SUMMER TEAM REPORT Travail, endure, and OVERCOME!! These are the first words that come to mind when I think back on our summer team experience. I wonder now if we would have chosen this same mountain to climb if we had previously known of its difficulty. It’s hard to say, but what I do know is that the 22 youth who took on this challenge with us learned a great deal about themselves, but even more than that, I believe they learned about a
miracle working God that gave them strength in their weakness and helped them overcome their own fears and insecurities. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me…” was the verse we shouted from the mountaintop to one another, that helped renew our minds and caused us to press on when we thought we could give no more. Each team member brought such a unique dynamic to the definition of love as they learned to deny themselves, take up their cross and serve one another. We are so proud of them and we pray that they will never forget what they accomplished through Jesus this past summer and that this victory will be a memorial that will help carry them through new challenges that they have yet to face.
When we weren’t climbing mountains, we had several opportunities to share our team presentation in the town squares. Our songs, dramas, and foreign skin drew lots of attention and curious interest. For many of the team members it was their first time to share their testimony of faith with someone, this being yet another opportunity to rise to new levels of faith and overcome their fears. You can read more about our summer adventures at www.teenmissions.org under mission trip reports.
WHAT NOW? We have now settled into a beautiful apartment in the middle of Torino, the northwest region of Italy. In Torino alone, there is a population of approx. 1.2 million people, much bigger than any city we have ever lived in. This is an 180 degree turn from our previous experience in Belize. The city noises, the language, the smells, the food, the dress, the traffic…and the electricity! Not to mention, we are the only Americans within several miles. Our location is very ideal, as we are close to the metro (underground subway), parks, grocery store and the local street market, which is set up right outside our front door six days a week. Every convenience seems to be at our fingertips, all except for the language. Ugh! This is where we continue to travail…with patience. Free language classes are available to us at the local high schools, but they don’t begin until October. We hope to enroll in as many as time will allow.
David has been spending time researching properties where we may be able to host a Teen Missions camp for local youth. So far, we have had a few
possibilities arise in the south of Italy, which has taken him on a few trips to explore our options. This has also led into new prospects of ministry among the immigrants in the country. As many of you know, our hearts are tender towards the refugees that have fled here from war torn countries, the majority being from the Middle East and Northern Africa. On one of David’s trips to the south, he was hosted by a local pastor that is actively involved with ministering to the immigrants at a nearby refugee camp. There are many who have turned away from the Muslim religion and have been baptized in the Christian faith, which has created a great need for discipleship. David had the privilege to fellowship with some of the Farsi speaking men (they spoke some English) and to play soccer with them while he was there. During their time together, the men shared some of their testimonies and the persecution that they have endured. David’s compassion for these new friends has stirred his interest to also learn Farsi.
The needs here in Italy are vast and wide and the economy is hurting more than ever. Many Italians despise the refugees for taking their jobs and increasing the taxes. What can we do about it? Only God knows. He brought us here and so we trust that He will make our purpose clear.
When I, (Becca) am not assisting the kids with home school, I attempt to visit with people in the park, the market, the grocery store and anywhere else that people will humor my poor Italian efforts. It keeps our spirits high as I recount the cultural blunders that I trip over in my stride to be accepted and belong.
My new best friend is a four foot tall Italian woman who is the single mother of two beautiful girls. Lynda has a lot of needs. No work, no money, and a very tired spirit. But she radiates joy when we are together and has a hunger for the truth of God’s Word. I long to see her set free from the law of religious ideology and walk in the blessed freedom that is found in loving Jesus Christ. Please pray for her new found faith in Christ to grow and for her to embrace the healing that she so desperately needs in her life.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE! For a brief time we were considering moving to the south to work with the refugee camp. For three reasons: the cost of living is cheaper, we would have been closer to the property for a future Boot Camp, and an invitation from the pastor to work among the refugees in the camp. We surrendered this idea to the Lord and sought His wisdom and timing. We discussed these reasons with our landlord before signing the lease on our apartment. The taxes on our apartment are the same for him whether this place is rented or not, so he proposed to lower our rent to be more affordable for us if we would wait at least six months before moving. To spare you all the details, we have decided to stay in Torino for now until God shows us otherwise. Our rent has been lowered 150 euro which will help us afford the heat during the winter. Although, to cover our necessary expenses for travel, food and utilities, we need to raise our income a minimum of $2,000 per month. We believe that nothing is too difficult for God. We know that God has a plan for our family here that reaches far above and beyond our expectations. We know that He has used many of
you to help us get where we are now and that what the Lord starts, He will finish. Thank you so much for sharing our burden to reach the lost by supporting us through prayer, encouragement and financial giving. If you have never given to this ministry or feel you would like to help us reach our monthly goal, you may go online to give financially at www.teenmissions.org, or return the attached coupon to Teen Missions Intl. Thank you again for your prayers and support. It is such an honor for us to partner with you.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3.
In the Lord’s strength,
David, Becca, Sarah, Gabriela and Caleb