Pray for Italy and Us

March 3, 2024 

To quickly summarize the last few days: We took the train from Rome to Florence and on the train, Sandi started coming done with a cold. At our place in Florence, we had an other-worldly view of the Duomo from our balcony. The Duomo is a huge church with a dome that is 375 feet tall. It is the tallest structure in the whole city and is a sight to behold. Thankfully, with Sandi not feeling well we were right next to a pharmacy and a gluten-free restaurant. We were still able to see a few amazing things… Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Venus, art galleries, and gardens. It’s amazing to see a whole museum with art only from the artists that lived in that city. This really was the birthplace of the Renaissance and the building and art still stand today. 

After that, we traveled to Venice, which during February, is still very cold and damp. This did not help Sandi’s cold. We stayed in a 500-year-old building that once was a Palace but is now a bunch of converted apartments. Unfortunately, it had the dampness and draftiness of a 500-year-old place too! We did manage to get out and see a music museum and a concert featuring Vivaldi’s music, who lived and composed in Venice. But most of my time was going out to get groceries and medicine for Sandi.

All in all, our time in Italy was still great. The history of the early church, the marvel of art and architecture, and the beauty of the churches and cathedrals were good for our artistic souls. But I’m sad that there is a definitive absence of the presence of Jesus in people’s lives. In Venice,  churches that were once filled with worshipers have been turned into museums. There is a great need for Jesus in a place where people once willingly laid down their lives for Him. The stories and places of the 1st and 2nd-century martyrs and the courage of those first Christians to follow Jesus’ authority and not that of the government is the kind of passion we need today.

On March 28th we headed back to Rome by train and spent the night next to the airport. The next morning we got up early, took our medicine, and got on a flight to Israel! I’m very excited about these next few days and looking forward to what God is going to do and show us while we are there.

(Sunday March 3rd Update: Thank you to all that have been praying for our recovery from this cold. It's a tough one but we are getting better. Keep us in you prayers as we journey into the Holy Land.)

Totoro enjoying the view from our balcony


Florence from atop the Bell Tower after I climbed the 417 steps to get there!




People clamoring to see “The Birth of Venus”




Vivaldi's church that he worked in and composed is now a music museum


Amazing church built for a 1st century martyr is now a concert hall


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