What will be the most valuable use of our time as missionaries?
I can’t remember exactly when it happened…was it during the spiritual gifts course that I took at church? Was it during a missionary presentation?
Probably partly both. All I know is that God made it crystal clear to me one day that not only was He leading me back to Italy as a missionary but that I would be there “Equipping the Italian Church of the Next Generation to Reach the World for Christ.”
I love the quote that goes something like this:
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Since our last conversation, God has reminded me again and again that there is no better use of my time. We need to invest in others.
This year has the promise of being just that.
We inaugurated the year welcoming Danilo as our pastoral intern for the year. He will be spending many hours with us as a pastoral team and missionary team. We are really excited to see how God will use it in his life and where God might lead him in the future. I know that my one-year internship at Calvary Baptist Church was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life…it’s hard to believe it was almost twenty years ago!
Right on Danilo’s heels is another great brother, Francesco, who came to Christ through the ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions in Peru, though he is Italian!Just last Sunday we welcomed him and his wife as members of our church as they desire to grow and serve and see where God will lead them in ministry.
A couple of weeks ago we led a group of six men to a conference in Messina held by the Italian Theological Academy that helps us with courses several times a year. The theme was unity among leaders in the local church.
We enjoyed growing together with these men from our church and men from almost twenty churches in Italy and the United States. I particularly enjoyed sitting next to my brother Jeremy, who is an avid note taker and deacon in our church. We were also asked to help with the music; it was a lot of fun to accompany a room full of Italian church leaders in worshiping our Lord!
Speaking of the Academy, this year will be our third and last year of the preaching program. We have several men involved and we look forward to seeing them grow in their preaching!
Lastly, on February 9th we will be celebrating the extinguishing of the mortgage of our church building, and my Dad will officially become a Pastor Emeritus of the church.
Of course, hopefully that won’t slow him down, but we are looking more and more at developing and bringing in Italian leaders.
My Dad said it best when he announced this new phase in the life of our church. “Just as geese fly in formation, and at some point the leader must take a step back and allow another to take the brunt of the air stream, so we as leaders must be ready to develop those who will take our place and bring the Italian church further than we could have imagined!” The time to develop leaders is now. We thank the Lord for the faithfulness of my parents, who gave everything to bring us to this point.
May we be counted faithful as they have and have as rich of a legacy.What will be your legacy?