So this past weekend Sarah, Emily, and I went to one of the most famous cities in the world- Rome! It definitely exceeded my already high expectations. Rome is absolutely stunning. We got there Friday night and stayed in a cute, little Bed & Breakfast that was only a five minute walk from the train station. Then we spent the night exploring the city and I had the best glass of Chardonnay that I will probably ever have in my life! Walking through the city at night was my favorite part of the whole weekend. The monuments are all lit up and the shadows make everything look super romantic and mysterious. It's absolutely beautiful.
Another favorite was the Trevi Fountain! Legend has it that if you throw in a coin you are guaranteed to return to Rome. I really hope its true!
Saturday, Sarah and I toured the Vatican. Emily had already toured the Vatican twice, so she explored the city while we took on the crowds. The Vatican was incredible and super impressive, but unfortunately our tour guide had a very hard to understand British accent, so we didn't get a lot of the history that really makes the artwork cool. Oh well, at least we got to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Cathedral. The artwork and architecture is mind blowing. I could have stared at it for hours, it was so overwhelming.
While the Vatican was interesting, I really didn't enjoy it very much. Now I understand why the Italians hate the Vatican and want nothing to do with religion. They want nothing to do with the Catholic church with it's cathedrals and gold when they can hardly find work to be able to feed their families. Unfortunately, they don't understand the vast difference between the Catholic, works-based religion, and Chrisitanity, a grace-based relationship with God. They don't want to hear anything about God, the Bible, and especially not the Church. Their hearts are so hardened toward God, it is very sad to see their hopelessness.
That's why it is so important to have evangelical Christian missionaries here in Europe spreading the gospel of TRUTH. As Americans we often think that places who need missionaries the most are 3rd world countries with starving children. Yes, those countries definitely need the gospel and works of compassion, but Italy and other places in Europe are 3rd world countries in the spiritual sense. They have literally no hope. Most don't believe in God, they don't trust their political leaders, they definitely don't trust church leaders, and they don't really trust each other either. People without hope turn to their sin to fill the void and end up trapped in cycles of addiction and despair. Without hope in God people have no one to turn to but themselves, which breeds selfishness and self sufficiency. Depending on ourselves only furthers us from God, because He wants us to depend on Him alone. Obviously, you can see how this is a problem and why we need more missionaries in Europe.
Anyways, sorry for getting off topic.... back to Rome... Sunday we visited the ruins of the ancient Colosseum and Roman Forum which is definitely the coolest thing I've ever seen. Pictures just don't do it justice. I can't believe that people in ancient Rome constructed this magnificent arena without today's technology or tools. I was so impressed. Also, Saturday night we saw the Pantheon, which was beautiful all lit up.
Overall the weekend was an incredible one. I will never forget exploring Rome with my new friends Emily and Sarah. Emily and I got to have some good conversations about Jesus with Sarah throughout the weekend. Please continue praying for her salvation. I want her to know the hope and joy of a relationship with Jesus so badly. I've only got one week left here, but I'm so grateful for this new friendship the Lord has given me. Thank you all for your prayers!