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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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