Arrival in Italy
We arrived in Parma on Wednesday evening from Norway and the Milan Bergamo airport. Since Jeanne had not been feeling well we slowed down our pace knowing that the weekend would be packed with events. On Thursday we did some house keeping. We did our laundry and went to Parma for a short time just to see the city again. This was pretty much our first and last venture to the city center during the entire time we were there.
When it came Saturday, the entire day was given to getting ready for a major outreach. The young people (ranging in ages from 13 to 25) put together drama, music, video testimonies and had gone around inviting their friends.
The event had been scheduled for eight in the evening but it was quite latin to see the clock on the screen countdown from five minutes only to be started over when it reached eight pm. This happened three times so at twenty past eight, Jeanne and I wondered if countdown clocks really mattered. No doubt, someone had picked this idea up from an American church where things do start on time. When I later brought this up someone defensively said, “We were all ready but the crowd had not come yet.” By 8:20 we began with every seat filled and at least two-hundred in attendance. More than half of those had never been in the church before. In about an hour and half of cute and clever presentations, I was asked to deliver a message and though we gave no altar call or opportunity for a response, it was clear that the message had impact. I spoke on, “The Core Idea.” Basically, the idea was substitutionary atonement and since “atonement” is difficult to explain we went with “adequate payment which satisfies”. With lots of windows (illustrations), people seemed to get it.