We are now officially at the midway point of our meetings in Rome.
This whole experience so far really has been like a rollercoaster ride. First there is the very long winding line to get on the rollercoaster. It’s like, “Are we ever going to get on it?” I arrived in early October (121 days before opening night) and the beginning of the meetings felt so distant.
Then, as you approach your turn on the rollercoaster, excitement mounts. In the last few weeks before the meetings opened, there was growing anticipation in everyone’s heart because we were almost there.
Then you get on the rollercoaster, get all fastened in, and with a sudden jerk the rollercoaster begins its slow ascent to the very top of the ride. No turning back now. It’s at this point that my heart starts to pound hard as I look up and down and wonder, “Why on earth did I get on this thing. Help!” When Shawn arrived the week before the meetings were to start, there was no turning back anymore.
We were securely fastened and progressing forward no matter what. Then we lost our beautiful hall and had to shift everything over to the Adventist church. What a nightmare in logistics! Right in middle of that I wondered (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one), “What did we get ourselves into? Help!”
Then finally you get to the top of the hill and the ride starts. Wow! What an adrenaline rush as the coaster barrels down—zooming left and right. Woo hoo! The long line and the heart-pounding fears were all worth it.
On Saturday, February 6, our ride in Rome began. And what an unbelievably fantastic ride it has been as hundreds of guests have been sitting at the edge of their seats to soak in every word spoken from the Word of God. The long wait for opening and all the anxiety the last week before the meetings have been all well worth it.
We have some absolutely wonderful people in attendance. Our goal these past two weeks as we approach the homestretch and life-changing topics has been to make friends with our guests.
I’m truly amazed by all these people. Do you know how long it takes on average for these people to come to our meetings? At least an hour. For example, I live two miles away from the church. It takes me an average of 30 minutes to get to the church (by foot and public transportation).
Most people live quite a bit further and like me use public transportation. It’s actually slower by car because traffic is so heavy and parking is hard to find. Unbelievable. So, typically, a person will come directly from work to the meetings—stopping for a quick pizza along the way.
The meetings start at 8 p.m. (we chose that time so people would have time to arrive) and generally end around 9:40 p.m. Thus, on average, people get home around 11 p.m. Of course, the next morning they get up bright and early. These are terribly long days. You would think that such a tiring schedule would discourage our guests. Nope. They keep coming because they are so hungry for truth. Praise God.
Now the sad thing about any good rollercoaster ride is that it’s over too soon. This one in Rome will already be over in two weeks (and then the follow-up efforts will begin). I’m enjoying every moment of this ride. Woo hoo!
-Pastor Yves Monnier