The Care-a-Van continues! After spending time in Venice and with the Lovaglio family in Treviso, we drove from one side of Italy to the other. From the Adriatic Sea to the Ligurian Sea and the Italian Riviera. We stopped off in Verona to see the beautiful old downtown, the fully functional Roman Arena (no lions though), and the famous balcony where Juliet was hit on by Romeo. From there, we drove across the increasingly mountainous terrain into Tuscany and now are within striking distance of Cinque Terre.
Aaron and Nicole continue to do an amazing job leading the Care-a-Van. Leading groups is NOT easy. There are so many things that go into it: Arranging meetings, booking reservations, dealing with people's eating issues, dealing with health issues, collecting deposits, managing the funds, convincing waiters to let a group of your size into the restaurant, driving in foreign countries, --sometimes dealing with people's strange demands. One time I was leading a group and upon arrival at the airport, the person I picked up immediately demanded that I take him for a haircut!! Immediately!! There's a lot more than that that goes into organizing something like the Care-a-Van. Your mind is constantly planning, thinking----trying to figure out the shortest walking route on the spot, making sure no one gets lost, finding landmarks that are easy for people to follow--going on a hunt to find the only functional toilet for a bathroom break. Helping people buy souvenirs, interpreting into another language, helping people be culturally sensitive, public speaking, arranging the public speaking, etc. etc. etc. In other words, it's a massive job.
Aaron and Nicole have just done such an excellent job on the Care-A-Van and everyone has been having a great time. The churches we have visited have been blessed, and the Care-a-Vaners have really enjoyed their time with the churches, and of course the gorgeous scenery.
Today, the Varners made their official announcement! No they are not pregnant!:......yet. Aaron and Nicole are winding down his 3 year contract with Global Missions and will be finishing their time in Germany in the summer. They would like to begin thinking about starting a family and living close to the future grandparents. We have been supportive of this decision all along since they were signed up for 3 years.
The Varners still have the Care-a-Van to finish, as well as two different Urban Missions experiences to host in Berlin for Anderson University and Warner Pacific College. Then they will be heading to the USA in July to close-out and to prepare the way for the next group of team members we are planning to add to the 3W Team.
We can't imagine the last 18 months of starting-up Three Worlds without Aaron and Nicole's help. They have been dispatched to various countries throughout Europe to help Jamie and I as we introduced 3W, they worked with young people in the region, they were part of XZ Berlin, they helped get the XZ and 3W internships off the ground, led and organized the first 3W Care-a-Van, and were the great money-managers of the team. We will miss them greatly. But we are quite sure that we will continue to interact with them and we may be leading groups across Europe together in the future anyway. They are always welcome and we are very proud of them.
We wish them the best as they move back to the USA and have a little baby Patrick or Patrickella. And we're sure we will see them over in the USA and over here in Europe again in the future. We love you guys!
Oh, and they look better than in my blurry photo above! But it wouldn't be a Patrick photo if it wasn't awful.