Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Update

I promise to take some pictures in the next week or two and put them on the blog!!

Greetings to all of you from (finally) wintery cold Italy! We have been experiencing an unusually mild winter but winter has made its presence known in the past couple of days with a mild snow due later in the week.

So much has been happening here in Padova lately. Once again, we are reminded that everything happens in God’s time and not ours. As we have felt like those tossed back and forth with the wind at times over the past couple years, wondering if indeed God was at work here, He has been faithful to carry us each and every step. Through every doubt and disappointment we have had His reassurance through His Word, through the encouragement of others and fervent prayers of many.

This past Missions Conference was one that God used in my own life to break things down that I had let build up-giving Him the disappointments and fears. He also used each teaching to encourage not only us but most of the missionaries as you go about day in and day out working, praying, believing and yet not always seeing the fruit before your eyes. Wayne Taylor talked about doing what you love and doing it with Jesus. So simple yet for me it spoke volumes.

Most of you know that Jim loves music. Well, God has been using that very love to bring us into contact with so many different people over the past few months. We had the Christmas concert in December. It was held in the Catholic church. The Commune picks the spot-well it ‘just so happened’ to be right in the area that the park is where Jim’s band played last summer and where we will have VBS this summer. That spot is the one we feel drawn to to look for a spot for the church. The concert was awesome!! Craig, Silvana , Maria and Jim shined for Jesus in that place! A guy that Jim met, Stefano, who is a really good drummer came and played percussion last minute and he really enjoyed being a part of the evening. He couldn’t believe Craig and Jim were pastors. He thought they were so nice and normal.

Recently Jim has been meeting with another guy from Nigeria. He puts together all kinds of Gospel groups in the area and the two of them are meeting and praying each week to see what the Lord will have in store for the summer.

We have also seen God add to the church. A couple weeks ago a gal named Rafaella came. Greg had met her while teaching English and she told him how she had walked away from her faith years ago but was searching again. She even brought her Mom with her last Sunday. Analisa is her name and she was so sweet and kind to all of us. We don’t know if she was there to make sure Rafaella wasn’t getting mixed up in a cult or if she herself will be back. We do know that Analisa was very accepting of all of us and she was a joy to meet.

We have a couple of college students now attending also. Emilia is from the UK and going to University in Ferrara. She comes with Lorenzo and Bethany since they also live in Ferrara. Aoefie is from Ireland and goes to University in Padova. She is from Cork where some of you have visited in the past. Both of these gals are Pastor’s daughters. Imagine that!! Another guy, Colin, just came last week. He is from Scotland, living in Padova teaching English. He was looking for an English speaking church and Aoefie invited him to Calvary. So great to see God at work!!! We even needed an extra row of seats in the church last week J

I am starting to plan for the VBS in July. We are going to use the Gospel Light Prayer Safari theme. The theme for the week is the Our Father. We are excited about this event and have a lot of planning and work ahead of us to make it come together.

Jim continues to teach through the book of Acts at the moment. It’s such an encouraging book. I am still teaching Sunday School, but hoping to get some much needed help. Please pray we can work a schedule out to rotate helpers. It was supposed to happen this past September, but everyone’s schedules seem opposite so there isn’t always someone to rotate in with me. We also need two workers most of the time because we have one class with ages from almost a year to 11. I haven’t been able to sit in church for 3 years and it would be nice to start! Thankfully there is internet so I can at least hear messages online!

So you see, there is much going on and much to continue in prayer over. We look forward to a busy summer but want God’s guidance and wisdom every step of the way. We don’t want to run ahead of Him and His plans or timing in anything.

We will be coming to the states in May (I’ll probably come in April). Marla will be graduating college. Our new grandson is due February 14th, and I look forward to holding my not so little Elijah for the first time (he’ll be 16mos when I meet him) and of course Juliet our little princess will be 4 in May so that will be fun to be there for her birthday.

Thank you for your never ending prayers, your love and your support-financially and spiritually. Once again be reminded that all we write about you will see in Heaven! Your answered prayers, how God used your finances, how He worked in the lives you faithfully prayed for, the city you prayed for. It’s real!! You just have to sometimes wait til Heaven to see it J

To God be the glory for the things He has done!