Parma to Bologna
November 6, 2009
I always love the question, “Are you here in Italy for a vacation or work?” When I reply, “Work,” the questioner will always want to know what it is that I do. Depending upon the situation, I can have one of two answers. I can either admit right off of the top that I am a Christian missionary but I usually present myself in the guise of a teacher of Cultural Apologetics or Comparative Religion which will more often than not, provoke further inquiry. After all, this is what I do. I, of course, have the other choice. If something Christian might immediately scare them off, I am honest in saying that I am an artist.
After waiting about an hour and half beyond the scheduled arrival time, a Regional train for Bologna finally does show up on Track 4 and J, A and I happily board for our five-hour ride to Trieste where we will be met by Chris Scobie who will take us on to Ljubljana, Slovenia for a series of meetings he has planned there. Tonight, if we ever get there, will be a session on Preaching to a group of about twelve enrolled in his ministry training school.
When we stop in Reggio Emilia, seventeen minutes to the east of Parma – on to the train and into the seat next to the window came a young woman about twenty-five years of age saying. “Thank you,” as I shuffled my feet out of the way to make room for her.
It turns out that Roberta spent four months in England, is a student of language and spoke English very well. One thing led to another and we found her to be very open, curious and most of all likeable without the typical “vampy” affectations of many Po valley women. She was simply a common, unpretentious and fair-minded person. For the next forty minutes or so we were able to share what we believed and introduce her to the idea of visiting the Latino church in Parma. With all of the appropriate phones numbers and emails exchanged we left her company at Bologna Centrale. The most telling comment came when I asked her if I looked happy to which she replied, “Well, certainly more happy than I am.”
This is all we are called to do. We are called to give witness whenever the opportunity arises which we try to be faithful to do. The rest is up to God.