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Adoption News!

Someone in Siberia

We are so excited to share that we received news on May 3, 2019 that we were matched with the three sibling group from Russia! Sometimes important news comes in the strangest moments. Andrea was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store when he got the call. We had just returned from an amazing PI conference where we were encouraged and challenged in our walks with Jesus. What was echoing in my mind and still is today was, “Are you willing to give EVERYTHING to Jesus and following Him?” Rain was pouring down and I was waiting in the car for Andrea and Adrien to come running out with the groceries. Adrien jumped in the car and I asked, “where is Papà?” He answered that Andrea was talking on the phone with Fiori Semplici, our agency. Adrien didn't know what that meant at the moment, but I did and I couldn’t stop smiling. As we drove home, which was a total of three minutes, we were totally silent. When we arrived Adrien rushed into the house while Andrea and I sat in the car for a few minutes. Andrea shared with me what the agent had communicated on the phone and we just sat there letting the news wash over us like the pounding rain on the roof of the car. We breathed deep and exhaled prayers of gratitude, wisdom and joy. We surrendered all to Jesus once again and trusted Him with this next phase. On the following Monday the match was confirmed and we were given their names. The boy, Rinat is 6 going on 7, the girls, Ruzanna and Sitora are 5 and 3 going on 4. That day we gave the news to Adrien and he was thrilled. He had told us in the past that he would’ve liked to have two sisters and a brother and so when he heard that this dream was coming true he kept saying, “They copied me!” and “That’s what I said!” We couldn’t have asked for a more joyful response from Adrien. So, here we are May 20, 2019, rain pouring down and suitcases open on the floor. We will be meeting these three little faces in person this Friday! We leave for Siberia this Wednesday. We still have a long road ahead. This trip is the first of three that we will have to do before we can officially be joined as a family in Italy. Adrien will be staying with nonno (grandpa) for the days that we are away. So, please keep him in your prayers. We will be sending updates and photos as things progress. Thank you all so much for praying with us through all these years of adoption. We’ve needed every bit of your support and have been forever blessed by it. We love you and ask that you continue to pray with us as we enter into this next chapter.

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Watch Adrien’s reaction

Password is “adoption”

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Rinat

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Ruzanna

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Sitora

Praises

  • That we were matched with these three, sweet little children

  • God’s peace and comfort during this time

  • For the love and support we have in God’s family

  • How this journey has been molding and shaping Andrea and I

Prayer Requests

  • Smooth travel

  • For Rinat, Ruzanna & Sitora’s hearts that they would love Jesus

  • For when we meet and spend time together

  • All the burocratic stuff do go well

  • For our hearts to be filled with Jesus’ peace

  • For Adrien and his time with nonno, his heart as he waits for siblings

  • Wisdom for how we move forward with possible changes in our home, car, financial needs etc.

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February 2019

“Get Out of the Boat”

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I posted this painting on Instagram last week. It was one that I had started a while back, but hadn’t worked on in a while. Anyway, I had written in my post that while I was observing it I kept thinking, “get out of the boat.” I wasn’t sure why, but I felt Jesus urging me to take a step of faith and trust Him with something. I thought, “well, haven’t I been trusting you Jesus? Are you asking me to trust you MORE?” As you know we’ve been in the process of adopting for the past five years and have had some upsets. I feel like I’ve been stretched and my faith has been stretched more in these years than ever in my life. However, God was about to reinforce that it wasn’t enough. The next day, February 13th, we got a call from our agency asking if we’d be open to adopting a three sibling group from Russia. It wasn’t a match, but an inquiry to if we’d be open to these specific three, two girls, ages 4&5 and one boy, age 7. If we were to say “yes” it would put us in a group of available families who were interested in adopting these three. Even though our “yes” wouldn’t  gaurantee us being chosen it was a big decision to make. I went numb. Soooo many mixed emotions. From excitement to disbelief to panic. So many questions. Are we able? How can we afford it? How will it affect Adrien? What if it totally destroys us? Andrea and I spent the next few days talking through it all, praying, laying out our fears, taking moments of silence to seek God’s voice in His Word. Even when the heat was rising as we discussed our points of view and we wrestled with this possibility of growing our family so rapidly, Jesus continued to beckon us out into the rough seas with Him. Over and over again there was confirmation of God’s greatness and strength in our weakness. He is the one who will provide what is needed. He is the one who will hold us when we are collapsing. If it destroys us then He will be glorified. This is where He wants us. Totally and completely surrendered to Him. Reliant on His sovereign control. He wants us broken and stripped of ourselves and this is part of the test. “Do you trust me enough to step out of the boat?”

In the end our decision came down to this...”we are not in control and we don’t want to be in control. If we say “no” then we are putting ourselves in control, but if we say “yes” we step out in faith and trust Him to decide.” Yesterday, we called the agency and we said “YES” to the possibility of adopting these three children. We are out of the boat and we are trusting Jesus to keep us standing on the water.  Would you please pray with us? Pray that we would continue to keep our eyes fixed on the truth that Jesus holds everything together and pray that if these three children are the ones we’ve been waiting for then God would have us be chosen in the matching process. Thank you!

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Enjoying a somewhat American breakfast with gruppo Nomadi!

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Team building on the slopes with the Carmichaels! We are so thankful for the nice time spent together.

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A couple shots from Thailand trip. The conference was so encouraging and McKenzie was filled with new inspiration and drive to develop and use art and creativity for the Kingdom!

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Robert, Ambra and Liam came to the conference too. Robert was surrounded by musicians who encouraged him in His worship leading and writing of music.

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Praises

  • That we were asked to consider these three siblings for adoption!

  • Individuals from gruppo Nomadi showing a desire to grow in relationship with Christ

  • Great time spent in the mountains with the Carmichaels

  • Successful and encouraging conference for Creatives in Thailand and the inspiration that has come from it

  • God’s ever presence and guidance in our lives. His peace and strength that sustains us.

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Prayer Requests

  • For God’s will to be done with this matching process and for us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

  • For gruppo Nomadi to develop a steady rhythm of meeting together and for the power of the Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds to receive Jesus.

  • For our teammates, the Carmichaels, Edwardes and Vanellis to rest in God’s hands, to be used by Him and encouraged by Him. To trust Him with their future and to seek His wisdom every step.

  • For this creative inspiration to develop into a solid ministry where creativity is encouraged in order to draw people closer to Jesus.

  • For our family to draw closer to each other and to Jesus.

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December 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! We hope your festivities have been enjoyable with family, peace, joy and love.  We celebrated Christmas with family, friends and our church TrE.  It was a really great time for some of our “seekers” community group members to come and have their experience in our church service.

This past year has been filled with God’s provisions and we are so thankful to all of you for being a part of this journey with us. God has really blessed us with new friends, deepened relationships with our old friends and He really has opened doors for us to shine the Gospel in various areas of our lives. Thank you again for your love and your continued prayers. We look forward to what He will do in this next year and we pray that many will come to know Him. We pray that He would continually open the doors that He desires to open in order for us to continue to walk in step with Him in bringing His children into His kingdom.


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

Much Love,

Andrea, McKenzie & Adrien

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN END-OF-THE-YEAR DONATION PLEASE MAKE SURE TO HAVE IT IN BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2018.  YOUR PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT KEEP US GOING HERE IN ITALY AND WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR IT.


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

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December 2018

Is it really December already?

Since we’ve been back from the US time has just flown by. We are encouraged by how God has been leading our steps and we have felt His presence as we’ve been praying through decisions. As we near Christmas God has been reminding us of how we are to be a light in the darkness. Jesus, light of the world, came to give us the gift of His light so that we may shine it in this dark world until He returns. As you join us in prayer for Italy, for the people here to know Jesus and shine His light, you help us to shine even brighter. Where the flame is bigger the light is brighter. Thank you for continuing to shine with us!

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New community group called “Gruppo Nomadi!”

We have officially multiplied our community group. “Gruppo Carso” is meeting just outside of Trieste since the majority of people live closer to that part of town and “Gruppo Nomadi” is actually meeting about 40 minutes outside of Trieste. Why so far? Well, we started meeting at our house in Sistiana, but most of the people who are part of our group live 20 minutes even further out. So, since Andrea’s mother’s house has a space that McKenzie was using as her studio we decided to relocate her studio and make a space there for us to meet. The space is two minutes from most of the people in our group! We initially had thought about renting another place to meet, but God really gave us wisdom in taking a smaller step for the moment. Our hope and prayer is that as we take intentional steps in making it easier for those we are in relationship with to come to Christ we will develop a strong core group of believers who will help to plant a sister church to TrE. A wonderful, but challenging thing is that in our group of around 16 people about six are believers. So we pray that those who have not recognised Jesus as Saviour yet, would surrender their hearts!

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Seeking Wisdom in relationship building for Jesus sake.

Andrea has had a passion for soccer since he was little. This passion is something shared with many here in Italy and especially with Adrien. Get a soccer match going and boom you’ve got all ages interested. So, how can we tap more into this? Adrien has changed soccer clubs this year and has been playing on a team that is from a town outside of where our Gruppo Nomadi meets. Since the club was short coaches, God opened the door once again for Andrea and his friend Paolo to help coach. So far it has been a great season, we’ve met new families and we’ve enjoyed seeing Adrien really excel. We feel that there is more to discover in this area for ministry and we are asking God to reveal His plans.

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Artwork and “Simply Given”

As mentioned above, McKenzie has recently moved her studio to our taverna (basement). It was a sacrifice to give up such a nice studio with natural lighting, but we both felt that this was the best solution for the time being. She has gotten some pretty good lighting set up and is able to paint more often during the week, so there are definitely some benefits to having the studio at home. She was a guest artist at a women’s conference this past September where one of the women there had shared her story of how God spoke to her through a painting McKenzie had posted on facebook. It was so encouraging to know that God is using her art to speak to others in ways she could’ve never imagined. She will be traveling to Thailand this January to be a visual arts group facilitator. It’s a conference organised by Pioneers and there will be people joining from all over the world who are desiring to use their artistic gifts to glorify God. We have been working on setting up a “not for profit” organization called “Simply Given”. It has been a challenge to fill out all the information in order to have the organisation approved and ready to go. This is foreign territory for our brains and we need a lot of prayer in order to figure out how to establish everything correctly. The organisation will be used to sell artwork and then donate the income to other organisations in Italy to develop resources for Christian ministries.

The painting that spoke to the girl at the conference

The painting that spoke to the girl at the conference

Our Neighbours and Friends

So many conversations about faith, suffering, hope, family, values, struggles, sin and wisdom. More times than not we are talking about Jesus, His gift of salvation, His truth, His love, our dependance on Him. Why do these words remain at the table? It seems that hearts are hard and ears are deafened. We love our friends, neighbours, and those God places in our paths. We want them so badly to know Jesus intimately and give Him their lives. The work in Italy is tough. The soil is hard and seeds have a hard time digging in and sprouting roots. There is a sense of darkness here and we need you to pray with us that the light of Jesus would shine so hot and bright that people would truly see Him.

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Adrien

He is bright, strong and determined. He is kind, gentle and sensitive. We love him so much and desire to raise him up in the ways of Jesus. He has challenged us as parents and sometimes we struggle in his discipline. Please pray for us as a couple, a family and as parents in training up Adrien in the way He should go.

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Praises

  • Simple solutions from God for Gruppo Nomadi’s meeting place and McKenzie’s studio

  • Our amazing time in the States this summer and all the love and support we received

  • Adrien is loving school (math especially), soccer, church and piano lessons

  • All of our current relationships growing deeper and more intentional

  • Experiencing God’s presence as we face moments of darkness

  • McKenzie’s paintings speaking to hearts

  • In July we officially signed on with Russia to adopt a child or two.

Prayers

  • For Jesus’ light to shine in the spiritual darkness

  • Gruppo Nomadi-a desire and need for the Word of God, hearts to be softened

  • Wisdom for future opportunities and ministry endeavors with sports and soccer

  • Getting Simply Given set up, January conference in Thailand

  • For our neighbours, friends and acquaintances to have their eyes opened to their need for Jesus

  • For our family-training up Adrien, unity and joy

  • For our adoption- that we would be matched with a child or more very soon!

Thank you so much for continuing to shine with us. May this Christmas season bless you and may the light of Christ shine on you and through you!


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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August 2018

Come join us at Topics!!

On Thursday evenings Port City Community Church regularly hosts a time for deeper discussion on the Sunday message.  However, on this coming Thursday, August 9th at 6:30 p.m. They’ve invited us to share about the ministry in Italy as the topic. We will be sharing some stories, photos, and maybe even some kind of Italian treat.  There will also be a question and answer time.  We would love for you to come if you are in town! 

 

 

Where we’ve been and where we’re headed

We’ve been traveling in the US since the beginning of July.  We started out in Western NY and enjoyed a week with McKenzie’s side of the family and reconnected with her childhood friends.  It was so great to visit places where she holds many memories.  The weather was spectacular and God really blessed our time.  From there we headed to Florida where we enjoyed connecting with friends and family and shared with many the work God is doing in Italy.  We were given the opportunity to share at CrossPointe Church in Jupiter, Florida and are excited to continue developing a relationship with them. 

 

We are now in Charleston, SC for a few days and then back to Wilmington, NC on Monday the 6th of August.  We head back to Italy on the 28th of August.  In all these travels we hope to continue to connect with the people God places in our path who are interested to hear about how He is growing His church in Italy.  Please be praying for us as we meet with individuals and share the needs that we have as a family and ministry and that God would challenge hearts to join us in His mission for reaching Italy with the truth and love of Jesus.  We thank all of you who have continued to play a vital role in serving in this mission.  Your prayers and financial support have sustained us in these past ten years and we look forward to the years to come and the work God will do through all of us!  Thank you so much!


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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June 2018

Ready for the USA

Hey everyone!  Hope you are well and getting excited for summer.  We are prepping for our home leave in the States.  We leave Italy on the 5th of July and will be returning on the 28th of August.  We will be in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.   We'd love to see you, so if you'd like to get together please email us.  It would be really nice to sit face to face and share what God has been doing in our lives and hear what He's been doing in yours.  We will be sending out info for any events or gatherings that we will be having when we are in town.    Right now we'd like to share some praises and prayer requests.  Please scroll down to view!

Hey everyone!  Hope you are well and getting excited for summer.  We are prepping for our home leave in the States.  We leave Italy on the 5th of July and will be returning on the 28th of August.  We will be in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.   We'd love to see you, so if you'd like to get together please email us.  It would be really nice to sit face to face and share what God has been doing in our lives and hear what He's been doing in yours.  We will be sending out info for any events or gatherings that we will be having when we are in town.  

Right now we'd like to share some praises and prayer requests.  Please scroll down to view!

Big Praise: On Saturday June 9th.  We celebrated Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice.  Three individuals from our church community declared their love for Him and their desire to have Him as King of their lives.  They were baptised at sunset while a storm rolled in and God gave us a sky to remind us of His amazing power and beauty.

Big Praise: On Saturday June 9th.  We celebrated Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice.  Three individuals from our church community declared their love for Him and their desire to have Him as King of their lives.  They were baptised at sunset while a storm rolled in and God gave us a sky to remind us of His amazing power and beauty.

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Another praise:  On May 26th we held our annual women's tea party in our neighbourhood lawn.  It was filled with color and beauty, laughter and smiles.  Each year the women who participate are so grateful for such a special afternoon.  One lady commented and said that the company and atmosphere was so pleasant that she felt like angels where hovering over!  We gave a gift to each women that was a large magnet to put on the refrigerator.  I explained that each morning they could see it and remember that in all things, the wonderful and the hard, God is in whom we find true Joy.  I can't wait until next year to continue this tradition and see God move.  

Another praise:  On May 26th we held our annual women's tea party in our neighbourhood lawn.  It was filled with color and beauty, laughter and smiles.  Each year the women who participate are so grateful for such a special afternoon.  One lady commented and said that the company and atmosphere was so pleasant that she felt like angels where hovering over!  We gave a gift to each women that was a large magnet to put on the refrigerator.  I explained that each morning they could see it and remember that in all things, the wonderful and the hard, God is in whom we find true Joy.  I can't wait until next year to continue this tradition and see God move.  

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Psalm 92:4  For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

Psalm 92:4  For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

Praise and prayer request: This is our neighbour Vito.  He has been a great joy to our family.  He lost his wife last year and he really loves having our company.  For a some time now he insists on making us lunch and it has been so nice to spend an afternoon with him each week.  We praise God for our relationship and ask that you could please pray for His salvation.   

Praise and prayer request: This is our neighbour Vito.  He has been a great joy to our family.  He lost his wife last year and he really loves having our company.  For a some time now he insists on making us lunch and it has been so nice to spend an afternoon with him each week.  We praise God for our relationship and ask that you could please pray for His salvation.   

Summer Camp starts tomorrow!  Please pray for the children and their families.  Pray that we'd have the energy and strength to manage these next two weeks while prepping for our trip to the US.  Pray for our two teams coming to help.  We have one from Port City Community Church, NC, one from Emmaus Church, TX and one from Delta Church , IL.  Pray that they would have many opportunities to share their faith with their host families and pray that hearts would be softened. 

Summer Camp starts tomorrow!  Please pray for the children and their families.  Pray that we'd have the energy and strength to manage these next two weeks while prepping for our trip to the US.  Pray for our two teams coming to help.  We have one from Port City Community Church, NC, one from Emmaus Church, TX and one from Delta Church , IL.  Pray that they would have many opportunities to share their faith with their host families and pray that hearts would be softened. 

Please Pray for our adoption.  We are sensing that God is closing the door for us to adopt from Nicaragua.  This is a very sad thing.  It's not easy to give up something you've been praying for and longing for, for so long.  It has been a long and hard road, but we know that God uses everything and nothing is in vain when He is doing something.  Pray for Nicaragua.  The country is in complete unrest and there has been so much violence and tragedy.  Adoptions are pretty much on hold for an undetermined amount of time.  Our hearts break to think of the orphans that are also affected by the countries difficult times.  This is only one of the reasons why we feel God closing the door, but lets just say it was the last drop for us.  We are praying about changing paths.  We've talked with our agent and we could possibly change countries without losing  all our money and documents.  The other country that our agent works with and highly suggests we think about is Russia.  We aren't sure how that might work seeing we are dual citizens and American citizens still cannot adopt from Russia.  We are waiting to hear if there will be any issues.  Please pray that God would give us wisdom to make the right decisions and take steps in the right direction.  We know He has a plan and trust that He will lead.  

Please Pray for our adoption.  We are sensing that God is closing the door for us to adopt from Nicaragua.  This is a very sad thing.  It's not easy to give up something you've been praying for and longing for, for so long.  It has been a long and hard road, but we know that God uses everything and nothing is in vain when He is doing something.  Pray for Nicaragua.  The country is in complete unrest and there has been so much violence and tragedy.  Adoptions are pretty much on hold for an undetermined amount of time.  Our hearts break to think of the orphans that are also affected by the countries difficult times.  This is only one of the reasons why we feel God closing the door, but lets just say it was the last drop for us.  We are praying about changing paths.  We've talked with our agent and we could possibly change countries without losing  all our money and documents.  The other country that our agent works with and highly suggests we think about is Russia.  We aren't sure how that might work seeing we are dual citizens and American citizens still cannot adopt from Russia.  We are waiting to hear if there will be any issues.  Please pray that God would give us wisdom to make the right decisions and take steps in the right direction.  We know He has a plan and trust that He will lead.  


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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March 2018

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A time to rejoice

McKenzie writing.......

I sat down to write this blog entry and the first thing that came to mind was, “there is a time for everything”  I read a bit of Ecclesiastes and felt that it really summed up what I’ve been feeling and experiencing lately.  Our Adoption process has been extremely slow and trying.  I personally have struggled with why God has allowed certain things to go the way they’ve gone.  However, throughout the ups and downs of the waiting period He has helped us to endure.  Ecclesiastes spoke to me, because I feel like I’ve been trying to figure out God’s mind, His plan and purposes, but I’m coming to the realization that it’s truly like striving after something I cannot grasp.  The fact that we are just dust is becoming so much clearer to me.  In this life we will not escape suffering, but we must gear up for it.  I know that it’s inevitable that we will face trials and tribulations and our life is like a breath that comes and goes, but even though I know this I often seek understanding that my finite brain cannot comprehend.  So what shall we do?  Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor— it is the gift of God.”  Well, there is a time for everything, to give birth, to die, to plant, to uproot, to kill, to heal, to tear down, to build up, to weep, to laugh, to mourn, to dance and so on.....in the midst of everything God tells us to rejoice.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!” Philippians 4:4; “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials...” James 1:2.  To rejoice is not really a suggestion, it’s a command.  I can’t say it always comes easy, but I can say that it does take conscious effort.  I have been able to turn from oppression and darkness to rejoicing in the light, because God has led me back every time to the truth of who He is.  I’ve literally been lying in bed at night listing the characteristics of my Heavenly Father in my mind over and over and He has brought me to peace and rejoicing.  So, all this to say, I think God is teaching me through all this that life on earth is short and fragile, but it is a gift.  He’s got a time, a date, for everything and I am to rejoice.  

 

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Adoption news

Adrien has been so good in all this waiting.  He really wants a sibling!  He’s so ready to share his room and have someone to play with.  We continue to pray together that God will make it happen when the time is right.  We’ve recently been told that Nicaragua is only allowing children with special needs to be adopted.  We were encouraged to write a list of the disabilities we feel able to accept.  We have had much trouble with our agency here in Italy.  To say the least, the communication is bad and they always seem to have difficulty following through with what they say they are going to do.  We are still waiting for the translation of our list to be finished and sent to Nicaragua and it’s been over a month.  Nicaragua says that they are searching for a child that is around the age of 5 or 6 for us.  The call that they’ve found a child could arrive any day.  Please pray with us that God would connect the right people with the right child.  We trust he knows who that child is and He has a date planned for when we will be united.   

 

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Art Ministry

McKenzie has been spending some intentional time in the studio painting.  We are taking some time to pray and  think through how God wants us to use this gift for ministry.  One idea is that we would like to raise some money by selling paintings and prints in order to increase our PI project fund.  We would like to then use the funds for future events, workshops, and other art ministry efforts.  We are planning to be in the states this summer and will be carrying artwork with us, so if anyone is interested in helping us with this endeavor please connect with us.   Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we think through all this and start planning.  We are asking God for one clear step at a time.  

 

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Gruppo Carso Ministry

Our community group has grown and we have some new leaders desiring to start a new group in their home. This is really exciting and scary.  We have been praying for this to happen for a long time and we are now seeing the reality of it forming before us.  We plan to start these two new groups in the fall.  One will continue in our home and will be reaching those who are closer to our area.  The other will be meeting in a family’s home that live just over the border of Italy in Slovenia.  They will be reaching those who are closer to their area.  We are a little sad to not be together in a group anymore, but excited for what God is going to do through these steps.  Our hope one day would be to form another church gathering outside of Trieste city center.  This would be a new church plant that could eventually reach those living outside of Trieste.  Please pray with us for these next steps and for all the people involved in the multiplication of these groups and those we will be reaching out to in our own areas.

 

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Soccer Ministry

Andrea has been assistent coaching Adrien’s soccer team.  It has been a complicated year with the adminstration of the soccer club and its teams.  We are unsure of continuing in this soccer club next year, which is a bit disappointing.  We had some high hopes for the developing relationships, but we are asking God to guide us into the best situation for Adrien and for future relationships.  One pretty cool thing is that the coach, Paolo, who we’ve asked for prayer for in the past, is proving to be an excellent coach.  He and Andrea have been working really well together and he is also wanting to continue our soccer journey together.  Please pray with us that God would guide us all to the right soccer club together.   

 

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Summer Camp Ministry

Please pray for the summer camps coming up.  Our church, TrE, will be leading a summer camp in a town about 15 minutes from our house with a few different teams from the USA.  We will also be  helping with the same camp here in Sistiana that we helped with last summer.  Pray for the teams coming, the families hosting, the children and for TrE and all the preparations we will be doing.   

 

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Our team leadership

Please pray for Andrea and I to have wisdom in leading our PI team.  Pray that we would have grace for our teammates and understanding of their individual needs.  Pray that we would love and serve them well.  

Pray for Andrea’s leadership as an elder in TrE.  That God would speak through him as he preaches and leads worship, leads discussions etc.  That he would be able to prioritize his time well with ministry and family needs and that he would have closeness with God throughout it all. 

 

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Teammates

Please pray for all our teammates.  The Carmichaels, Edwardes and Vanellis.  Pray for peace and strength, for unity and grace and for wisdom and clear steps for the future and for joy.  Please pray specifically for the Carmichaels and Sarah who are doing driving school together.  They have upcoming tests, so please pray that they would be able to learn everything they need to in order to pass the exam.  

 


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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December 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! We hope your festivities have been enjoyable with family, peace, joy and love.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with our church family, TrE.  It was a really great time for some of our friends to come and have their first experience in our church service. Our community group "Gruppo Carso" had the opportunity to organize and prepare the service. We had the kids dressed up as characters from the nativity and we celebrated Jesus birth with music, art work and scripture. It was a really special time. We also got to celebrate Christmas Eve with our sending church, Port City Community Church. They Skyped us into their Christmas Eve service, chatted with us and sang us "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" It was very encouraging and we are so grateful to them for for their love and support.

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This past year has been filled with God’s provisions and we are so thankful to all of you for being a part of this journey with us. God has really blessed us with many new friends, deepened relationships with our old friends and He really has opened doors for us to shine the Gospel in various areas of our lives. He has been opening the hearts and eyes of those around us and we continue to pray that He will help the people we are in relationship with to understand who He is and how much love He has for them.  We pray that He would use us to shine Jesus as He also draws us into a deeper relationship with Him. Thank you again for your love and your continued prayers. We look forward to what He will do in this next year and we pray that many will come to know Him. We pray that He would continually open the doors that He desires to open in order for us to continue to walk in step with Him in bringing His children into His kingdom.

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Much love and many  blessings,

Andrea, McKenzie & Adrien


 

If you would like to make an end-of-the-year donation please make sure to have it in before December 31, 2017.  Your prayer and financial support keep us going here in Italy and we are so grateful to you for it.

 

Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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November 2017

McKenzie Rae Art has been launched!

www.mckenzieraeart.com

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Thank you so much for your prayers for McKenzie’s artwork and the possibilites to use her gifts to glorify God and share Him with others through paintings and artistic events.  This Saturday, December 2nd she has organized a collaborative art event.  McKenzie hopes to use her artwork to express the beauty of God’s creation and spark curiosity for viewers to contemplate His presence in this world.  The other artists are all from the Gruppo Carso that meets in our home.  Robert and Pieter will be accompanying the show with instrumental guitar and piano music.  Marlijn a young women in the group will be displaying her paintings.  Mathilde and her coworking Ruzanna will be displaying the jewelry that they’ve been making with a group of refugees that are now living in Trieste.  Ambra is creating different foods for the wine tasting and Adrien will even be displaying a few of his paintings!  Unfortunately, Valentina will not be performing a dance, because her father just passed away two days ago.  She will not be able to attend.  There are many people invited and we are hoping for a great turn out.  We are praying for all the details to come together smoothly and for the evening to be a special time to share God’s love, amazing creation and the gifts He’s given us all.  Thank you for praying with us!

 

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As mentioned above, Valentina’s father recently passed away in an unexpected and rapid way. He was taking medication for a lung disease for several years, but with a recent bout of pneumonia his lungs couldn’t handle it and they stopped functioning.  Vale called Andrea to the hospital the day of his death.  They wanted him to pray with them all.  Andrea arrived just minutes after her father passed.  He was able to pray with Vale, her sister and mom and they were very thankful for him to have come.  This has been a very hard situation for Valentina and her family.  Please pray that we can continue to be a support to her and her family and that God would comfort them and draw them into an intimate relationship with Him.  

 

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Please pray for Paolo, Eleonora and Filippo.  We have become quite close with this family and Paolo is even helping to coach Adrien’s soccer team.  He has many gifts in leading and encouraging these children and we are praying that he would desire God and that we could shine Christ to them all as a family.  He and Andrea have developed a unique friendship.  Please pray for Andrea to be a light and an example for Paolo.  

 

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McKenzie is continuing with English on Tuesday afternoons.  It has been going well with such a small group.  However, she has been asked by a parent’s association to lead a project in Art and English.  She is not sure how she will be able to juggle it all, so please pray for wisdom in making future decisions. 

 

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Adrien has been loving school.  We’ve gotten great reports from his teachers and he’s really growing up.  His passion for soccer continues and we are thankful for it, because it really connects us with so many families! 

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Please pray for Andrea as he is helping with all the administrative details for publicizing and selling my artwork.  It is a very complicated and stressful system here in Italy if you want to do things correctly.  So, I get discouraged and want to give up.  Please pray for the right people to help guide us and the wisdom to make the right decisions for how to proceed.  With the money we earn through this artwork we desire to use it toward many more ministry endeavors that shine God through art.  However, this system here will have us paying so many taxes that we may not have the ability to earn anything.

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Please pray for our church TRE.  We have recently been discussing changing our meeting location.  The prices in Trieste for other spaces are extremely high and we are unable to find something that would meet the needs we have as a church.  One of our options is to close our contract on our current space and meet only in our homes for a period of time.  We would continue our search for a space that would be better for our needs in the meantime.  This could be strategic in growing our two home church groups, but it is also a risk.  Please pray that we would be unified in the decision process and pray that God would guide us to where He wants us doing what He wants us doing.  Thank you!

 

Praises! 

Sarah and Graham have found a new home!  They will be moving in the next two weeks!  

We have several new people coming to our city, home church group (Gruppo Centro) and our Sunday service.  One girl, Cristina, is talking about wanting to be baptized! 

We had a great visit from our PI leaders RuthAnn, Doug and Tricia.  We were able to work with our teammates in team building and it gave some good insight.   


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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September 2017

Fall is here and we are back in action.  So far we’ve had a good start.  Here are a few of the happenings lately.


Our home group started meeting again at the end of August and it was really encouraging. Initially the 3 families that are part of our core group got together to discuss the next year and we were able to freshly look at things and get on the same page and same mind really quickly. That was really encouraging after spending the past years working on understanding how the vision we had for the group was going to make an impact on the group and the people we come in connection with.

Then on our first meeting all together we were about 25 people and it was a great evening together. We decided to start a study called Starting Point that we had translated in Italian many years ago. This will give an opportunity to each one (from the people that are just taking small steps toward faith in Jesus and the ones that are walking on His road from quite some time) to grow and help others to grow in Christ. 

Pray for Vito, a widow man that comes to our house group. He came to our church gathering this past Sunday and we hope that he continues to be open and continues to have a desire to be with us. 


This passed weekend our church lead a Gospel workshop. Yes, a Gospel workshop in Italy. Our church in the past already held this kind of workshop and now after 3 years some people showed interest in wanting to redo this experience. So we were able to connect to a British Gospel choir director that lead the workshop.  It was a truly special experience.  As John, the director, spoke about his life and his desire to follow Jesus and His relationship with God while explaining the meaning of the songs it was pretty amazing to think of all the seeds being planted.  There were at least 200 people at the concert and Sunday’s service had the choir sing again.  They were able to hear the gospel preached and Andrea really challenged everyone in his message to not follow their preconceived assumptions of who Jesus is, but to really begin taking steps in discovering who He is.  Three people approached Elio at the end saying that they were very moved by the way everything was spoken about and intrigued to return to our church service the following week.  We pray that for the many people that came it would be a step in a direction toward a relationship with Christ and the He would continue to draw them to our church community.


Adrien started primary school. In this past two weeks he seems to do really good and we pray that this new season in his life would be positive and encouraging for him.  At the same time he has also started the new soccer season. Adrien has been moved with the older kids. He is really excited. We pray for the relationships we were able to make during the past soccer season and thank you for praying for Adrien to be on the team God wanted him to be on.  In the end a lot of the relationships we started will be continuing, because the children were also moved to his team!  


A few weeks ago were at an Italian church planters family retreat. It was a meaningful time to reconnect with other people in Italy that have the same passion we have to see the Gospel spread and new churches to be planted.


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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July 2017

About four months have passed since our last prayer update and we apologise for that.  We will try not to let so much time go in between these posts.  It has certainly been a full and eventful period, so we hope to catch you up in the best way possible.  We are blessed and excited to share with you the wonderful things God has been doing and the things He is prompting us to pray for.  Stick with us

It started with a field that needed a bit of care.  Adrien wanted his birthday party to be in a soccer field.  So, instead of us renting the field he practices in we decided to cut the grass and replace the nets in a field in Sistiana that had been abandoned for years.  An association had been formed months before to do the real dirty work and so our maintenance efforts weren't quite so bad.  Anyway, as we prepared the area for the party we began dreaming of how this place could be used for the community and how we'd love to be able to be involved in making it a safe place for children to play.  We weren't sure how this would happen, but we sat in the field together and asked God to show us.  This story continues, but you'll have to wait to hear the rest in the summer camp section.....

Adrien's soccer passion is contagious!  He has excelled in the sport and it has been so fun to watch.  This fall he will be starting up again and we have some key decisions to make in what group he will be playing with.  The biggest reason this is important to us is because of the relationships we have been building with the families involved.  Things might change in base of which group he plays with, so we are seeking God's wisdom and direction for how He desires us to move forward.

English this year was a success.  The group that met each week in our home was great, but the age differences made it quite a challenge.  It was also a privilege to be asked by Adrien's teachers to come do English activities with his class and it was amazing to gain the trust and affection of his classmates and teachers.  All in all the experience was such a great opportunity to engage with the families.  Already there are things lining up for next year, but we are asking God to help guide us in making wise decisions in what responsibilities to take on.  We are really seeking to get involved in the most fruitful endeavours for His Kingdom.

Our annual neighbourhood tea party was again totally incredible.  Our team of women from our church did an amazing job in preparing and organising everything.  All the guests were so appreciative and enthusiastic.  The time together was yet just another step in a journey for understanding Christ's love.  Our prayer is that because of this event we'd have other opportunities to engage with these women and continue developing relationships.  At the moment there is one person in particular that McKenzie will be meeting with to learn more about crocheting.  We hope that one day these women would be desiring a relationship with Jesus.  

English Sport Summer Camps!!!!  What an awesome experience.  Our church had two different groups come from the USA.  One came from Montana (Grace Church) and the other from North Carolina (Port City Community Church).  We ran two different camps.  One camp was held closer to Trieste and the other was here in Sistiana.  The USA teams were hosted by Italian families and their time with them was so amazing.  The camp in Opicina was completely run by our church TrE and therefore they were able to talk about Jesus in all the lessons and activities.  All the children and parents loved it and can't wait until next year!  Since here in Sistiana we were helping with an already existing camp that was not religious we were unable to use the Bible for activities and lessons.  However, so many Biblical principles and values were taught through stories, sports activities and conflict resolution.  The host families were amazed at how well things went and they really embraced their guests as family.  These camps have opened doors for us to be known as a church and much trust was established.  So, that leads us back to the field...one of the wives of one of the host families is the director of the association that initially cleaned up the field!  We happened to sit next to her and her husband at one of the host family's BBQ's and we discovered that we had similar hopes and dreams for the field.  She had heard about a couple (us) who had cut the grass and she was excited that citizens in the area would take the time to do that.  Anyway, she also works with the mayor and would like to introduce us!  What an answer to Prayer!  We will be joining the association next week.  They too have been wanting to create something in that field that would be used for children.  I love when God puts things like this together!  Who would've thought?  We look forward to how God is going to use all of this in the future!

It was such an honour to be part of Robert and Ambra's journey to marriage.  They asked us to be their witnesses for the civil marriage and then the next day Andrea did the religious wedding ceremony.  The message was so heartfelt and personal and Andrea did a great job engaging everyone with the truth and love of the Gospel.  He shared the story of how Robert and Ambra met at work and how God used Robert, his testimony and lifestyle to capture Ambra's heart.  He also shared how Ambra was patient with Robert and how God grew her in this time.  It's how Jesus is calling His bride.  As He opens the hearts and minds of those He is calling, we who are already the bride, get to reflect Him, His joy, His character.  Then He uses us to draw many into His Kingdom!  How cool is that?  We look forward to continuing our journey together with Robert and Ambra in learning more about Christ and how to reflect Him in our marriages.  

 "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete."  John 3:29

McKenzie's sister and family came to visit at the beginning of this month.  It was such a wonderful time to reconnect and enjoy a bit of traveling.  Everything from the beautiful sights to the great food, conversation and cousins was a gift from God.  We were even able to reconnect with the family that God used to bring McKenzie's sister and brother-in-law to Italy over 16 years ago.  They were the first to live with the family and teach the children english.  After that McKenzie came to live with them and during that time, like Robert and Ambra, God captured Andrea's heart through McKenzie's testimony.  We are still praying that God would capture the hearts of this family.  He put us all together for a reason!

Our little church, TrE, is growing in its unified vision for reaching those around us with the message of Jesus.  Along with our PI team the congregation has been praying for God to connect us with those who are hungry and thirsty for Him.  Through our home groups and outreach activities we've been seeing God move.  We've had visitors at our home groups and our Sunday services with several interested in spiritual things.  Our church has recently been asked to lead a meal service for the homeless at the train station and we are hoping God will use it not only for those in need of food, but also for us to shine as a gospel community to those who join us and those we serve.  

Andrea has had a lot on his plate with leading our PI team, being an elder in our church, preaching, leading worship and communion, leading our Gruppo Carso, studying and meeting with men from Acts 29 Italy and still having time for family and new and old relationships.  Having these responsibilities can at times be very stressful for Andrea and our family so we are seeking council in how to manage all of it well.  We are asking God to lead or steps and put the right people in our path.  We are praying that God would grow us through it and grow His church too.

 Our PI conference this past spring was really great.  God used it in so many ways to challenge us and direct us not only as a team but as a family.  We are thankful for these times and seeking God in how to take steps forward.  We are also thankful for our teammates and all the work God is doing in and through them.  We pray that God would use us all in a mighty way as we continue to seek His will.  


 

Pray with us!

  • For our involvement in the community in Sistiana and the association for the field
  • For where to place Adrien in soccer in the fall
  • For decisions with teaching English
  • For growing relationships in all our outreach endeavors as individuals and as a church
  • For Andrea and our family to have balance and rest and that we would be able manage everything well
  • For our Nicaragua adoption...still waiting for some kind of news

For our teammates and all their growing relationships- 

Carmichaels making decisions for future language learning, studying for driving test, time for rest this summer

Edwardes finding the right home in the place God desires them to begin planting seeds for a new church one day, for language learning, for driving test coming up August 2nd.


Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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March 2017  

March 2017  

Praises and Prayers

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John 15:4-5

 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

I often jog through the woods to this pretty little town called Slivia.  It's a time for me to pray, worship and lay my burdens at Jesus' feet.  Through the seasons I've watched nature blossom, thrive, fall, rest and wait eagerly for the next blossom.  Life experiences are often compared to seasons and I have always thought that the most difficult phase in these experiences was in the waiting.  Lately, however, God has been showing me that it's not in the waiting that I find most difficulty, but in the resting.  The other morning I read in Luke 8 about Jesus calming the storm and I reflected on the fact that the disciples did have faith to wake Jesus up and tell Him that they were perishing.  They must have known He could do something. They had already seen Him work miracles.  Yet, Jesus says to them, "Where is your faith?" It struck me, because it was like He was testing not their faith in the fact that He could do something, but in the fact that they weren't convinced of Him, his character, his love for them.  In those moments of waiting for Him to wake up and to do something, although brief,  I can imagine that the circumstances scared them enough to think, "Does He love us enough? Can we trust Him?  Can we rest in His care?"  How easy it can be when you're in a phase of waiting on Jesus to do something and your view of Him can shift from His love to His works.  Where in the waiting you are convinced that He is capable, but you aren't convinced that He is willing.  You start asking those same questions, "Does He love me enough?  Can I trust Him?  Can I rest in His care?"  Then when things don't go the way you think they should go you ask,  "Why not Lord?"  The truth is that the purposes that only God can see may or may not ever be revealed.  Yet all along in the waiting His love is never changing.  His character is never changing and He desires us to rest in this no matter the circumstances.  I'm learning that when my focus turns away from this truth it's a great time for me to examine my motives.  Why do I care so much about this thing, whatever it might be at the time, that I would allow it to become bigger than my relationship with Jesus and my trust in the God of the universe?  When life's circumstances are difficult and I'm tempted to focus more on what I desire Jesus to do on my terms rather than resting in knowing Him, His character, that He loves me and that it's gonna be ok, it's time to abide.  For apart from Jesus I can do nothing.  

Stick with us as Andrea and I share some praises and prayer requests! 

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Praise God for Port City Community Church.  A group came to visit this January.  It was a great time to share stories and pray together for each other and our ministries. 

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While the group was here they visited our home church groups.  This is Gruppo Carso at our place for brunch! 

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Praise God for our time with Robert and Ambra.  We are working through the book by Francis Chan called "Me and You Forever" Getting excited for their big day in June! 

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Praise God for our PI Team and their families.  It's such a blessing to be in this together. 

Praise God for developing relationships with our neighbors.  This man helps us to take care of the green areas in the neighborhood.  It's exciting to see how God is using the simple acts of kindness to shine His light.  We are already planning for the next Tea Party.  Many women have volunteered to help.  One neighbor who has recently lost his wife has been coming over for dinner on occasion. He is opening to the idea of God.  We hope he will continue to spend time with us as we love on him and talk to him about Jesus. 

Praise God for developing relationships with our neighbors.  This man helps us to take care of the green areas in the neighborhood.  It's exciting to see how God is using the simple acts of kindness to shine His light.  We are already planning for the next Tea Party.  Many women have volunteered to help.  One neighbor who has recently lost his wife has been coming over for dinner on occasion. He is opening to the idea of God.  We hope he will continue to spend time with us as we love on him and talk to him about Jesus. 

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Praise God that art is becoming an active part of ministry

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Building relationships while spending time in the studio

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Going to art workshops and exhibitions with friends

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Praise God for the opportunity for McKenzie to do English lessons at Adrien's school.  It is opening doors for many other areas where we can serve!

 

Prayers: 

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For the relationships that are happening because of soccer.  Andrea has been playing soccer games each Thursday night and it has been a great time for him to connect with dads and a place to invite others to join.  Already we have connected with people who we are collaborating with for a summer, English, sports camp.  Pray that we would have a good turn out.  Pray for the forming teams from the USA that will be coming to help lead the camp and the organization of the activities.  Pray that this opportunity would help those who are skeptical of the evangelical church to see the love of Christ and that it would build trust.   

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Please pray for our church family, that we would grow in love and unity.   

Pray for our teammates:  Carmichael family- language learning, driving school, girls integration at school and family free time

Edwardes family- language learning, driving tests, moving to another location in the city, children starting a new school

Vannelli family- Physcial health, continued financial support, wisdom and sensitivity as Elio leads

Pray for our Pioneers conference in April-for it to be refreshing and recalibrating.  For our children to learn more about Jesus' love and for them to deepen their relationships with God.

 

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Gruppo Carso- Pray that we would all be on mission to reach those around us with the message of Jesus. 

Valentina, Montse and families to be able to return to the group since they've had health issues all winter that have hindered them from coming.   Pray for their hearts to be softened.  Pray for fertile soil.

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Pray for our adoption process.  It has slowed down and we aren't sure when it will pick back up.  Pray for there to be no more obstacles.  Pray that God would sustain us as we abide in Jesus in the waiting.  This is Adrien with his best buddy's new baby brother.  So precious... 

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We love you and thank you for all your prayers! 

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Much love and many blessings!  Thank you for serving with us! 

Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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October-November 2016

When everything is breaking apart God remains solid.  He is our stability when life is shaking and we feel like we haven't got a grip.  It is in these times where we must draw in close and ask Him, what are you showing me Lord?  What am I to take from this and how am I to reflect Christ in all of it.  

"So he said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Amighty." Zechariah 4:6


Amatrice after the earthquake this past August

  • Please pray with us for the people that went through the recent earthquakes in Italy in these past couple of months.  Hundreds of people have been left with nothing.

Thoughts from Jonathan Gilmore (a Godly man that has played a big part guiding us in ministry here in Italy.  He is an amazing example of someone extremely passionate for helping Italy understand the Gospel).

"As news comes through, it appears evident that the earthquake that struck a remote, yet beautiful area of central Italy, is a devastating one. By the hour there are more reports of missing and of deceased. Old people and young children. Seven years ago the nearby city of L’Aquila, 60 kms away, was hit by a similar earthquake. As then, so now, we face the tragedy of lives lost and the anguish of devastated families and communities.

One of my first thoughts early this morning, however, was how this present tragedy points to another tragedy. Recently I have been researching the presence of Evangelical churches throughout Italy. The province of Rieti, where the earthquake happened, is one of the least reached areas of Italy. Rieti province has an overall population of 160,000 people; 50,000 people live in the city of Rieti (60kms distant from the earthquake area), the rest of the province’s population live in small towns and villages. In the whole of the province of Rieti there are no more than half a dozen Evangelical churches (of any denomination) and they are almost all in the city of Rieti. A simple conclusion: the area affected by the earthquake has, as far as we can tell, no witness to the gospel! That is a great tragedy.

As we think about that, three important elements emerge:

  • vast areas of Italy still have no local, evangelical witness
  • the challenge of reaching not only the cities, but the small towns and villages as well, is great; research indicates that over half of the Italian population lives in locations with less than 50,000 inhabitants, 35% with less than 15,000 inhabitants and 15% with less than 5000
  • and as the evangelical church, we are thus unable to love and serve these communities practically and spiritually if we are not present

How can we be present? The church needs to discover God’s passion for his mission.

Please pray for Christians throughout the country: that they might be present in this time of tragedy to bring comfort and to present the gospel of hope, with compassion and empathy, in the midst of darkness and desperation. We want to reach into the destroyed communities with hope and light so that a radically different narrative can be proclaimed about what is happening, with the gospel at the centre, redefining everything."


  • Please pray with us for our neighbors.  In October we organized a neighbourhood BBQ. It was a great time to meet the different families in the area.  Some of the people had never really talked to each other much before even though they've lived right next door for years. We pray that God will use also these small things to bring Jesus love and light to this area.

Guys working the grill

Everyone was so shocked, because the day was gorgeous even if it was supposed to rain! 

We ended the day with a really fun and competitive soccer match


  • Please pray for more opportunites for McKenzie to use art in sharing the Gospel.  She is currently working on a series of paintings that are telling stories of God and His amazing creation.  Below is a piece she only had three days to start and complete and it was displayed in a Croatian town called Grisignana in an annual art competition.  

  • Please pray with us for our developing relationships and ministry opportunities.  Andrea has been invited to join men's soccer pick up games and we are chatting with a mom about organizing an english sport camp this summer.

We are thankful for Adrien, in these past few months we have seen him grow sooo much in interacting with adults and making new friends. He is loving soccer and he will be starting his first tournament of the season.  Going to his practices and games has already given us opportunities to connect with parents. 


  • Please continue to pray with us for these two families to know Christ.  God continues to draw them into community with us and our church family, but taking steps forward with Jesus is slow moving.
  • Pray also for a couple that we met through Adrien's school. They are struggling in their marriage and are separated at the moment. We pray that they will give it another chance and that they will see how God can restore their relationship.  In this difficult time we are praising God however, because they have both opened up to us and allowed us to walk with them through it all.  We have been able to give Godly council and Christ's love and grace.

  • Please pray for the English lessons McKenzie continues to give in our home.  We will be having a Thanksgiving dinner with the children and their families who do English this Friday.  We are praying for God to continue using us to share Christ as we gather at the table enjoying a meal. 

This past Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving with our community group  

This past Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving with our community group  


  • Pray for our team mates that are trying to develop another community group in the city. We see God moving in many relationships and they are taking all the opportunities that God gives them to share the Gospel.
A meal and God's word! 

A meal and God's word! 

Bible and aperitivo! 

Bible and aperitivo! 

Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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September 2016

Ciao a tutti! Hope you have had a great summer.  Ours was full and really flew by.  We spent some great time with friends and family and are so thankful for all the events and encounters we had with various people throughout the season. God is really working in our relationships and giving us opportunities to share the gospel and our lives with those around us.  We continue to pray that He will help us to grow and nurture these relationships so that He will be known.  

Since our last update Elio and his family have come back from the US.  Their time there was very encouraging as they met new friends and visited old ones. They were able to share more about what God is doing in Trieste and in Italy and were inspired by the different churches they were able to visit.

Robert and Ambra have an official date. They are getting married next June!  Since they have asked me to marry them, we are praying that God would allow us to have gone and come back from Nicaragua by that time.  We are still waiting to be matched with a child.  

Italy Church Planters Family Retreat IMPATTO-  This was such a fun and encouraging time for our Pioneers team to be with other church planters and their families here in Italy.  The kids so enjoyed being together, seeing old friends and making new ones!  These relationships are so important for them as they grow up.  Considering that each part of Italy where they live has an evangelical presence that is less than 1% they may be the one believing family in their neighborhood, school or even whole town.  Pray that Jesus would capture and drive the hearts of these children and make them lights to those around them.

During one of our worship gatherings we were able to pray for our children and they prayed for us!  It was such a special moment.  Adrien looked up and asked us, "why are we only three mamma?"  We reminded him that it wouldn't be long before he would have a brother or sister!  So precious.

Adrien was so excited to get back to school. The teachers have commented on how much he's grown and how much he is opening up and chatting with them.  He has also started playing soccer and loving it!

This month you can pray for:

  • We are leading a study on relationships in our community group (Gruppo Carso). We will be touching on various aspects of relationships including marriage.  Please pray that God would lead us as we prepare this study.  We desire for it to help us grow in our understanding of how God wants a relationship with us and how He wants us to have a relationship with others.  Montse, Vale and family have already come once and we are praying that nothing would hinder them from continuing to come.
  • Wisdom in deciding how to prioritize which areas of ministry to concentrate on and when. School, sports, friendships, teammates, church family, conferences, gifts and passions, evangelistic events are some of the areas where there is much opportunity for us to pour ourselves into relationships.  We need God to show us how best to do it.  
  • Together with our church we are trying to organise a summer camp for the kids.  This opportunity came from the school paint project. There a lots of things to discuss and put together. We are waiting for more details from the school. Pray for direction, easy decisions and that communications could flow easily and not get delayed.
  • Since the tea party last spring our neighbors have been opening up and desiring more community.  One couple in particular has shown interest.  They constantly ask questions about what we believe.  We've invited them to our Gruppo Carso, but they haven't come yet.  Please pray that they would come.   
  • My mother, Graziella, is not doing well emotionally and psychologically.  It is a heavy burden for me, because she is alone.  She lives 20 minutes away, but we are thinking that she needs to be closer to us.  We are praying that she will be able to rent the townhouse next door.  It will take a miracle for it all to work out.  We are asking God to guide us and help us to know if this is the best thing for her and for us.   
  • Please continue to pray for us as we wait in this adoption process.  We are hoping that our paperwork is in the right hands and that they are matching us up with the child God desires us to have as we speak.   

One of McKenzie's passions is horses.  We are so thankful to have found a great barn with trail riding. She's been able to go a couple times with friends and girls from our Gruppo Carso.  It's pretty amazing to be able to enjoy God's creation while praying for those you are with, who don't know Him, to see HIm in it all.  

Thank you for standing in prayer with us!  We are so grateful for you and to be on mission with you for God's Kingdom! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

CHOOSE ONE OPTION BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US FINANCIALLY!

PIONEERS

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July 2016

Ciao! Since the last update we have some exciting news! Thanks for standing in prayer with us! For this month you can pray for:

  • A few weeks ago the whole families of Valentina and Montse (the two girls that started to study the Bible with Mckenzie about 1 year ago) came to our community group night. It was very exciting to have them there and interact with other believers. They also participated actively to the Bible study and it was an encouraging time. They have also all agreed to do a marriage study together starting in September. We have also recently been connecting more and more with different families from Adrien's school.  McKenzie is doing an english game time with some of the kids from his class! Pray that God will speak to the heart of these families.
Community group night

Community group night

Community group night 

Community group night 

English game time!

English game time!

  • After we finished the school painting project (a 3 years event that involved our church and international friends serving a local school in the city. To hear more about it look at June 2016 prayer blog) a new door opened up! The parents of the school in collaboration with the school asked our church to run a sports/art summer camp for the summer of 2017. They would also like for us as a church to provide children and adults english conversation throughout the year. Pray that this relationships can continue to grow and that God will be in the midst.

 

  • William is one of my closest friend from childhood. We had lost a bit of touch in the past several years. Recently we meet again and he was open in sharing how his life is a complete mess. His girlfriend had been cheating on him after in the past he did the same to her, their little dougther is suffering through it all and now that he wanted to try to rebuild his family nothing seems to really work. They are close to leave each other. I had the opportunity to bring the Gospel in this situation. They don't believe and so we are praying that God will open their eyes and hearts to respond to him, the only one that can bring peace in all this turmoil. Please be praying for them. We had been praying for them for years and this connection was a big surprise in the past weeks.

 

  • Pray for Robert and Ambra.  He met Ambra at work about 2 years ago and led her to Jesus. They have just gotten engaged and we are so excited. Pray for their future together, that they will hold Christ as their center and that they will honour and treasure their marriage and be an example to others.
Ambra and Robert

Ambra and Robert

  • Pray for the Vannelli family. Elio is one of the elders in our church and is going to take his family for the first time to the US for support raising. They will be leaving for the whole month of August. Pray that they will be connecting with the right people and that God will use this time in an incredible way.
Elio and Nicoletta and their sons Christopher and Gabriel

Elio and Nicoletta and their sons Christopher and Gabriel

Thank you for praying with and for us! 

Much love,

Andrea

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June 2016

Buon giorno! Thanks for all your prayers! This time the Prayer Blog is going to be a bit longer then usual. This past two months have been pretty busy. Lots of good opprtunities to share God's love in word and deed. We are excited to share with you what happened so that you can keep praying for all this relationships.

  • In May our team was for the first time all together on the ground. The Carmicahels are all set up and moving forward in cultural and language acquisition. The Edwardes came back from home assignment and successfully renew their visas. Pray that we will be strong in working together to proclaim God's love to the people here in Italy.
Our Pioneers Team minus Sarah taking the pic

Our Pioneers Team minus Sarah taking the pic

Kids of our Pioneers Team

Kids of our Pioneers Team

  • Then at the end of May, our community group and other people from our Church organized a Ladies Tea Party for the women in our neighborhood. It was meant to be a time for community and to get to know each other. It turned out to be a great success and the women invited were really surprised that our group cared to do something for them. At the same time we also started taking care of the lawn around our neighborhood that the town cuts only once a year. People were amazed why we care about doing this and it was a great way to share that we would like to bless others as Jesus have blessed us. Pray that this relationships with these women can grow.
The men at work for the party

The men at work for the party

The men at work for the party

The men at work for the party

Preps

Preps

Some of the food

Some of the food

Good times

Good times

Good times

Good times

The minds behind the Tea Party

The minds behind the Tea Party

  • Right after the party we went for a 5 day conference in central Italy. This was the one of first times about 1500 people gathered to worship together in Italy. We had the privilege to have John Piper come and speak to us about "The Passion of God for Mission". It was a wonderful time of learning and spending time with other believers around Italy. Pray that the Church in Italy will grasp the importance of being passionate about God's mission of reaching people with the Gospel.
On our way to the conference

On our way to the conference

On our way to the conference

On our way to the conference

The group from our Church that went to the conference

The group from our Church that went to the conference

Mission conference

Mission conference

John Piper

John Piper

  • A copule of days after we came back from the conference we had 5 days of theological training with Gregg Allison from Sojourn Church in Kentucky. It spoke about "Passion for God's Word". Pray that the people in our Church that were present and the different guest will embrace what we learned.
Gregg teaching

Gregg teaching

Worship time

Worship time

Worship time

Worship time

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  • Two days ago we finished a project we started 3 years ago. In 2014 we begun help painting an elementary school in our Church neighborhood. This year we completed the last floor. It was an incredible journey for our Church to be involved in blessing the city and for the people in the school that were amazed why we would do such a thing for them. Last night at the final party our church had the opportunity to share what we did this and also thank them to help us serve them. They were astonished that we were thanking them and that we served them because of Jesus and his love for his people. Pray that we can keep in touch with this new friends and that God's love will speak to their hearts. 
School painting project

School painting project

  • Last but not least we had some great opprtunities to buil relationships and help out in Adrien school. We just want to thank God for so many opportunities he gave us to meet people and try to be a blessing for them. Pray that we will find open doors and hearts!
End of the year recital

End of the year recital

School garden project

School garden project

Trying to be a pro! 

Trying to be a pro! 

Adrien's school race! 

Adrien's school race! 

Thanks for praying with us! 

God Bless, 

Andrea

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March 2016

Buon Giorno! Thanks for all your prayers!  Things are moving forward in our church in Trieste. We had a good church meeting this past month. People were comfortable to freely share their doubts and suggestions about the church vision and strategy! It was a good time of prayer and being a community that works things out together! This month you can pray for:

  • The Carmichaels got their visas! And also the support the need to leave. They will be arriving March 30th. Please pray for final packings, family good bays, smooth travel and adjustment to the Italian culture. 
  • This weekend we will be going to the Pioneers area retreat. Robert one of our church worship leaders will have the opportunity to lead worship at the retreat. We are thankful for this opportunity he has and we are asking prayer that God will use him and the rest of the team to guide us in worshiping our great God during this weekend!  God has been growing and developing him in the past year in leading the church in worship in spirit and truth.

Millstatt Lake, Austria - Conference location

 

  • We are also asking prayer for our adoption in Nicaragua. We are in the waiting zone. All of our documentation is in Nicaragua since this past October but we are still waiting for the Nicaragua's adoption authority to get together and approve our papers. It seemed like it was going to be a quicker process to get to the next step. Pray for patience on our side and favour from God that the papers will be approved.

 

Our Community Group

Our Community Group

Our Community Group

After 7 years we had to get the 2nd car. McKenzie's pick!

Thanks. God Bless,

Andrea

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February 2016

Ciao! Thanks for praying with us! Our trip back to Italy was better that we expected. Adrien was tired and slept much of the way back. If you have missed our presentation you could watch our short video by clicking on the link https://vimeo.com/146505033. When we arrived we were right back into ministry life. In this past 3 weeks we had several meetings and retreats. It was a bit hard in the beginning trying to catch up sleep and with the jet lag being tired and going to different important meetings 2 days after we landed but it was good to be back and see how God is moving. Adrien went right back happily to school after being off for 6 weeks! This was a blessing! This below are a few things you can pray with us:

  • Pray for direction as we are exploring possibilities for a new meeting place for the church. There are lots of things that have to fall in place. We are currently asking for wisdom and seeking God if this is the right move.
  • Pray for our new teammates the Carmichaels! They still need about 20% of their support before they can leave for Italy. We are praying that the support will come in before March 28th which is their potential departure date.
   From left to right: Amy, Lydia, Margo and Gary.     
  From left to right: Amy, Lydia, Margo and Gary. 
  
  • Pray for our church unity. Our Pioneers team has been working alongside the church leaders to develop a culture in which the believers live out the gospel in their lives everyday and not just on Sunday.  We've seen much growth and good fruit, but also some push back. Our hope is that God would use the members who have caught the vision to be examples for the others and that He would use it all in order to grow this community and plant new churches. 

God Bless,

Andrea

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January 2016

Buon anno! Thanks for praying with us! We are getting to the end of our time in the US. We really loved every minute and it was great to spend time with family and friends! It was also a great privilege for me to baptize my brother-in-law Nate. We are excited to go back to Italy to start the new year and see how God will continue leading our Pioneers team alongside the church in Trieste. This below are a few things you can pray with us:

  • Pray for our trip back to Italy. We will be leaving Jan. 5th and traveling with Adrien especially for long flights is not always easy. Pray that he could rest and we will have patience with him. Pray also for family goodbyes which are hard.
  • Pray for when we get back in Italy. We have several meetings and conferences already lined up as soon as we get back. Pray that these times can be real blessings for us and the ministry in Trieste. 
  • During one of our meetings, we will be praying and asking God for direction on what to do next regarding our church meeting place. We are growing and also we would like to see if God his directing us to a different area in the city with a different demographic.  Thank you so much for joining us in praying for all these things!

God Bless, 

Andrea

 

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November 2015

Buongiorno! Thanks for praying with us! Since the last prayer blog updates we have been very encouraged to see Ambra growing in her walk with God. She is eager to be part of the christian community and is actively seeking to go deeper in her understanding of God's Word. As we've cast vision for inward and outward growth and multiplication for our community groups we've seen some positive responses. Our group (gruppo carso) just evaluated itself in the areas of being a family, disciples, missionaries and servants. It was a really good time to see what happened in the past year and to ask God to lead us in this next season in these four areas of focus. We are excited to see what He will do. This month we would really appreciate if you could pray with us about:

  • Our trip to the US at the end of November. Last time we came back to the States was about 3 years ago. We are getting ready to come and there are several things we are preparing to share during our trip. We will be in the US for 6 weeks and will be traveling in 4 different states. Please pray with us as we prepare for the trip and have also many other things going on here at the moment. Also please pray for me, because I will be preaching in English at a church in Texas. I am praying for confidence in Christ, clear thoughts and communication and for the Holy Spirit's leading.
  • Pray for Elio and Nicoletta and their 2 children, Christopher and Gabriel. Elio is one of the Italian elders in our church and he will be taking a great leap of faith, leaving his secular job and going full time in ministry starting in January 2016. This is a big deal in Italy, because there are very few national, full-time evangelical pastors due to lack of available resources and financial help that local Italian churches are able to give. Italy is in need of pastors who are able to dedicate this kind of time to their churches so this is very exciting. This will also free up time for Elio to work with our Pioneers Team in developing future ministries for church planting. He and his family will be supported financially by different churches and individuals outside of Italy which calls for a lot prayer. Please pray for wisdom and direction as they take this next step.

From left to right: Christopher, Elio, Nicoletta and Gabriel


  • Our team is growing! God willing in January another couple from Wilmington will join us here in Italy. Gary and Amy and their 2 daughters, Lydia and Margo are currently raising support and preparing for this next chapter of their lives. Please pray for them as this time can be quite trying and stressful.  Also please pray that we are able to help them in this time of final preparation and departure. 

From left to right: Amy, Lydia, Margo and Gary

Thanks to stand with us in prayer! 

God bless, 

Andrea

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