite pics from our first few days!
Devon brought Wallace with us
flying about the clouds!
 playing at the airport in Spain while waiting for another team member to arrive on a different plane!
our first meal in Spain was actually a Moroccan dish called Tajine... so good!
we were reunited with Fanta Lemon... yummm!
on the ferry, that is Africa in the background!