Greetings to all of you!
It seems like it's been a whirlwind over here since August. Many visitors have come and gone since then, we attended the annual CC Missions Conference in Austria which is always an incredible time of encouragement through God's Word, catching up with old friends and enjoying the opportunity to meet new ones.
Everyone at church is doing well. Bethany and Lorenzo had their baby boy and we anxiously await Greg and Alice's (Alichay-soft ch) new baby girl. We have the phone right next to us all set to take her to the hospital. It's always a joyous time to see God bring new life into the world.
We had to say good-bye to a few young college students this past summer as they finished their year abroad which was quite sad. But, true to His ways, the Lord has brought us two new students. One is a gal from England, the other from Hungary. We are blessed to have them in the church now and pray that God will use them in a great way while they are here studying in Italy this year. Please keep them in your prayers-Chloe and Kinga, as it is a difficult age and also a difficult climate to be in at times.
We have a couple that were gone for about 2 years return to church in September. They were going through some personal difficulties and yet they allowed God to work in and through them and now they are back in fellowship. We are thrilled to experience the joy that goes with seeing people return to the Lord! It's been great!
Now that Greg and Alice have moved to Padova, a couple of the girls and I are going to start meeting each week for prayer. This is one of the most exciting things for me, Margie, as I have not had any gals to pray with on a regular basis for 4 yrs now. Alice is a prayer warrior so we look forward to seeing the power of God work through our prayers. Don't take it for granted if you have a ladies prayer group at your church :)
Jim has finished teaching through the book of Acts on Sunday mornings. He is going through a short series now and is praying to see what the Lord will have him teach next. There seems to be a leaning towards Revelation which will be quite exciting - especially with all the things going on in the world these days.
In September we had a gal that previously was in Italy for bible college come to stay with us for 3 weeks. She's 22 and has such a precious heart to serve the Lord. After much prayer and seeking the Lord, we officially asked her to begin praying to move to Padova to come alongside the work here. It's interesting that in 11 yrs of being on the mission field, we have never asked someone specifically to pray to move. There is just something about Rachel and we see God's hand upon her life. She is spirit-filled, joyful and servant-minded. She sings like an angel and has such a heart for the University students here. Her church in PA has started a prayer group for her. Please keep her in your prayers that the Lord would speak His perfect will to her.
We are seriously looking for a building for our church to move to. Though we are blessed to have the building we have, it is not in a very good location. We are also not considered a church so as Kinga experienced last week, it is almost impossible to find the place unless you have been there. We would like to find a building that is more centralized and easily accessible from the train station and city center. This would mean finding additional help to pay for the rent of the church. We are looking for a few new churches and or people to come alongside the work here financially and prayerfully. Realistically, we would seek a two year commitment and after that we would like to know that our own church could take over the payments. Sunday mornings are so busy with Jim picking people up and bringing them back home. It's not that he minds this, but it does take up a lot of time. Please be in prayer about this for our church here.
Jim is officially Italian! He received all the right documentation and is now a card carrying Sicilian :) He will apply for his passport in the next couple of months. It is not necessary to have it but as he travels in Europe it will be easier to go through the EU lines. Please continue to pray for me as I am still waiting for my paperwork to be completed stateside so that I can have the documents needed. We made friends with the Immigration Officer at the Questura (police) so we no longer have to wait in a long line for hours on end-he lets us go straight to him.
Please keep our city in your prayers. There is so much evil and wickedness here. Some of you have heard us say this in the past-but truly Italy is overlooked as a mission field. It is easy to think of it as a Christian nation, but sadly, it has become a nation void of God. The youth are screaming out to be heard, the young adults are throwing aside all tradition of family and spiritual upbringing and replacing it with the things of this world that lead to emptiness in the end. I would love it if some stateside would get together even monthly, just to pray for Padova. Pray for the thousands of students that wonder through these streets without a thought or care as to who the living God is. Pray for the young couples who see no need to marry or no need to have a relationship with Jesus. Pray for the elderly who seem to just throw up their hands in hopelessness with this lost generation. Pray that God would so empower us with His Spirit that we can make an impact here-that we will turn this city upside down! We cannot do this without your prayers!! Again, it is so reminiscent of the early days of Calvary Chapel when the youth were rebelling against everything. They no longer trusted the government, the establishment, the churches-they were searching then for something that was lacking in their lives and they search today-we are here with the truth, we desire with all of our heart that they would listen!
Thank you to all who pray without ceasing for us, to those who support us financially even when it is difficult. We appreciate everything so much. Thank you for doing what you do so that we can be here as an extension of all of you!
Jim and Margie
Got to spend some time with Mike and Sandy
Mom enjoying her ice-cream treat in Verona
Welcome back to Sunday School
Saying good-bye to Terri and Carol
Train up a child