When Peace is Nothing but an Illusion

Perugia, seen from our house

Perugia, seen from our house

It’s early Sunday morning. It looks like another lazy summer day here at the gates of Perugia. It’s so quiet I hear a dove coo, and then flutter away.
I couldn’t think of a more peaceful start to my day. The sun is rising over the steeples, I hear a bell in the distance marking the time.

But all is not peace.
The people of Perugia are on the verge of stepping into a Christless eternity.

As most people around the world, the people of Perugia seek to ignore the signals of their demise. Perugia is full of wonderful little town festivals during the summer, with the best local food you can imagine and plenty of folk dancing. It’s enough to temporarily drown out their sorrows for a life without hope and without God.

But tomorrow morning they will wake up and the burden is still there.

  • Their soccer gods failed them completely during the World cup, ranking one of the worst teams of the tournament.
  • The economy gives them no hope, with an all-time record unemployment.
  • Their religion gives them no hope and no certainty.

In fact, the word hope itself in the Italian language speaks of uncertainty, not of certainty.

As I talked last week with  Maria, a very catholic woman, I saw how proud she was of the humility demonstrated by her favorite friar because he told his flock that he doesn’t know where he is going when he dies and he needs their prayers to move him toward heaven.

As I think of what Maria told me, there is turmoil in my heart as well.
How do we reach the thousands of damned souls, even within eyesight of my balcony, with the message of hope that only Christ’s atonement can give?

There is hope, and there is certainty.  That hope is in Christ, that certainty is in Jesus, and nobody else.

And God is certainly at work in Perugia, Italy.
We have seen several new doors open to the Gospel within the last month:

“So what can I do?”  I can almost hear your voice echo in my ears…

PLEASE PRAY.
When we are overwhelmed, when we are weary, when we are confused by all the opportunities coming our way, there is nothing more vital than the prayers of God’s people uplifting us, providentially moving the Spirit to accomplish His work through His unworthy, ineffective servants.

  1. Pray for the people who we are reaching out to with the hope of the Gospel.
  2. Claudio

    Claudio

    Pray for Claudio, my dear brother who has accompanied me to most of my oncologist visits to Milan, broke his femur, had an embolism in his lung and had to be put on oxygen.  Praise the Lord, because after a near death encounter, he is making a comeback.  Most of all, pray for his wife Donatella , who has been able to share the Gospel with many people in the hospital.

  3. Pray for the work in Spoleto, which is only a little more than a dream at this point. Christine and Maddie, Romanian women living in Spoleto, an hour away, have come to faith and have Spoletoasked us for help because they do not have an evangelical church in their area.  My Dad and Giuseppe have been going to Spoleto every Thursday to minister in the high security prison there, so they were able to meet with these women as well.  It reminds me so much of Acts 16, when Paul received the “Macedonian call”.  In Philippi it was first of all through Lydia, a godly foreign woman, that Paul’s ministry in Europe began.
  4. Pray for the nomination and training of deacons at the Centro Evangelico Battista.
  5. Pray for the training of Italian pastors, Sunday School teachers, worship leaders and families.
  6. Pray for my uncertain health. My health is stable at the moment, but not progressing.
  7. Pray for our uncertain residence permits.  We applied for a permanent residence for Melodee, but unless God intervenes, it will probably be rejected.
  8. Pray for more workers in the harvest and the ability for new missionaries to reside here legally.
  9. Pray for boldness in sharing the Gospel in our families, with our neighbors, friends, countrymen (I hear a slight echo of Shakespeare in this statement).
  10. Pray for good management of our time, ministries, money, health, spiritual health.

Pray most of all that Italians will give up their false sense of security in exchange for the peace that only God can give.

If you have prayed for these few things, you have done more than we could ask for and we can only thank you and praise God because His answer is sure to come.

Noah & Eva

Noah & Eva

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Counting down to Furlough 2012

 

Shuttle LaunchTen, nine, eight seven…preparing for a six month furlough feels a little like waiting for a space shuttle to launch. With less than two weeks to go, things are really getting crazy around here.

  • Prayer cards are ordered
  • Display materials are being worked on.
  • Bills are getting automated.
  • Ministries are being delegated.
  • Housing – found (for the most part)
  • Transportation – found
  • Powerpoint presentation, VBS presentation, suitcases, dr. visits… not so much

HELP!!!

Before we leave we also have baptisms on June 3rd, with all the preparation that goes into that, as well as preparing studies for the youth.

Can we just plea for your prayers right now????

In the meantime ministry goes on.  Recently we had the privilege of bringing a bus of about forty people of the church to Rome for a day.  In the morning we had our worship service in the catacombs.  In the evening we worshiped with our sister church where Lucio was brought to faith.  Here is a short video of the occasion.  The singing….well…needs work, but imagine singing In Christ Alone in the catacombs!

 

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Spring News

Youth Ministry

We thank God for all that He is doing and all that we have been involved in, as we see Him changing lives.  Here are a few blessings and opportunities for prayer.

Youth Ministry

We continue to see God touch lives in our youth ministry.  We are studying the book Camminare Come Gesù (Walk like Jesus) together.
Pray especially for the unbelievers who have been coming. Pray that God would open their hearts.

Worship Ministries

Worship MinistriesWe continue to equip believers in music ministries.  Our worship team continues to grow.  Often we have had to translate songs from English.

For Easter we are also preparing our choir. Pray for us and them as we have to teach most members both music and choral techniques!

Equipping

Currently I am teaching the church Ecclesiology, as we hope to see the nomination of deacons.

Equipping

In February we had the chance to speak in L’Aquila where Jonathan did a youth seminar on discovering and implementing the vision that God has for your life, from the book of Nehemiah.

In May we head to Sicily, where Jonathan will translate for a course on Expository Teaching at the Italian Theological Academy.

Residence Adventures

NoahPart of our life involves just working on papers to stay here. Noah is officially an American citizen!! (no, it is not a given).

Next Monday (April 11th) we have our appointment to register him as an Italian resident at the local police headquarters. (that is not a given either!)

We hope soon to also become Italian citizens!

In a Nutshell…

S. Fortunato della Collina

S. Fortunato della Collina

Pray for unbelievers

Pray for our ministries: Youth, Worship, Evangelism, Equipping, Shepherding.

Pray for our Easter Outreach.

Pray for our residence appointment on April 11th.

Pray for strength and wisdom as parents and missionaries.

 

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