Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A House Fulfilling its Destiny

When we began looking at houses to rent last August before our move to Portugal, Denny and I thought we had a clear idea of what we wanted and needed. Yet, as we visited one place after another, God spoke to us even more about the kind of house He wanted for us, the kind of space He wanted us to create, not only for our own family, but for all those who would come through our doors. The more we searched, the more impossible the task of finding that place seemed, until our last day here before heading back to Italy, when we saw this beautiful house, the one that is now our home.

After moving in on the first of October, we set to work, to transform it... t
o create the environment that we felt each room should have, to fulfill its purpose. The living room/dining room - big and spacious, yet so "homey". The cozy, practical kitchen with it's corner bench table - a perfect place for a chat over coffee or tea. The family room - great for movies and meetings. The bedrooms - each suiting the needs of its occupant, decorated with memories of life in Italy and hopes for the future.

All rooms that have been in constant use since we moved in... giving a sense of warmth and shape to our family life, hosting dinners, meetings, movie nights, chats with friends, young people needing a place to work or to rest or to just be... all that we felt these rooms would become.

What had remained "in limbo" was the room we
had set aside as a practice room for Triplet, the Portuguese band we're working with here (and our good friends). It's been sitting - basically untouched - serving only as a storage room for our sound and light systems and a host of musical instruments. We've been working to raise funds, while searching for the best materials and the manpower, to soundproof it so the band could begin using it regularly to practice. But still it remained a storage room.

This week, in view of their upcoming gigs - Thursday in Lisbon for MSN Portugal, Friday and Saturday in the Algarve - Triplet needed a place to practice. So, in lieu of "the real thing", Denny, Ben and Ruben (Triplet's guitarist and bass player) set to work soundproofing that room with the resources we had on hand - a roll of industrial carpeting, mattresses, pillows, blankets - you name it, it's hanging in there.

And last night, when the first sounds of Triplet's songs began to fill the house (not near as loudly as I had anticipated :o), I felt such a sense of completion... like finally, that room was fulfilling its destiny, being used for the purpose God had in mind when He gave us this house.
Sure there's still much to be done in every room of this house, but God's faithfulness is so amazing to me. Because as we offer all that we have to Him, He creates something that is so many times greater... and rooms built with brick,mortar and wood become places of destiny.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We had to die

We got a phone call yesterday from one of our friends in Italy, who has been a great supporter of the Rock on the Rock festival from the start and who, along with his wife and kids, has served on staff at the festival since its second year. He lives near Lake Garda and is a leader in the church he and his family are a part of, which is one of the few Evangelical churches on the lake. I remember being at a meeting of all the church leaders in the area a few years ago (there were three churches at the time) and meeting the young pastor of the largest of these churches, who flat out told me that he saw no worth in what we were doing, not only with Rock on the Rock, but with music in general! So, needless to say, we never got any support for the festival from him or his church!
A couple summers ago, I was invited to go and do sound for a youth conference a
t the beach, put on by the denomination that this pastor belongs to. I went along with Maureen & Isaac (they covered all our room and board for a week at the beach, so we thought it was a good deal). I was surprised to meet some decent musicians in the worship band and two of them were in a progressive rock band together. In fact, the one evening, the band was able to let loose in worship and I cranked up the PA, which got the whole place rockin'.
What had, up until then been pretty cut and dry worship times, brought the house down and all the youth were out of their seats dancing and praising!! And guess who was there, quietly observing from the back?
So... back to this phone call from our friend, Giuseppe Sosa. He was calling to tel
l us that he was at this young pastor's church last Saturday for a prog rock concert (yep, the guys we met at the youth conference) and not only was this pastor enjoying it, but at a certain point got up and started letting lose himself - running, shouting and dancing!!! He confessed to Giuseppe that he has changed his ideas concerning music, so we're hopeful that he will get on board with promoting the next Rock on the Rock, as well!!!
One of the verses that came to mind as we were praying about moving to Portugal and about what would become of the festival if we left, was John 12:23 which is:
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Maureen had sensed that our leaving Italy would in some way cause the festival to grow even more and that God would raise up Italians to carry it on. So we're excited about this news about our young pastor friend and are looking forward to hearing many more stories
such as these in the coming months.

We have now entered the blogging zone

Many of our friends in ministry have had blogs for quite some time now, but we thought that MySpace, MSN, Skype, Yahoo!Groups and Emails were sufficient enough to keep in touch with our friends and family around the world. Well, think again!!
I guess since we are opening a whole new chapter in our lives in Portugal, it's time to expand our cyber contact, as well. I doubt that this will be daily,
at least from me, but with both of us at the keyboard, we just might manage a
weekly blog. So welcome to "Tales of Life on the Edge... of Europe" and we hope that you will join in adding spice to this
new chapter of our story.