PESARO and RIMINI, ITALY
Wednesday to Sunday, October 29 to November 2, 2014
Fifty Euro later I was in Pesaro (Pay-Sa-ro) being met by Isabella Italia (not her real name). I called her “Izzy” until I found out that Jesus and her mother call her “Baby.” She met me at the top of the stairs coming from Binario (Track) 1. We began walking with explanations regarding my new living arrangements. Izzy actually lives with two other girls (Natascia and Palmina) in Rimini, a resort city about twenty-five minutes north up the Adriatic coast. It turns out that I would be staying with Gigi and his wife, Patricia. I was some surprised to find out that the Congresso Missioni 2014 conference was only a couple of miles away and this meant that I would only spend one night at the Feroni house and then get my room at the Familina Hotel the next night.
Izzy waked me through the streets and to a popular sandwich bar called “Da Peppe” quite famous in the area for what we might call a “Wrap.” We ordered up and talked about her ministry and the spiritual climate in the region. Much of the time was spent discussing heavy handed leadership and small, defensive, legalistic churches of which Italy has no shortage. She and many others are incredibly discouraged as sheep not having a shepherd.
In a while, I stood at the corner across from Da Peppe where Gigi would pick me up. He soon arrived and we loaded into his Mazda to go over to his house and settle me out for the afternoon.
After a good nap of an hour I would be delivered again in the evening when Izzy would introduce me to a visiting team of eight from Bobio. All of this took place like clockwork and by dusk I was standing on the street with five young Americans I didn’t know. We got them into their rental apartment and then walked two miles to supper at a popular pizza restaurant called C’Era (or “There Was). The students and their Director ordered pizza but since I have had more than my share of pizza, I went for Frutta d’Mare (mixed sea food in linguine).
They went back to their respective beds and I wandered the street for an hour until Gigi would pick me up at the same corner again and I would go back to his house and my bed there.
Thursday, October 29, 2014
This would be another day of seeing ministry venues with Izzy and her roommate Natascia who was great fun. They first showed me Elim’s Smile (a play on words), a storefront, volunteer organization that collects, organizes and distributes clothing to the poor and needy. They explained their model which allows for actually connecting with their clients and thought it made a lot of sense when most similar ministries just allow people to pick out what they need, “willy nilly” and then disappear.
We took coffee in the city center at a marvelous place the likes of which I have not seen anywhere. It makes the Starbuck’s atmosphere seem clinical by comparison. We did more walking and then after we bused to my hotel and I checked in, they had to make lunch and rest while I found a Sushi restaurant and had myself a grand time with Spring and California Rolls followed by Teriyaki Chicken all at a respectable 20 euro.
That evening Izzy, Natasha and I finally got our act together enough to make it to Rimini and their house for supper, a smashing pumpkin and sausage risotto made by Natascia. However, before any of this took place, Natascia rushed off to prepare supper as Izzy walked me through Rimini a famous and beautiful Roman resort city on the sea.
I always like it when missionaries run into people they know and want to introduce to me, like the homeless man, Giancarlo we met outside of the Rimini train station. Upon seeing Izzy and Natascia he happily greeted them with a smile and the customary kiss to each cheek. They introduced me to Giancarlo as though he was the Mayor.