Day 5 was our last full day in Rome and probably one of my favorite days of the entire outreach. It also started with an earthquake. I remember not being scared while it was happening, but afterwards, when I realized what had really happened, that the earth itself had been shaken, it felt a little scary/surreal. I was also surprised to find out later how far away the epicenter had been.
In any case, after a quiet morning at a cafe and the church, we got ready to go out for evangelism. Most of us didn’t know where we were going (#ywam), but as ever we gathered our things and followed our leader as we went out into the streets. Walking down past the river and towards the Coliseum, we ended up at a small park centered around a fountain (with a double rainbow in the water) and ringed with gigantic (like most things in Rome) trees. People were gathered around tables and stands in a ring around it, some setting up speakers and microphones, others with flyers or instruments.
Turns out the leaders of the church where we stayed had invited us to a gathering of the evangelical churches of Rome. It was awesome.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of presentations by each of the churches. From puppet shows to interpretive dance, bubble-blowing to singing, each church had their own gift to share. We also sang worship songs in Italian together, heard testimonies and shared the word. It was a little difficult for us to understand since it was all in Italian, but once again Italian hospitality and excitement over what God was doing in each of their churches far outweighed any confusion. It was so encouraging to see people really living it out, to see them taking a stand in and for their own land, and once again, they were so generous and kind. Near the end we had communion, which was an honor to share with them, and then they gave us all snacks, passing around juice, cookies and pastries until the last of their food was gone.
When we had finished packing up our drums and other supplies, we headed off to a nicer restaurant for dinner. Jenn and I split a pizza and an entree, and at one point we even had a trio of accordionists playing music for us in the street. “Stereotypical” as our Italian staff member Sarah would say. Amazing for everyone else.
After dinner we went out for our nightly gelato (pistacchio, mint chocolate chip and oreo, though I honestly couldn’t finish mine this time) and then went to an Irish pub. There was a Foosball table near the bathrooms, so naturally we played a tournament, first as individuals and then in teams. I started off with Anna, then played for a bit with Joel when we shook things up and changed teams (Teams Australica and Ameritina forever!). Team Germany took it all in the end courtesy of Tabea and Annika. Then we walked back to the church by way of the beautifully blue and purple lit Coliseum and a “cat sanctuary” housed in the ruins. It was such a beautiful evening. I can’t think of a better way for us to have capped off our time in Rome.