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Our names are Matt & Melanie Phillips and we are missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ in Florence, Italy. Click on the thumbnails for more info about us and our ministry here:

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A few of the recent project that our team has been working on here in Italy:

BRANDING

For a while our ministry has been been wanting to replace the logo for Agape Italia (the logo of the left).  Our team has been working through different options and finally settled on one that our team leader Henry designed (the logo on the right).  We are very excited to be moving to a much more updated brand and will be incorporating it into all of our future print and web work. Click on either logo to view the full size.

WEB PRESENCE - NUOVA GENERAZIONE


Another project that our team has been working on is helping with the funding, design, marketing and implementation of this year’s intern program, Nuova Generazione, or “New Generation”. Here is a link to the website that we’ve been using to promote it:

Nuova Generazione

ONLINE REIMBURSEMENTS

I know that it doesn’t sound all that exciting, but this will greatly my team’s ability to serve our staff and get funds into their hands to fund ministry projects on the ground. Before we set up the online system for ministry reimbursements, it was taking 2 to 3 weeks to get funds into the hands of teams on the ground. Now, that time could easily be cut down to one week!



This past weekend I was in charge of a conference called Nuovo Inizio (New Beginnings) for our new staff and interns. The conference was at a farm (fattoria) outside Siena in a very hilly, very beautiful part of Tuscany. Here are some photos of our weekend.


We just flew back to Italy from the States on what I realized was my seventh flight from Dallas to Florence.  Also a first - flying back to an already established home, without having to “move” in somewhere.  Until this trip back I had always prided myself by not really feeling the effects of jetlag.  Not this time.  I’m officially blaming it on Silas, but really I think it was the nap that I took on the first day back, breaking my “always stay up until 9:00 pm rule”.  Still, it is allowing me some free time to finally post something on the blog.  It’s been too long.

Our trip to the States was a lot of fun, but I think I’ve realized that no matter the length of the time back in Texas, it will never be relaxing.  Fun, yes.  Relaxing, no.  There are just too many people that we want to see and never enough time to do it.  This trip though was family priority and Silas had a blast meeting everyone.  We kicked off our time with a week in Colorado with my family and then a week in Kaufman with Mel’s parents, sister & brother-in-law.  Highlights:

Durango
Floating the Comal
Waxing my brother in Settlers
Southwest sending our luggage to Jacksonville istead of Albuquerque, but then delivering it to my parents’ cabin 5 hours away once it finally arrived and reimbursing us the $175 we spent at Wal-Mart (babies are expensive)
The Circus
Seeing my parents’ finished cabin
Silas’s first Rangers game (even though he was worn out by the bottom of the 5th)
Picknick in the mountains
Making note of how everyone’s speach changes when they are talking to a baby (you’d be surprise how many people throw grammar rules out the window when an infant is around)
Chipotle & Dr. Pepper
Reconnecting with friends
Introducing Silas to parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles…good times all around

Here are some pictures from our visit:


My parents had scheduled a week-long trip to the southern coast of spain for vacation and asked us if we wanted to come stay with them for a few days.  A couple cheap Ryanair flights later (thanks, you guys!) and we were on our way.  It was the firs time Silas had flown, so we were curious to see how it would go.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, so it was a good primer for our long trip home to the States on July 22nd.

We got to see Seville, Malaga, Gibraltar, and a little bit of Granada, but mostly we just relaxed around the hotel where we were staying.  Gram & Granpop were more than willing to watch the little guy so that Mel and I could spend some time at the pool, and as usual, I ended up with a sunburn.

Check out the pictures:


We’ve been on a quest lately to make Silas an American citizen…and at last we’ve finally succeeded.  We pick up his Consular Declaration of Birth and U.S. passport in about a week.  As with most things in Italy, this process took a lot longer and involved many more steps than we initially thought it would.  But what we didn’t expect was how difficult one small step of the process would be…taking his passport photo.  Rather than trying to explain to you how difficult it was, I’ll just show you the evolution of the photos.  And trust me when I tell you that these are only a small sample of the photos that we took…


We find ourselves learning things we never would have known while raising our kid in another country. One thing we never knew about Italians is that they feed their babies horse. Italy is among the few countries in the world that still eat horse and Italy is the sixth largest producer of horse meat. In certain parts of Northern Italy, horse meat is used in stews, sausages and is made into steaks. Also, we’ve discovered, baby food. Also available in baby food, rabbit and ostrich.

Will Silas get to eat horse? I think we’ll give it a try and see if he likes it.


So, Melanie and I have been putting Silas in his Bobby next to the window most mornings so he can (as the Italians say it) “take a little sun”. Most days he lays there and sleeps, but yesterday morning he was wide awake, so I took the opportunity and snapped a few photos. Because there’s enough light coming in from the window, I took these without flash, which I think makes them look much better.

I also submitted two of these (the close-up of the feet and the one with Gigi) to our Agape staff Photo Club which we recently began. February’s assignment was supposed to highlight depth of field, and while these weren’t the best examples, they were the best that I had, since I haven’t had much spare time to go around town snapping pictures.


Here are some more pictures of Silas. I’ve uploaded them to our Picasa web album for easier viewing since there are so many of them.

Silas Grey - Hospital

Here are a few more pics of the little guy. All is well here. We will most likely go home tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the prayers!


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