Monday, January 4, 2010


The year 2010 in Rome began with a giant display of fireworks. We stood on the balcony of our apartment and in every direction there were fireworks in the sky and erupting off individual balconies, until the air was filled with smoke.

It may be January but in Italy, they are still trying to wrap up Christmas. Buffana, the witch bringing good luck, doesn’t come until Wednesday, January 6th to herald the end of the Christmas season.

In downtown Rome, the crowds of people are larger than ever. We went downtown to check out an open market at Piazza Navona, but didn’t stay there long. As we were downtown, we decided to check out a couple more churches we hadn’t seen before. It’s amazing how plain a church can look of the outside, and how elaborate it is on the inside.

At S. Maria degli Angeli Basilica there was a detailed nativity inside,

along with a huge organ, being played by an organist.

The large marble columns were imported from Africa.

Originally this building housed large thermal baths. It became the last great architectural project of Michelangelo, as he shaped the inside like a Greek cross and transformed it into a church.

Across from the Basillica of Saint Mary of the Angels is Piazza della Repubblicia. The Piazza features a huge fountain with four bronze statues, and is the one point of reference you pass each time you ride a bus in downtown Rome. The square is the meeting point for official demonstrations.

Sunday at church we met Karina, a girl of Finnish descent, actually from Salt Lake, who was traveling around Europe alone. She had walked from Termini to the church, about a 5-mile walk. We invited her home for a late afternoon dinner, since it was Fast Sunday, and enjoyed her company as she told us about her travels.

Our district is different once again, and we are enjoying new faces and personalities. Life at the office is different every day. At the first of the month there are several different assignments that need immediate attention. So, it's back to work again - and we are glad to be working for the Lord.