Yesterday was our first full day in Italy. The first session of my Bible seminar is this evening (Friday) and continues tomorrow morning and afternoon. I speak as well in the regular Sunday morning service. Robin’s talk is on Sunday afternoon.
We are staying with new friends in Fornovo, which is about a half hour outside of Parma. Yesterday morning we got to see a bit of Parma. This is me and Robin standing in front of a palatial municipal building.
The ancient churches with the abundance of frescos (paintings painted on the plaster walls, the other old buildings, and narrow streets told me we are really in Italy, not to mention my first capaccino at a sidewalk cafe (the cafe pictured here with Robin doing one of her favorite things: getting to know a new friend (visiting Parma from South Africa).
Almost every street had an interesting view:
Later in the afternoon we went to Torrechiara, one of the many castles in the region. It was first built in 1464.
I will never think of “a man’s home is his castle” or “I am king of the castle” in the same way again!
While most of the castle’s room were empty, the houses within the protection of its walls are occupied:
In the evening we went to a last minute church meeting in the place where the seminar will be held. A man from Holland who recently retired after over 40 years with the organization “The Navigators”, about twenty of which were in Northern Italy, was leading a trip with several of his long-time supporters, also from Holland. At one point he was interviewing one of his Dutch companions, asking questions in Dutch and then translating both the questions and answers into Italian. Our host was sitting with us, quietly translating into English. Sitting behind us was someone else translating into Spanish for another visitor.
This particular congregation is predominately Latin American, but Italian speaking. There are people from such places as Spain, Brazil , and the Dominican Republic, some Africans , and even Italians! Both Robin and I, for a long time, have had a heart for the gathering of nations, but didn’t expect to experience it to this extent in Northern Italy.
If you are a praying person, please be praying for us as our formal teaching begins tonight.