Entry 3 Parma, Italy

October 24

Lauren and Leslie…

I am sitting in an outdoor cafe (the very glamorous Gran Caffe Orientale in Piazza Garibaldi) while waiting on Lauren Carrion and Leslie (Narraway) Brune who will be coming from Cinque Terra for lunch with the ACCI leadership team today. We finally have a day with gray skys and rain!

Update on Giovanni and Takako Horaguchi…

Takako CroppedI had an interesting, unusual  and, I think, profitable day yesterday. I left one of my numerous alter egos (my hat) at the di Italia home but had no idea where it had gone, so at midnight, after thinking through every place I had been that day, I received a text message. I had left it at their apartment. I thanked them and went back to bed, finally relieved at having my personality returned to me and I would collect it tomorrow. 

After arriving in the city I tried to arrange geting together by texting and it didn’t work. I never heard back a thing so I began to worry. Finally, while in the National Museum and bored stiff at viewing Madonna’s and saints of every description, I got the text I was hoping for. She had been out all morning and that, if I wanted to pick up my hat subito (immediately), I could by going to Giovanni’s dental studio as he had taken it with him in case I came around. This is when it sometimes works to advantage to have selected amnesia. I just didn’t get her point that I could go across the street from their apartment and pick it up at his office. All of this forced me to go their house and ring the bell.

I was surprised when Takako answered but seemed unusually distant and telling me to go across the street first and then come back to the house for tea. I thought that perhaps I was getting the cold shoulder and Giovanni wanted to have a few, “man to man” words with me.  I did as instructed and as soon as I opened the door he left his patient to greet me with my hat in his hand. He seemed very pleased that I had come by and said with emphasis, “Be certain to tell your friends to get in touch with us, we very much want to meet them.”  When it comes to Italian’s and in particular, Parmigianis, you have no idea how important this sort of friendliness and openess is. 

When I returned back across to their apartment, Takako was super friendly (I surmise from this that they had discussed my visit the day before and liked what they heard) saying that I should come in for Japanese tea and have a visit.

This was just what I had hoped for as I had brought along an Italian New Testament and a tract, “Come avere pace con Dio.” (“How to have peace with God.”) as well as personal intructions on where to begin reading and selected readings from Romans. All of this was enthusiastically recieved.

In about another thirty minutes or so, Giovanni came across for lunch and we talked again for another half an hour. I invited them for American hamburgers in the evening and they seems happy to come if Takako wasn’t but a week from having a baby.

So, at the moment, this is where it stands. I am always happy to have been used and to have taken “every opportunity.”  I kick myself down the block when I have these “divine appointments” but, for whatever reason, let them slip by.

Next week, providing we don’t yet have a baby, we’ll find some way to connect Giovanni and Takako with the local church leadership. In this culture, follow-up by credible nationals is curcial to the evangelistic process.

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