Our Summer Village: Beyond Forgotten

There is but one road leading to the isolated town, our summer village. A place little touched by time, by technology’s progress, or by the frenetic pace of getting ahead. Thirteen years had passed since our last visit. And though fewer, we found the inhabitants much the same. The wrinkled faces of the old had changed; many we knew before passed on. Yet they were the same. The same lines of suffering and hardship. 

The same bleak look of hopelessness. Hopelessness one doesn’t expect to find in 21st century Europe.

Time still passes slowly there. They while the day away in simple tasks. A bowl of pasta. A little weeding in the garden. A chat with neighbors. But mostly they just sit and wait. For what, even they don’t know.

And there, at the top of the hill, sits Mario’s ancestral home.

Our first trip back a few years ago, seemed at first nothing but an annoyance. Still one more thing to tend to. And a house we don’t need, but can’t sell, because he co-owns it with his siblings. And property there, in what is becoming a ghost town, doesn’t sell anyway!

But we went out of love for his family, glad to do them the small favor of tending to needed repairs. But we keep going out of love for this abandoned people, in that abandoned area.

  • Only one road goes in because the other has never been repaired after the landslide over a decade ago.
  • There is almost no work — NO WORK in giant letters.
  • And agriculture, their traditional livelihood, has been greatly hindered because of insane natural park laws.
  • They have only one doctor for the 500-600 people.
  • The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away, down the steep and winding mountain road.
  • Few shops, and only the tiniest of grocery stores.

We go because they feel forgotten. Abandoned. And hopeless.

We go to show that they are neither forgotten nor abandoned.

And that there are others who think of them, and pray for them! We go hoping to offer a bit of encouragement, friendship, and hope. And most of all, to introduce them to the One who will never abandon them. To the one who can give them hope and peace which nothing and no one can ever take away!

And we go because the almost haunting beauty of the place has captured our hearts. But the people have totally claimed them!

How would you go about showing love and offering hope to people in such circumstances?

8 thoughts on “Our Summer Village: Beyond Forgotten

  1. How could anyone do more than you are doing? Blessings for your ministry, wherever the Lord sends you.
    We pray for the Lord to open their eyes, ears, and hearts to the message of hope in Christ.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Fran. But I think there is always more to do, and new ways to try. But we really thank you for your prayers. We know that, in the end, that is what will really make the difference!!

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  2. So the government doesn’t allow agriculture because they have made thei land a protected park? Well, I would start a petition or letter to the government asking what they intend to do about taking these people’s livelihood away. Perhaps they could hire a lawyer.

    If that’s no good, I think cottage businesses might work out. If some of the people know how to make a product really well, or a product of the area that is unique and could be sold in cities or online.

    Sharing God’ word through meetings (ouside or indoors) at your husband’s house might be good. Asking people to come who wish to be prayed for.

    Start a book club using a Christian book.

    Have meetings with films of nature, in all its complexity. Get a telescope and set it up to see special parts of the nite sky and then speak of God. But when you invite people, make sure they know some of the meeting will be about God so they don’t feel fooled.

    Well, those are a few crazy ideas. I used to share ideas with my church, but I guess they didn’t like them. Lol

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    1. Wow Belle, what a lot of great suggestions! I am afraid, though, that the petition would not work. The Italian government doesn’t work well that way. And so often these thing are mafia controlled. It’s a complex system. We have thought of cottage business, or even things related to tourism. But the problem there is that the median age is probably about 55. The vast majority are retired, and many are in their upper 70s or 80s. A bit late in life for that kind of thing. Perhaps some of the others would work though. And I don’t think they’re crazy! Most anything is usually worth a try. It’s just that this is such a particular situation. Quite complex. Yet we are convinced that the Lord knows how to reach out to their hearts! Thanks for the ideas, and please keep this special area in prayer!

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  3. I’m a “note & gesture” kind of guy myself. Take our neighbour for example. At Christmas we gave them a pointsettia and a note, thanking them for their friendship, expressing how important they were to us and that we were praying for them. (Prov. 18.16) There’s a lot of “breaking down walls” to do before they trust enough or are open enough to want to hear more… but this neighbour – who has given headaches to many in the neighbourhood – is nothing but WONDERFUL to us.

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    1. That’s amazing, Mike. That your headache neighbor treats you well. The Lord works in wondrous ways! We also use little gifts with notes. That always goes over well. And we also invite the people in for dinner, for coffee, or for something to drink. Or just drop in for surprise visits. Many of them are so lonely, they seem to really enjoy it. It also helps that people here in southern Italy are “piazza people.” They hang out in the piazzas to chat, get something to drink, and watch the people go by. Anyone can join the groups, and it’s a great way to get to know people!

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