Working Hard or Hardly Working?

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Summer is an interesting time in Italy…if traditionally we had a “siesta time” (to borrow a Spanish term), in many ways summer feels like three months of siesta.

It’s understandable because of the sweltering heat and the fact that many people chooses to go on vacation during this time.

However, there has been little siesta for us. Despite having to give up our Radio Luce radio frequency because of the maintenance costs and diminishing gifts (it cost us $5,000 a month to run), we have not really had time to slow down.

We had a WONDERFUL vacation Bible school in June, after school go out, continued teaching and preaching and ministering to people here.

VBS 2019 Staff “Treasure Island”
Venice with Mimi and Pappy

As a family we will be able to take a week off, then back for a wedding of a couple in our church and preparations begin for fall ministry already. The kids have enjoyed time with their grandparents( including grandparents from America!!), reading and playing!

Saturday I head to Avigliana (Torino) to participate in a discipleship course. They have asked me to preach and to teach on the subject of Spiritual Disciplines. I now have three days to finish preparing the course, so I need your prayers!!

Thank you for your prayers!

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Pray for this weekend!

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I sat down to work on my Bible Study for Sunday about an hour ago.  Compared to preparing a sermon it’s not nearly as challenging…yet I couldn’t get started!

I realize that I need wind for my sails and gasoline in my tank! God uses your prayers to make it happen!

So here I am taking a “break” to get you on board and praying!

Here are five vital and strategic prayer requests:

Entering Foligno
Entering Foligno

1. Church plant in Foligno
Foligno is the third largest city of Umbria, and most unreached of the larger centers in our region.

  • This Sunday, April 14th, we will have our third monthly Bible study at 5 pm.  Pray for me as I finish preparing my study!
  • We are also meeting for prayer on Tuesday afternoons at 11 AM EST  (5 PM our time) to pray for that city in the home of a lady there.  Our hope it to encourage the few believers in that city to begin to build the foundation for a future Baptist church there.  Most of the ladies are members of an Evangelical church in Assisi, because there isn’t a solid testimony in their town.  Would you be interested in praying for Foligno during that time too?
  •  My Dad, Daniel, and I are also taking turns going to Foligno once or twice a week to work at a Coworking desk, in the same location where we  do our Bible studies.  We’ve made friendship with several people there.   Slowly but surely we are able to start some spiritual conversations! 
  • We have a core of people from our church who are involved, but as you can imagine their lives are very full! Pray for perseverance for all involved!
  • I also try to play in the local symphonic band every chance I get.  Melodee is even accompanying Cristina Ransom in a violin competition! Pray for the many musicians we are in contact with. 
  • In May I will be playing with my horn teacher and his wife too!

(Because of new European laws, I am not able to put names here like before, but feel free to drop me a note and I can get you more details).

2. Theological Training
We just concluded our first theological training
seminar of the year at our church.  We have several men attending, though some are getting discouraged because of the hard work.  Our friends at the Italian Theological Academy are doing a great job at bringing these directly to our church for us.  Please pray for them too!  Daniel has done an outstanding job organizing it for us despite his busy schedule including running our radio station.

3. Spiritual attacks
Ever since we started the Foligno project we have seen several minor attacks:

  • I had a small accident the day of our first event.
  • Another day, in Perugia, they attempted to break into our car.
  • Donatella’s husband fell last week too, so she is not able to participate in the prayer meetings in Foligno or the Bible Study (she is one of our core participants).
  • I have had eye problems, sciatic nerve problems, back problems. Yesterday I even had to go to a cardiologist!
  • For the last two meetings Melodee has not been able to come because Noah suddenly got sick on Saturday night/Sunday morning.


4. Preaching
I have been doing a lot of preaching in Perugia since the beginning of the year, which has been wonderful but also brings an added intensity and weariness to our life.  During the Easter season we asked my Dad to pick it back up.  I’m excited for the break, and we’re glad to hear him preach too!

5. Family
Please continue to pray for our family:

  • for the salvation of our children,
  • for a strong marriage
  • for wisdom in our planning and budgeting, especially in light of a probably move of our family to Foligno at some point. 
  • We need prayer for time management too…with all that has been going on I feel like I have neglected my family a bit!

There’s so much more I could say and want to say, but I probably should get going on my study for Sunday afternoon, since I only get one shot a month!!

Thanks for being God’s instrument for making it happen!

Jon and Melodee, Noah and Eva

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Football Outreach Update

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Thank you for praying for the Football Outreach!
What an exiting day!  How can I keep it short?

Even before we got to the field we could sense God working.

Here are a few highlights:

When I first walked in to our church building I saw several ladies of our church already busy preparing tables and decorations for the dinner with the football players in the evening.

As we were waiting for the bus with the Christian NFL players to arrive, Daniel and I were able to share the reason for our faith with some journalists that had come to do a documentary on the event for NFL films.  One of them in particular asked many great questions.  Pray that God would use God’s Word in her life!

We had several teams from different cities in Italy participate in the training and outreach with these Christian Pro Athletes.  The enthusiasm was in the air.

We were able to give away several Bible calendars, Bibles and books on the Gospel.

In the training huddles the players shared their faith as well as their skills.  In particular I enjoyed listening in as Jeremiah Sirles share quite clearly and the players were quite engaged.  Being a hopeless Buffalo Bills fan since the Superbowl days I was doubly excited to see him here.

After the training, another player, Justin Simmons shared a testimony about how God has worked in his life.

We concluded the evening with Daniel sharing the Gospel.  People were quite engaged and even applauded at the end!

After the camp we invited the team of NFL players and their sponsors from Olive Baptist Church to have Pizza with the Perugia team at our church.  More fellowship ensued until almost midnight!

Needless to say, our hearts are full for what God did here.

I am sure God used your prayers.  Many of you told me you were praying before, during and even after the event!
We serve a mighty God!
Pray that the seeds that were sown will blossom into an amazing work in the hearts of the many who had never heard the Gospel before.

Thank you for your part in this adventure!
Eventually I’ll have time to tell you more about Foligno and everything else that is happening!

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Football Outreach

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There is so much to tell about what is going on right now that it would be like drinking out of a fire hose.

Right now I only have one request and it is urgent for this afternoon.
My brother in law Daniel just sent out the same request so I am copying almost verbatim what he said.

“Dear friends, just a quick reminder, please pray for the football camp today (Tuesday, March 5). The camp will begin at noon EST, and I am scheduled to briefly share the Gospel at 2:30 PM EST.

Please pray for clarity of mind and speech, and that God would open the eyes of the participants as they hear the Gospel. There should be about 75 players and coaches from Central Italy.

After the camp, the Perugia football team will be coming to our church building for pizza with the players. Please pray for the conversations that will take place during this time, as most of these players will set foot in an evangelical church building for the first time in their life.

Thank you for praying for us!”

We look forward to seeing all that God will do!

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Praying for Mercy

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Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

This is my text for the message I am preparing for Sunday.

We need some mercy for our daily tasks too! Last night I had to leave Noah (8 yrs old) in charge while I went to lead prayer meeting at church because Melodee is sick in bed. I found this note when I got back. Please pray for us!

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