Well the time has finally come for us to leave Naples. I'm actually writing this blog as I'm sitting on the plane headed to Chicago. As I look around Alyssa is sound asleep to my right along with Trevor and JJ. Mick, Brandon and Adam are right in front of me catching some zzz's too I guess everyone is pretty exhausted from this trip but what better way to catch up on some sleep then on a 10 hour plane ride?? Oh yea Tristan is up here coloring in her Hello Kitty coloring book with her crayons too :)
I'm excited to be headed back to the states but it was hard leaving Italy too. Last night some tears were shed as we parted ways with our missionaries Shannon and Charlie and their kids who we all grew to love over the past 2 weeks. The city of Naples welcomed us with open arms and by the time we left I could feel the impact that we made on the city and it's people. You would think with Italy having a very large percentage of Catholics and so many churches that talking to people about Christ would be easy but not everyone is always so accepting.
With this being my first ever mission trip I have learned so many amazing things and have formed some great friendships over the past 2 weeks. As Mick would say the greatest friendships are the ones that have Christ at the center of them. And Mick and I have become very close during this trip. He really is an example for everybody else and I really admire his ability to lead an share God's word. Even though I have known Haley, Cacy, Alyssa, and Tristan for over 2 years now and have played with them after these past 10 days in Italy and spending lots of time with each one of them our friendships have grown even closer. It was amazing to see my teammates and my new found friends on the boys team in this type of setting away from our normal eveyday lives at Belmont. But I would especially like to give a special shout out to Brandon Baker for presenting me with the "Best New Friendship" award.. that really meant alot to me not to mention my award he also gave me for the "best Carlton Dance" (Fresh Prince of Bel Air). This really was a special group to be a part of and I am so thankful for BW giving me this opportunity.
Not only did I make new friendships and strengthen old ones my own personal relationship with Christ has grown as well. I have gained so much from this trip and I learned not to take anything for granted. Just talking to some of the Italian families they all dream to come to America one day. Some want to live there others just want to come visit. I used to think of America as just my home where I live but after being in a different country that does not have the freedoms as we have in America and seeing how the people in Italy admired us was a very humbling experience and if i could, I would buy everyone of them a plane ticket to come visit.
I know God will continue to watch over the city of Naples and it's people and I will continue to keep them in my prayers as well. I feel honored and so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of this special group that have touched the lives of many. I will never forget this experience in my life and the the friendships that were formed here.I can't wait to get back and tell everyone about it and in the words of Cacy "I am SO SO ready for some good ole America food!