Manuela slept very little last night and was very emotional on the phone today. I can totally sympathize with her and how lack of sleep affects the mind and body. She has a 14 month old daughter to care for and just feels overwhelmed. She has less than a week before her scheduled c-section but each day feels like an eternity. I can't help but wonder how differently she would be treated if she were in the States...I have never hurt so much by looking at another pregnant woman. We hope to have her, Raffaele and Naomi over on Sunday afternoon if she is feeling up to it.
Jonathan's parents left on Monday and arrived safely back to Michigan. What a joy to see them, for the special bonding with the kids, and for the mutual encouragement their trip was. We treasure these special family times!!
Miguel also had his appointment with the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic. It was an awful experience and things did not fair well at all for him. Pray for wisdom as they try to determine if they attempt one more time or if this is God's answer in closing the door. I will copy a portion of an email that they wrote to describe the outcome:
Upon entry into the consulate, Miguel was given #7 in line. But then they asked to see his bank statement and laughed and said that if he wanted to wait he could but they were going to deny him and then they switched his number with an old lady's number which put him last place in line. So when he finally got to the interview, they just reemed him out and said all his paperwork was bad. The bank letter was no good because it was obvious we put the money in there just for this interview; the work letter was no good because any person his age doesn't make that much money in this country; Jon's letter was no good because he isn't Italian, etc. etc. In the end they kept his passport and told him to return for it in 15 days and if we wanted we could reapply at the end of the month. In the end, Miguel left saying they were a people badly educated because of the way they treated people. I guess they were calling people stupid idiots and other demeaning things. If it weren't for wanting to play with the nieces and nephews in the snow...he said he has no idea why anyone would want to go to Italy if thats the way they treat you. So I guess now we know how to pray for you guys!
I know this is getting long but there were some upsides to the week (I'll try to be quick). On Monday the kids were playing out in the yard when I saw that Luca had initiated a conversation with a passing neighbor, who was out strolling her 5 month old daughter. We struck up a conversation and she was thrilled that we were American (really rare!) She speaks English very well and has an uncle that lives in Boston. She has been on maternity leave for almost a year from a job that requires her to speak English. She was so excited to use some English again. Her name is Aida and she has already offered to be my language helper. What a blessing to have someone so close, willing, and really very sweet and easy to talk to. I think she too craves for something outside of the home and some conversation with another young mother (she's older than I, my guess is later 30s). I met her husband, Carlo, yesterday as he was driving home and Aida and I were chatting. He said that his wife was SO excited to have someone who speaks English close by and that is younger. We hope to have them over for dinner in the next week or so and then will set up a time to have our conversation exchange of English/Italian. So please pray for Carlo, Aida and baby, Lucia. We are thrilled for this new God-sent contact!! (and for our dear children who continually open doors for us!)