The Three Worlds Care-A-Van
Gorgeous! Beautiful! Awesome! WOW! How many times and ways can you say that and still know these are not just flippant descriptors but that they are truly meant from the heart? With eleven of us on the Three Worlds Care-a-van (in a car and a van), it was something we all said and heard over and over again. Each time and by each person, it seemed the only thing one could say to try and convey the innermost feelings in response to the overwhelming beauty of the landscape—the terraced vineyards on the mountain-sides, castles spotted on the sides or tops of mountains, and then the foreboding, but truly majestic, snowcapped Alps. Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get more beautiful, we would round a curve and our breath would be taken away, again! Click, click, click went the cameras, and more “Oohs” and “Aahs” with the above descriptors. The song “How Great Thou Art” played; we sang along and worshiped as we went. And that was just on the drive. What a trip! What an education! What a joy to share with our brothers and sisters in Germany and Italy!
Eleven of us met in Munich, Germany—two from Oregon, two from Ohio, two from Florida, and the leaders from Three Worlds (the Nachtigall family and the Varners). We traveled to Haiterbach, Germany, where we spent the night—complete with a carry-in dinner and fellowship time with the Church of God there and then we shared in their Good Friday service, observing Communion and footwashing with Pastor Richard Baumgärdner and congregation. They were so warm and welcoming. What a precious time together!
From there we took in some sights on our way to be with Nicola and Berta Lovaglio at the new church plant in a store front in Arco, Italy, on Easter Sunday. The Lovaglios are an energetic, older couple with a deep compassion and heart for the lost. Not only are they working in Arco (three and a half hours from their home), but they have also started and are pastoring a church in their hometown of Treviso. We were privileged to share in the services of both these congregations and again were fed, physically and spiritually. We all were especially touched as the Lovaglios had us in their home, sharing their food and their hearts. With tears running down her face, Berta said, “I just wish we could do more for our Lord.” They don’t have much by earthly standards, but are they ever rich! They are giving their all! We were humbled and again blessed as our time turned into a spontaneous time of worship around their table. It was hard to say goodbye.
After taking in the sights of Venice, Pisa, and Rome, we shared a meal, good fellowship, and a Sunday service with the Church of God congregation in Ostia (a suburb of Rome) and Pastor Daniele Santonocito. While we didn’t understand Italian, the melodies of the songs were familiar, and God’s spirit was present, of that we were sure.
While we went to encourage our brothers and sisters in Germany and Italy, we came away feeling full, having seen and experienced firsthand what God is doing in that part of the world. Thank you Three Worlds for this opportunity and opening our eyes and hearts to missions in this part of the world.
Art and Suetta Clawson serve as Global Missions liaisons to missionaries and churches in Africa.