Buon Natale! Merry Christmas from the Whitmans!

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For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.…
Isaiah 9:6

Christmas tree

We thank God for you this Christmas season!  Thank you for sticking with us through thick and through thin!

We recovered (mostly) from Covid just in time to enjoy a nice Christmas as a family.

Thank you for your prayers!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Whitmans

PS. As our gift to you, here is our latest video (again)!

Pray for Italy

 

 

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When Covid Comes Home

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It’s hard to believe…after dodging the bullet (only by the grace of God) for almost two years, Covid finally made it to the Whitman residence.

For roughly a week now, all four of us have come down with classic Covid-19.

I wish I could say we got the version with no symptoms, but alas, not so. The kids had serious symptoms for a few days, but for Melodee and me it is very much ongoing. We are thankful that we have been able to handle it at home. We have been quarantined since last Saturday, with most symptoms starting to appear the next day.

I was hoping that we could get some catch up work done during this time, but taking care of two hyperactive and cooped up children, feeding the family and trying to breathe between coughs has pretty much taken all of our energy so far.

On the 9th we will be tested to see if it is still in our system, otherwise we will have to wait to get out until the 14th of December.

Sadly, during this time, Giuseppe, one of our most trusted members, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. We weren’t even able to attend the funeral!

Please pray for:

  1. Complete and rapid healing.
  2. Good relations with our neighbors, who are fearful of getting sick from us.
  3. Good use of our time.
  4. For the ministry to continue to flourish in our absence.
  5. My mom, who will be heading to New York to keep my nephew Gioele, since my sister-in-law Francesca and her kids are also in quarantine, and Jeremy needs to work!

Thank you for your prayers!

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Our Newest Video

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Thanks you Danilo for this video! It pretty much sums it up!

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel has a plan.

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Today’s keyword is PLAN.
After six weeks of sharing different aspects of the ministry, I would like to talk about the future.  “Where do we go from here?”

These weeks together have been particularly enlightening in that regard. 
To go forward I would like to go backward.
The first place I need to go is to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus gave us the Great Commission:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

The lockdown did not surprise Jesus, nor did it mess up his plan.
Our calling as disciples is still to make disciples of all nations…disciples of Jesus Christ.  That’s the big picture.

Then there is our small piece of the puzzle.
In ministry there is always a tension between DOING ministry and EQUIPPING OTHERS for ministry. 
Most of us have a tendency toward DOING probably.  It’s easier…it’s more predictable, it assures greater job security.

Unfortunately, in the long run it is also very short-sighted.  We get old, we get sick, eventually we die.  And what is left when we’re gone?

I remember during my college days when I heard our friend, missionary Al Cuthbert speak about developing leaders.  All of a sudden it all made sense…we can continue the great commission by investing in others that will invest in others!

In a sense that is what all servants of God are called to do.

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Ephesians 4:11-12

Sometimes we get caught up in doing.  And that’s not all bad…but at the end of the day, at the end of our life, it’s when we invest in developing others that we can make the greatest difference.

That’s why our personal mission statement, even twenty years later, has remained:
Equipping the Italian Church of the Next Generation to Reach the World for Christ.

There is something exhilarating, there is something right about seeing younger men and women developed in their gifts to serve Christ’s church into tomorrow.  After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?

Pray that we may continue to do that everyday more and better!

We look forward to seeing you soon! (But not too soon!)

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Even when the world is locked down, the Gospel is proclaimed at Easter!

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Today’s keyword is Easter.


17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins…
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

I Corinthians 15:17, 20

I remember it like if it were yesterday: I was scheduled to be operated on my tongue cancer in Milan the week after Easter. 

Providentially, that Easter I was also called on to preach.  I don’t remember what exactly I said, but I remember the text I preached on, and I remember the feeling that if for some reason I was no longer able to preach again, I was happy that it was this message that would be my last one: Our hope is based on the absolute certainty of Christ’s resurrection!

Incidentally, on my way home from church I heard a song on Radio Luce about Easter that kept repeating: “If this is true, this changes EVERYTHING!”
Praise God, that Christ has changed everything!

“O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

I Corinthians 15:55

Lockdown will not change what Christ has done and what his resurrection guarantees!
Last year for Easter we weren’t able to leave our homes.  This year we gather together, even with the unpleasantness of masks, social distancing and inability to have a choir or worship team.
Yet the most important thing is that Christ is proclaimed!  And praise God we are together to sing his praises!

To quote the old saying: No Jesus: No hope.  Know Jesus, Know Hope!

May God remind you this Easter of the power and the hope and the blessing of our Savior!

We look forward to seeing you next week! Buona Pasqua!

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