The Night I Preached in Rome

Saw this briefly!

Saw this briefly!

Sunday at church, the Scripture reading for Communion was in Italian (different language each week to represent the diversity of the congregation) and the memories came flooding back.

22, just out of college, I spent the summer in Italy with a mission organization. This group was serious about sticking with the program and tourism was not encouraged in any way. Our team set up residence in a church basement floor for the month of July. I really don’t remember how we ate but don’t have any trouble recalling washing clothes by hand, using sinks in bars for “showers” and washing my hair in public fountains.

We all piled into a large truck (sitting on the floor!) and began to drive to Sicily. Out the window, I saw signs for Rome and so longed to stop but knew the driver would keep right on going as “we were not there for a vacation.”

Our well-loved team leader joined us from a recent trip to Israel and was in the back of the truck reading his Bible and came across Acts 23:11: “…Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” He immediately shouted up to the driver, “Go to Rome!” and so we did!

A shampoo site

A shampoo site

We cruised by the Coliseum on the way to find a corner to gather a crowd and speak about the love and mercy of Jesus. As usual, that wasn’t hard to do. Our leader, fluent in Italian, always did the preaching but that evening he asked me to come up and tell my story while he translated.

For a few moments this impassioned girl from Quincy stood on a street corner in Rome and invited the large group of curious listeners to ask Jesus to transform their lives as I had done the summer before. My Permanent Revolution  I really don’t remember what else I said in my first sermon but the crowd responded well. Surreal doesn’t quite describe it.

After that one meeting, we all piled back in the truck and drove all night to our next location. Funny how that experience stands out far more than any Roman ruin we might have seen.

I still do a lot of standing on the corner so to speak and talking about Jesus…I am not the same young girl anymore but he hasn’t changed a bit.

Hope for the Best,


2 Responses to “The Night I Preached in Rome”

  1. 1 linda sylvester June 23, 2014 at 9:58 PM


    I love this story! How touching! I invisioned myself there listening to you with my relatives who live in Rome. Who knows, maybe one of my relatives did hear your story.

    Keep sharing your stories. They are a blessing as you are.


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