A country with many churches, but few believers, is where we are stationed. It's crazy to see how many people live here in Naples Italy and do not want to change their bad habits of smoking, polluting, trashing the city, and not knowing Jesus Christ. My second day here in Italy I began talking to a twelve year old girl named Valentina--who could speak simple English. She was so pleased to be actually talking to an "Americano" as she would say. We talked about food, basketball, our favorite things, and then eventually Jesus Christ.
Valentina was some what confused about what I was talking about at first and thought I was just telling her to attend her church. After about 30 minutes of explanation, she was able to catch on, and became extremely interested in the phrase "having a relationship with Jesus Christ." Soon after, Valentina prayed with me to accept Jesus into her heart. This experience brought joy to my life and I will continue to pray for her faith and relationship. Everyday that we have been at the parks I have been able to spend more time with Valentina. She is going to grow into a great young lady, and it's a great feeling to know I have been a part of that.
On a different note some of the guys came over to our apartment (cause us girls got the big roomy plaice) and we played some cards and just chatted. We played a couple hands of Kings Corner (or Kings Castle--as some of the team renamed it). But finally we made it to an intensive game of Egyptian Rat Screw, while Nash, Ted, Adam, Alyss, and J.J. had already lost all of their cards, it was down to Bake and I until J.J. "slapped" back into the game and stole all my cards! So props to J.J. although Bake pulled out the 'W' in the end. It's good to get to know all of the team even more while on this trip, and talk about our faith in Christ while having a good time.
I was telling BW today that while it seems like we have been here for so long, at the same time this trip is flying by! We had our second Belmont team processing time and lucky it was not as intense, but super informative and active with information about our journey this far, as well as plans for when we head back to the states. It's great to see how much we have grown together. Of course after leaving that; Nash, Ted, Alyssa, Cacy and I had to have our own processing time. I've never felt closer to a group of girls in my life, and I know God sent the five of us here on a trip together for a reason. I am so happy to be here knowing the days and time we have are slowly fading, I have already gained so much more faith in God and I can tell the city of Naples sees that in the magnificent team we brought here.
I am pleased to see the interest and eyes that are brought our way not only because we are tall (well extra tall) Americans with something to say, but it shows God gave us the ability to play basketball, to spread His word, and to be here in this struggling area of Naples. Although walking all over this place is tiring, I think we walk so people can see us and basketball players and the cross on our shorts and shirts. At first I was unsure of walking 5 miles everyday, but now it makes sense when we stop for gelato (ice cream) every day (HaHa!) Most of us struggle deciding what two flavors to choose for the day. After the tasty treat we head to the parks - where I met Valentina. These days will be times, moments, and memories I will never forget.
P.S. If I could only write it all, but I don't have 3 days to to it!