Entry 10 Citta di Castello in Umbria

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 016

The Town Hall as evening approaches

Luke and Dawn Mann

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 015I am writing this entry from the third row on the right side of the 8:20 bus to Arezzo. It has been a long complicated series of rides from Ancona to Citta. Citta is a city of approximately 30,000 on the edge of Umbria and Tuscana. I had to take three different trains and de-board each time in progressively smaller villages where I would board smaller and smaller trains.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 001

Luke with his unique urban mountain bike

Arriving and seeing Luke running alongside my car shouting my name and then desperately popping on to the train to quickly pull me off (there were two stops at Citta and I was about to take the second and the wrong one).

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 007

Has Dawn earned the emotional right to be called an Italian?

In case you’re wondering about why Dawn is so animated, she is just explaining her most recent visit in an attempt to get permission to stay on in the country for even another six months. Nothing is easy. Everything is exasperating. Cynical Italian government officials pride themselves in their ability to make life complicated for someone else.  They are perfected kill-joys. Bring the papers and they will want different and more the next time.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 006

In spite of the chaos she made this simple Tuscan favorite

Luke and Dawn have no car, actually Luke and Dawn have pretty much nothing except a few books and clothes along with their only transportation a perfectly elaborate urban, mountain bike. Luke is recognized in the entire region as a top bike mechanic and has landed work in a popular bike shop as their principle bike builder and mechanic. There was virtually no place we went that  he and Dawn were not recognized then immediately and rather lavishly greeted.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 014

Stopping to chat, AGAIN!

As we later walked through the streets we were met with “Buona sera’s!”  at almost every stride.  

Those going into missionary service often ask me, “What will I do?” Very little of this is about “doing” at all. In fact, for the longest time, those entering other cultures will not be able to “do” very much. We are occasionally able to do something but for the most part, we are called to ”Be” not “Do.” We are called through “ the love of God spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit”  to express  light and life.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 012

The giardino at the apartment where I slept.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 010

 I was put up in a loaner. There is a couple from Florida (Peter and Marsha) who own a cute little two bedroom apartment and since they only come for four months a year, they make it available to Luke and Dawn for guests to stay in. I am one of the lucky recipients of this generousity. There may be only one draw back. It is situated opposite the Baci court where old, baggy panted men gather for the entire day, drinking beer and yelling obscenities and objections. By the time evening rolls around they are all quit lit and contrary, calling for the measuring tape even when the outcome is obvious. Still this sort of thing does present to the occasional visitor an authentic, rustic, provencial charm. 

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 020

Luke Mann

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 019

Dawn Mann






Two people could not be more common than Luke and Dawn. They have nothing by which to impress people except their cheery greetings, warm smiles and focused listening. The words will come later. But these are veterans. These are people who have, throughout most of their married lives tromped through a wide variety of cultures and circumstances, Asian, Latin and   European. They are the real deal.

Citta di Castello 10 29 09 017

Luke at work building a bike.

 I can usually tell if people are having an impact. When we are on the street or in a coffee shop and people see the Mann’s walking by, people will heartily wave or shout “Come vai!” from their doorways and  windows or even when seated  in a coffee shop as we were this morning , those passing by will turn about and come into the shop for hug.  There is an undeniable magnetism that could only be the power and presence of God working through a supernatural love of God for the people and natural affection for the culture they call home.

7 comments on “Entry 10 Citta di Castello in Umbria

  1. George Foster says:

    Tony, Looks like you are having a blast — most of the time. You don’t account for the long hours when it more tiring than titilating. Someday we have to do it together while I’m still up to it.
    God bless you. See you soon in Charlotte. I’ll give you a day to crash before I call you.
    Take care, my friend. Return my greetings to Beto Tavares–a great musician and long time friend.

  2. Peter and Loes Stoffele says:

    Hello We are from the Netherlands. We were by bike in Mai 2009 in Città di
    Castello in Italy. We stayed and sleep one night there by Luke and Dawn but
    we don’t know the family name. We were spontaneously invited by them. They
    are member of warm showers. Please could you be so kind to give us there mail
    adress. (We lost it) We like to thank them for their hospitality.

    A merry Christmas and a happy new Year from,

    Peter and Loes Stoffele

    • tonyhedrick says:

      I’m quite happy that you found me and I, in turn, found them and they have now found you. Best wishes for the coming year and hope that someday we will meet face to face. Thanks for going to the trouble of chasing down the Mann’s. They seem to, out of their poverty, continue to make many rich, as did the Lord Jesus. As you will see from other comment, you are not alone in commending them.

  3. Casey Wright says:

    And they are greatly loved and missed here in Thailand too! What a great blog entry. You have spoken such true words of an amazing couple and good friends. Makes me miss them even more and long to visit Italy.

    • tonyhedrick says:

      Thanks for taking the time to write and confirm what we have suspected all along. Are you still in Thailand? If so, “Nail your colors to the mast.” We’re proud of you and know that, “your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

  4. Julie Smude says:

    Thank you for writing this captivating blog about my friends Dawn & Luke. Luke and I share Minnesota as a “home State” but the three of us became close-knit friends here in Northern Thailand where above all, their genuine love for the people is missed the most. What an inspiration and example to us all. Their mission field is where their feet hit the ground. They are truly walking examples of the Gospel of Christ to the lives they meet.

    Thank you again for writing! Well done.

    • tonyhedrick says:

      Julie, thanks for writing this encouragement regarding Luke and Dawn. I have sometimes been reluctant to introduce “missionaries” to the ministry contacts that I have taken years to cultivate. Often, “missionaries” fail to have the cross cultural skills and servant hearts that it takes to make friends of or be received by nationals. This hasn’t been the case with Mann’s. Everywhere they have gone they have been loved.

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