Have you ever been the “victim” of too much blessing?
There are a few cases in Scripture where people were blessed to the breaking point.
In Exodus 3:1-7 Moses orders Israel to stop giving because they are overwhelmed in the gifts for the tabernacle.
In Psalm 103:11 the psalmist is overwhelmed with God’s steadfast love for him.
In Ephesians 1:15-16 Paul is overwhelmed with gratitude to God for the testimony of the church in Ephesus.
Around the time Eva was born I started feeling sorry for myself. After all, I work with very competent co-workers, who are extremely gifted and somehow seem to manage juggling many things at a time…radio stations, prison ministries, finance committees, consistent preaching schedules, youth ministries, children etc…
So I whined about it in prayer to God. After all, I want to be used of God too!
Melodee tells me that I got what I asked for!
The following is a very brief and inexhaustive summary of God’s answer to that prayer.
We thank God for blessing us with two wonderful children. We just received Eva’s American passport, so we can celebrate that she is a citizen somewhere! Now we can start applying for her residence.
Noah is starting to understand Italian more and more. I love taking him with me on errands. My mom has even taken him on visits! Yesterday we gave away Bible calendars. People seem to almost always respond positively to a gift, but receiving a gift from a towhead toddler especially puts a smile on people’s faces! Noah is even taking seriously his job as a big brother.
2. Teaching and preaching
Even while adjusting to being parents for the second time, God (and Melodee) have allowed me to do a significant amount of teaching and preaching.
– Together with my Dad and with Dann we have preached through the pastoral epistles and Philemon. Our prayer is that God would bring out the men who God wants to be the next generation of pastors and deacons.
– I have also had the joy of teaching the Discovery Course, a seminar created by our sending church Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this course people discover how to embrace all that God would have them be in the Body through their spiritual gifts and talents.
– You may remember hearing about L’Aquila, a city hit by an earthquake in 2009 that killed almost 300 people. I was asked by our dear friends from that church to go there this past November to teach a youth seminar. The seminar was on the theme of Spiritual Leadership. As you know, training leaders has always been my heart passion. How could I say no? Melodee and my co-pastors encouraged me to do it too. It was an incredible weekend. Imagine a table full of twenty-somethings sitting and taking notes for two days straight with little or no breaks! It took my ailing tongue a week to recuperate!
God has been reaching people during this time.
– The Christmas season outreach is in full swing. I am the choir director and Melodee is the accompanist. This means many hours of preparation (arranging, translating), as well as rehearsals. For the entire Christmas season the choir is replacing our worship team on Sundays. We are also preparing a special outreach event on December 15th, together with the children’s ministries.
You should hear Noah quote from Isaiah 9:6-7 in Italian!
I am always torn about whether to continue this time-consuming choral ministry, but since or goal is to equip the body to fully function without missionaries, we have found it to be a useful tool in equipping them musically, in worship and uniting them together toward a common goal!
– I was also invited to play in a community band in the town of Spello (Some of you may have chosen that township to pray for.). Pray that the seed I have sown will bring fruit. A couple of concerts were on Eva’s due date, which I turned down, but thankfully just a couple weeks ago I was invited back! I was able to invite two people to church.
– Lastly, and by far one of the most exciting things that is happening is in a small suburb of Chiugiana, near Perugia, where our sister in Christ, Donatella lives. This town is in the township of Corciano, if you happened to be praying for it.
Through her ministry of compassion, several ladies in her neighborhood started coming to her house to study the Bible, despite the threats of the parish priest. One woman, Serenella, has embraced Christ as her Savior and Lord, and her family is well on their way. They used to be considered the most catholic family in the entire town. John 8:32 says: “and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!”
God is always at work. We’re just grateful to have a small part in it. Thank you for being part of it through your praying though your giving and through your friendship! Eva’s smile says it all!
We leave you with a few prayer requests:
1. That more souls would come to Christ in his perfect timing. Especially for Perugia, Chiugiana and San Fortunato (where we live).
2. That God would lead us in equipping leaders, especially men for leadership in the church.
3. For many of our supporters who are struggling financially through this time of world financial crisis.
4. For spiritual and physical health.
5. For good time management.