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As the year draws to a close, it is always good to look back and remember the blessings, provisions, victories, and even rejoice to leave some difficulties in the past. Great strides have been made in learning the language. Moriah and Shane have both finished up all 5 levels of Italian in Rosetta Stone. Many others continue to work on this and finish up Rosetta Stone. Shane has not finished up driving school as he had hoped. Please continue to pray as he has prioritized this and hopes to have this done within in the next couple months.
We had a good Thanksgiving dinner with our children. We had to order a whole turkey before hand as they are not sold normally during November here. Thanksgiving is mainly an American holiday. It was nice to have a huge Thanksgiving dinner and play games with our kids.
About a week before Thanksgiving a missionary called me out of the blue asking if we wanted a van. He was leaving the country and wanted to give their van to us. There was a small detail to work out, the van was way up in northern Italy and we are about as far south in Sicily as you can get. On top of that we had little time to work with getting it down to us. I ended up flying out on Thanksgiving evening to Pisa, taking a train in the morning down to Grosetto. I spent the day doing paper work getting the vehicle transferred to my name. Afterwards I drove it about 2 hours south to catch the ferry we had setup to overnight the van to Sicily. It was a tight time table that we setup, but everything went great! Praise the Lord for His help in getting the paper work done in time, and catching the ferry. After 14 hours on the ferry, we were driving the final hour and half home. We knew the van needed a new clutch, so it spent the following week or so in the shop. We are now using the van and are extremely thankful to the churches who responded so quickly to help with the needs of all this. Everything was covered cost wise, and we are extremely grateful. This was a huge blessing and provision for us.
During the first part of December our four older kids were able to take a trip to a Missionary Teen retreat in Spain. We were a bit nervous with them traveling out of the country on their own. As it turned out, they ended up with delayed flights, change of airports, missed flight that had to be rescheduled to the following day. They did a great job rolling with the changes especially for not having parents there to walk them through the difficulties. The Missionary Teen Retreat was a true blessing for them as they were able to rub shoulders with many other missionary teens. These are considered Third culture kids because they haven’t grownup in the traditional ‘American culture’ and yet have a mix of American and other culture where they live in them. There were missionary teens from Germany, Austria, Spain, Romania and Italy at the retreat. They enjoyed English preaching all week long.
On Dec 17th, we had a special Christmas service with our kids and one other teen boy doing a Christmas play and singing. While we had no new visitors, we videoed the play and I have heard of many that have watched it afterwards. We pray this will plant a seed in their hearts.
Many of you have given special Christmas offerings to us, and we greatly appreciate that! It is a tremendous blessing for us. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New year! God Bless!
Serving the King,
Shane & Kathy Rice