On saturday, I explored Rome.
Our group had hired a touring service who promptly picked all 22 of us up at 745am. We drove through the city with our tour guide explaining the many buildings and historical landmarks along the way. We reached the Colosseum and my jaw dropped. I can’t explain the rush of thoughts that flowed through my head. I was looking at the Colosseum, the same structure that housed the gladiator games… the same structure that thousands of Christians were killed in… the same structure where Paul the Apostle had laid eyes upon…
I couldn’t get over the fact that Paul the Apostle had seen the Colosseum, and now, so had I. We toured the Colosseum and the many buildings around it when our tour guide took us to a small building nearby. She explained that this was the Maritine prison, a place where both Petter and Paul had been kept captive on separate occasions.
We entered a small room with a medium-sized hole in the center of the floor. The hole was barred, and I peered into it curious. The guide explained that prisoners had been lowered into the hole and into the prison cell below, there was no other way in, and no other way out.
A small staircase had been placed the right of the room for touring purposes, and a few of us at a time were encouraged to go below and see the prison cell. Slowly we descended the staircase. A damp must smell lingered around us as we packed into the small cell.
A plaque was placed against the opposite wall in italian, and our guide explained it’s purpose. Legend has it that when Paul was captured, he witnessed to the many guards that we in charge of keeping him imprisoned. Because of Him, many became Christians. Legend explains that one day an underwater spring bubbled up through the floor of he prison cell, and Paul was able to baptize those who converted the Christian faith.
I was amazed, thankful, and full of emotion. All summer at MFUGE I had been teaching my campers the importance of focusing out their spiritual condition rather than dwelling on their emotional and physical conditions. Paul had been imprisoned, and instead of focusing on his imprisonment and questioning why Christ would allow such suffering, he wrote letters of encouragement that are now chapters the Bible. He wrote, He praised God, He honored God, and He shared God. All while in a small, musky, uncomfortable jail cell.
I can’t get over that, I also can’t get over the fact that I was able to see such an amazing sight. It was as if Jesus had tied a colorful ribbon on my summer. I was able to teach about Paul and how he honored Christ, and then, I was able to experience a piece of what he had been through.
I am every thankful. I want nothing more than to honor my Savior in such a way. I want to be unstoppable for Christ.