For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.Romans 1:16
I’m sure you’ve heard the story before…
George Whitefield, one of the greatest evangelists of all times was once challenged: “Why is it that you preach so often from that text, ‘Ye must be born again’?” Whitefield answered, “Because ye must be born again!”
This is one case in which as Christians we are called to be broken records!
Is there anything more important than sharing with people how that can have peace with God through Jesus Christ?
Then, the other day we were at the grocery store where we saw a classmate of mine from elementary school. He said: “I noticed that you are doing most of the preaching lately…”. It made me wonder: Just how many people are hearing the Gospel every week through our TV and social media that we don’t even know about! Praise the Lord, and pray that they would come forward!
Conversations like this seem to take place weekly, if not daily. God is good!
What a privilege for us to serve on behalf of Christ in Italy, sustained by your prayers, gifts, encouragement!
Since the last time we talked you can easily summarize our ministry in three connected categories: Preaching, Discipleship and Leadership Training.
God has blessed us so much that it will be hard to keep this short!
Over the last year God has blessed me immensely to be able to minister with a focus on the preaching of God’s word verse by verse, week by week.
Preaching through Romans, especially, opens up incredible opportunities every week to share the Gospel!
The beauty in the challenge of Covid-19 has been that we have been able to reach many people that otherwise would not have been able to hear the preaching of the Word of God.
Just this past Sunday Antonella, a regular attender of our church (who is looking forward to being baptized this fall) shared with joy that she is able to send the Facebook link of our service to her mother every week! She said: “Though she won’t listen to me share the Gospel, she seems to enjoy listening to you share the Gospel!”
You may remember Michele (Michael), who I met when he was the butcher at our grocery store. His wife is due to get baptized soon as well. He has been asking me frequently to meet so he can ask me questions from his Bible reading.
Lately, he blew me away twice with his questions. The first one was, “Why do we sin?” Another day he asked me, “Is it okay to ask God that He receive the glory?” I did everything I could in my strength to scream out: “YES!!!”
When Loredana from New Jersey sent him a study Bible in Italian, I never saw him more happy. Pray that he would soon make a clear profession of repentance and faith.
He is just one example. We have several men signed up for discipleship groups this fall. Once again we are blessed almost beyond what we can handle.
I absolutely LOVE seeing men grow in their ability to lead.
Danilo, our intern, has been a particular joy to work with this year. He has preached, led the usher ministry some Sundays, leads a small group on Wednesday nights and has been so vital in our streaming of the services.
He is gifted, humble and very desirous to learn and grow.
I get so excited to share with him that I think I might have overloaded him with ideas of good books to read!
Our preaching course of the Italian Theological Academy is also close to graduation. At the end of November we will have our final course. Pray for the men to be able to continue developing their gifts. This ministry has also been a blessing to other evangelical churches in the vicinity of Perugia.
The academy has also started a survey course of the Old and New Testaments that meets over Zoom every month. It sounds like our students have their hands full!
Lastly, kind of as a bonus, I must share that we really enjoy the impromptu Gospel opportunities that come our way. Even dropping our kids off or picking them up at their school becomes an chance to connect with people who still live without the hope that we have in Christ.
Pray that we can make the most of every opportunity!
You may be curious for some family news…
Melodee continues to serve through music and practical ministries in the church, as well as teaches piano every week, along with holding this family together.
Noah and Eva excel in their studies (though motivation at times is optional).
Pray that we can shepherd their hearts every day toward Christ!
We’re praying about the possibility of finding a house that is a bit bigger and that allows for more hospitality and ministry (and room for our energetic 9 year old boy!!).
My brother Jeremy and his wife Francesca are proud new parents of Gioele, along with siblings Sofia and Giacomo.
My brother Josh and his wife Sara continue to serve with amazing gifts in the city of Imola along with their children. All us Perugia Whitmans have to fight over the chance of going to see them as they are so fun to be with!
Finally, my sister Elizabeth and her husband (and our team leader) Daniel are also proud new parents of Luke. Despite the challenges with his birth and having Down Syndrome, he continues to make progress, and they hope they can bring him home soon!
My parents continue to bless all of you in the States as they plan to arrive back in Italy on November 6th. We’re glad that they will hopefully be back by Christmas!
Thank you for making time to read all this!
Let us be broken records with one more thing. We love you all and thank God for each one of you!