Day 1 we woke up after restful sleep and surprising adjustment to the time change with the peaceful rumble of a small waterfall outside our window. The air was crisp and dewy with rain sprinkling across the hazy Italian hills of Loro Cuiffenna. It was our only day of questionable weather, but we were determined to explore this tiny town before the day’s end.
Our first adventure started at breakfast.
Let me start by saying that Europeans know how to do breakfast right. Our residence thankfully served daily breakfast and dinner, which was incredibly convenient. Sweet pastries, savory meats and cheeses accompanied with custom espresso orders. Pure heaven. Am I making you hungry yet?
As we sat down to indulge in our hearty meal, we exchanged greetings with a family we had noticed the evening prior at dinner. They apologized for wearing the same clothes from the day before (as if we had really noticed through our jet-lagged, puffy eyes).
During our conversation, we learned more about their lives including their testimony about God’s provision of children late in their lives and raising a daughter with several disabilities. It quickly became apparent that we had been graced with the presence of a fellow family in Christ.
We further found out that they were in Italy to visit a daughter who had been studying abroad, but that this sweet, southern Californian family’s luggage had unfortunately been lost.
Upon discovering this dilemma, we quickly offered any of our belonging to share with them while they waited for the delivery of their bags. They humbly declined, but only requested to borrow an umbrella if possible. The daughter with disabilities was accompanying them on their travels and it would be difficult for her to travel outside on this rainy day without some shelter from the elements.
David and I had in fact brought a small umbrella that would fulfill their simple request, and we offered it to them without hesitation.
We prayed for them and hoped they wouldn’t be without their belonging for much longer, and a few days later, they gratefully returned the umbrella and informed us that their lost luggage had finally arrived. We rejoiced in their good news and God’s perfect timing.
It was truly a joy to experience fellowship with other believers so far from our own homes. And it was amazing to think that for some unknown reason, God prompted our meeting and time together halfway around the world. Reflecting back on our journey, I’ve pondered the apostle John’s lesson to be kind to strangers because we never know if we are entertaining angels.”Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).
When we truly consider the status of our belongings, they aren’t actually ours at all. Everything belongs to God: our homes, our clothes, our cars, our children, our spouses, and even our time. When we commit our lives to Him, we must allow the Holy Spirit to complete God’s works through us.
It was a rather simple task to offer an inexpensive item to a kind family, but the lesson of the situation resonated much deeper in my heart: Would I be willing to give/lend something of much greater value? Or even more, would I be willing to give it to someone less kind if God was prompting me to do so?
I am reminded of the fellowship God shows us in the early church in as recorded in Acts2:44-47:
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
It is essential that we remember the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In a busy generation, full of people whose primary aspirations in life are to make more money and to have higher status through careers or belongings, we must separate ourselves from the world. We must be the salt and light.
While I would hardly consider the small contribution we made to that family to be anything life-changing to them, but I know in my heart the impact that this lesson had on me. I would love to hear your stories of how God has used you to provide for others or how God used others to provide something for you! Let’s encourage one another in sharing about our great God.
And as promised, here are several pictures of our adventures exploring!