There are two job options when doing the lunch deal at St. Andrew’s. First there is the straight-up handing each guy a bag of food, or, second, there is the walk to another church to hand out tickets. This other church is on one of the main tourist drags, crowded by fancy leather shops and signs for Burger King, 400m ahead. In the basement is a basement that serves as a center for the refugees. But it isn’t the most useful type of center. It kind of feels like the place where some of the kids go after school because their parents aren’t off work yet and nobody really knows what to do with them anyway. It is a big space with tables and chairs, and they show movies and there are some foosball tables, but that’s about it. It’s kind of loud and smells like a bunch of unwashed men go there to hang out everyday. Oh, wait. They do. I hear that some of the movies they show there are, well, questionable. As in Tim and Rachel wonder at what kind of goals they have in showing such movies besides making westerners look like prostitutes and war mongers. Not quite the center Tim and Rachel are hoping to open. The Tim and Rachel vision is to give them something useful to do, a place of peace and learning and good fellowship. This place was just kind of weird. But I have found a new excitement in accompanying John to the center to hand out tickets. Yesterday this offered me a chance to get to know some of the guys better and today I actually carried out a very simple conversation with a man from Kandahar in Italian. I knew what he said and was able to answer him. It was pretty cool.
I took a nap this afternoon, which I feel pretty lame about as it was really warm out and I surely would have loved to be outside and find some things to climb, but if all my body wanted to do was sleep, I suppose it would be pretty hard to find the energy to take part in extended physical activity. Ah well, soccer tomorrow, so I should be able to get plenty of outside time in.
Elisabeth is taking the weekend off so Tim has been tasked with making all of the food for the lunch tomorrow. So I joined him and Joy on a shopping journey, borrowing a car from one of the Agape leaders. We went to a place called EuroSpin. Wee.
Tim told me that he was put in charge of the food one time or more before. The last time he thought it would be a great idea to make something with garbanzo beans. So he purchased a heaping pile of garbanzo beans and had to soak them all overnight. But they expand during the soaking process which meant that every little bit Tim had to divide the beans into more bowls. By the end most if not all of the Uthmann’s bowls and pots were filling the counter space in the kitchen, overflowing with a bounty of beans. They decided never to do that again.
Joy sat in the cart and I got to push her around which was fun as she is a weird child and she makes me laugh. She would boogie to the music played in the store, deeming one an elephant song. Whatever that means. It wasn’t really elephant-like at all, but maybe elephants like that kind of funky 80’s garbage fluff.
Parking the car near their apartment was fun, too. We found a tiny little parallel parking spot just down the street, but the process to somehow squeeze the car into said space was, well, awesome. Props are due to Tim and his meticulous control of that car which is far too much of a boat to be very efficient in the tiny, winding streets of Rome, a city that apparently decided it was best to use as little of the surrounding countryside as possible to make everything downtown. So with maybe two inches separating our vehicle from the others, Tim steps out of the car as a man begins the process of leaving just across the street, which would leave a normal parking spot open. With a sigh and an ‘oh, come on’ we figured it best to just let her lie.
I chilled at their place for a while, discussing possibilities for Christmas escapes and adventures. They want to take Lindsey and I and their good Afghan friend and go off to some little place off in the country and hills for a quiet after-Christmas vacation. There was one place up in the mountains that was by far my first pick of the options. Lots of hiking gets me every time. And split between all of us it wouldn’t be too much. But we shall see. While I would be in adventure heaven, the place is far enough away from other things that other people would be mildly stuck and bored. But they could come hiking too. I’m sure they’d love to go adventuring with me….heh heh heh…..
Tim also said that he had been looking into the 24-7 prayer thing Josh and others and I want to start at the University of Illinois. He loves the idea and asked if getting something along those lines started here for the refugees could be a project of mine for the next two months. I said yes. The thought had crossed my mind and stayed there for a while, and maybe it was just fear, but I decided against really looking into that direction. But him bringing it up kind of seals the deal in my mind of getting the Agape crew involved and doing some sort of prayer request gathering initiative. We both felt that Phil would be pretty good at this. I wonder how you ask someone if you can pray for them in Farsi. And then prayer requests and a whole explosion of people praying for these guys. This sounds like a pretty cool thing. And it might just have some useful impacts in this bizarre little world we live in. Big things are afoot…..
I am very glad I came here.