One thousand feet above the city of Rovereto and on the edge of the Alps lives the Belgian family, the Dilles’.
There are seven of them altogether, Emile, Imra, four girls and one little boy. When Emile and Imra were just children themselves, before they new one another at all, before they were Christians, they knew that they would leave Belgium and live in Italy.
Eight years ago they took their leave and bought a house they originally thought would make a summer cottage but through a variety of circumstances they now live here and invite others to come and stay with them, especially weary missionaries and Christians that need a break.
I owe ACCI leader Ann Hinrichs and her husband Luke for this introduction. Years ago Ann and Luke ventured up this way to meet the daughter and son-in-law of Brazilian – Italian’s, Gerson and Maitie Celeti who now live in Norway and serve a missionary training center there. In the process they were introduced to others in the area which included the Dilles’ and Pastor Pippo Rizzo of Trento (more about him in future blog). Since that time they have made a number of other visits ministering in the Trento church on several occasions. Ann often remarked about the friends she had there and then about a year ago Ann along with Canadian Director, Lauren Carrion took John (Our son-in-law and director of ACCI) and Amy (our daughter) lived in Italy with their boys for about three months went up to visit. The Haley’s also made the acquaintance and came back with a good report. So, even though it is out-of-the-way for me and off the beaten track I decided to make the venture and go up.
Truly these are wonderful people. After I was picked up at the train station by Emile I was driven up their home in the forest. Even though I was not feeling well with a cold we lingered around the table sharing our journeys and over tea, fresh bread, cheese, ham and prosciutto. It always continues to amaze me that one can encounter complete strangers and feel as though you have known them forever. This wonder is compounded when you think these are folks are twenty years younger and from a completely different part of the world but while hearing their stories I was surprised how similar they are to the two of us (Jeanne and I). In fact, I was thought how similar Imra is to Jeanne when she was the same age and we lived on the farm near North Augusta, Ontario. There is (if you watch for it) a thread of universality in the worldwide body of Christ.
I spent the night and the next day while Emile hauled the two girls down the mountain to their school, Imra and I took a walk to their dream some kilometer away. I’ll share this vision in the next blog entry.