“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
I’m sure that like most people you started this year reflecting afresh on what really matters to you personally, in your family, in your church ministry.
Why do we do what we do?
There can be many answers to this question, but ultimately the Gospel is quite clear that all we do in this life must be for Christ and point to Christ. In Peter’s words: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
No matter how you approach it, no matter who you are, where you live, eventually we will all have to face the undeniable truth that there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
We need to live for Him, and we need to proclaim Him until he returns.
Sunday, as a church, we said goodbye to a good friend. For the last year, Daniel (Ransom) and I have been preaching through First and Second Peter. This message has been so gripping that I have probably spent more than my fair share of time preparing it.
I have learned a lot through preaching this series. First of all, I have learned that I really love to preach and that God seems to have used me in that area. However, I also learned more about my weaknesses — in particular that I have a hard time managing more than one thing at a time. When this Monday came, a shocking realization took over…in three months we leave for a four-month furlough, and we had only a handful of meetings lined up, no vehicle, no prayer cards, no display and no tickets!
God has been so good to us. We have seen Him work not just through the preaching, but in many areas in our lives. Every time I sit down to write a prayer letter I ask myself, “What should I leave out?”
So here is a quick summary of four areas of praise and desperate need for your prayers: Recent ministry highlights, furlough plans, family and health.
Recent ministry highlights
Young Couples Ministry – We have been blessed in seeing God work through our new young couples group that meets every Friday night.
A five minute cappuccino turned into a two hour conversation about God.
Melodee’s piano lessons have brought about many spiritual conversations.
Pretty much everywhere we go, God has been opening doors to evangelistic conversations.
Preaching has allowed me to invite many unbelievers to embrace the Gospel every week in church as well as on television and on the radio.
So far we have sown a lot but have not reaped. We look forward to see God’s Word change hearts.
Our new website! Jonny has grown up. We now have a new domain: www.jonathanwhitman.com! Our old address will redirect to this new one! We love any feedback you might have to make it even better!
Furlough Praise and Prayer Requests
Praise: We bought tickets this week! We will be in the States (mostly on the East coast) for a “half” furlough from May 16th through September 5th. Next year we will focus more on the Midwest.
We need to fill up our calendar. We are still trying to contact churches to be able to spend time sharing all that God has been doing in Italy since our last visit! Pray for our schedule to fill up! Here is our itinerary. https://jonathanwhitman.com/furlough/
We need a vehicle for furlough. We are praying for a reliable minivan or similar vehicle for four months.
Pray that we will be able to give an effective presentation that includes all that God has been doing and what we hope to see accomplished in the near future. We want to be a blessing to as many of you as possible, because you are a blessing to us!!
Pray for additional support. So many of you already faithfully and generously support our ministry. Unfortunately, we have lost some significant support that leaves us about $350 short a month. We know God provides, so please pray!
Family Praise and Prayer Requests
Praise: Thanks to your generous gifts, we were able to buy a piano! I was also able to purchase a travel case for my French horn that will allow me to bring it to the States with us!
Melodee has been reaching out by teaching piano lessons to children and adults from our church, as well as unbelievers. She has also just finished writing an excellent e-brouchure about ministry in Italy that will soon be available on the website of Baptist Mid-Missions.
Noah is enjoying Italian first grade and music classes! This year he is taking an intro to music class, choir, and every month he is sampling a different musical instrument. This month he is learning the French horn!!!
Eva is enjoying preschool and talking up a storm both in Italian and English. She has blossomed in coloring — from scribbles to trees. We would include a picture of her artwork, but she has also blossomed in her ability to use scissors! Yes, she is feisty — cute, but feisty!
Pray for us to grow in our parenting skills!
Health Prayer Requests: It has not been a good period for our health.
Pray for my cancer. Though my checkup in January went well, I have had a sore throat since December, and there is a spot on my tonsil that does not seem to want to go away. More testing is needed. I have not been able to have my lymph nodes scanned for tumors because of the swelling and infection.
Both of the children and Melodee have been sick on and off since the beginning of January.
We feel like this period of physical trials has been a spiritual battle in its own right. Fortunately, God works even through our weakness! Pray for us to be strong, grow in our faith, and Lord willing to be healed!
Isn’t it amazing that God uses us despite our weakness? Sometimes when we feel at our lowest, God does some of his most amazing work.
In the whole scheme of things, how important are your prayers if we serve a sovereign, almighty God?
Your prayers are vital, because through them God accomplishes His plan for His glory!
Thank you for making a difference for eternity!
2 Peter 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Can you believe it? Tomorrow is the day I go to Milan!
Around 4 AM my Dad will take my Mom and me to Terontola, the closest train hub station. From there we will be taking a train to Florence, and from there another train to Milan Central Station, where we will take a taxi to the hospital.
By 9:30 AM we should be there!
Here are three ways you can pray:
Traveling mercies. I can’t believe my Mom is willing to spend a whole week in the hospital with me! It is a long way from home!
Melodee and the kids. Another blessing is that Melodee’s mom Anne surprised us a few days ago and let us know she was coming to help out while I am away! She arrived today! And just in time too…Melodee has had high fever now for a few days. (Also, please pray I don’t catch Melodee’s bug!)
Surgery on Thursday and recovery for a week or so. Surgery has been confirmed for Thursday. Then recovery, biopsy of the tissue and evaluation of what I need to do next.
And about our Easter…
How was your Easter?
Ours was amazing! We had a full church, many unbelievers attended, the choir did a great job and my message went well! Praise God!
Thank you for all your encouraging notes, prayers, gifts! We couldn’t do it without you! We have received so much encouragement!…Another supporting church has asked to help out, other supporters have increased their support, an anonymous person gave me money for the trip Sunday and a new believer in our church has offered to pick me up when I am ready to come home!
If you were one of the OVER FIFTY PEOPLE who signed up for our prayer chain, I have some blessings to share with you.
Cenni had most of the tumor removed from her brain last Thursday and she was already in church Sunday! I will try to get you a picture of her for you as soon as possible! She said that she has never felt so close to God as she does now.
I gave the signup list to Donatella. She had tears in her eyes. Tomorrow night she is going to read each one of your names in our prayer meeting. Thank you for praying!
Speaking of tomorrow…
Tomorrow morning we are heading to Milan again for my follow-up visit. (Thanks to my dear friend and mentor Steve Standridge for asking!!).
Here is where it gets interesting…by we I mean me, Claudio, Melodee…and Eva!The point of the visit is to evaluate the MRI and to schedule the surgery. Imagine…five ours on a train with a six month old! It will be great!! I am so excited for Melodee to be there to meet the doctor and make decisions together. Please pray for wisdom for:
Scheduling the surgery
Deciding to do the surgery privately through our insurance or through the national health care system.
We are so grateful to God for each one of you who read this, pray for us, give, to keep us going! We truly feel like the richest people in the world!
We finally have some updated pictures on our website!! Click here or go directly to our Downloads page.