There are days when we find this challenge to be difficult. To proclaim good news and glad tidings in today’s economy, with so many people that are without jobs, who are fighting depression and thoughts of suicide. And now that we live in Italy, we also find ourselves surrounded by people that have fled their own countries to avoid war and famine and persecution, and they are searching for a new life. Where is the “good news” found when one sees for himself only suffering and pain, loneliness and rejection? Where was God when our Iranian brother was stabbed nine times after exiting the church building because of his confession in Jesus as the Christ? Where was God when a child was raped as an orphan at the age of 10 and there was no one to protect her? Or when the woman’s husband left her because their baby was born with a brain tumor and he didn’t want to accept the responsibility? These are some of the questions that we have been asked recently by our friends and have struggled to answer them with satisfaction.
The “Good News” is found by those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. Our hope in Him turns our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into dancing. 1 Peter 5:10 reads, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” We can proclaim glad tidings when we are able to rejoice in our sufferings and help carry the burdens of our brothers in the Lord. And so it spurs us on to proclaim God’s salvation to those who are suffering and fighting their battles. Without a battle we cannot celebrate a victory!
We continue to lead a weekly Bible study to disciple those whom God has brought to us. Although the communication can be difficult, we love the diversity of our fellowship together. Coming from Iran, Albania, and Slovakia we have five different languages represented when Italian and English are thrown in the mix. One of their favorite ways to celebrate an evening together is in their cultural dance. It is hard for them to understand that American’s do not have a cultural dance that is passed down through the generations. In their cultures, you do not marry until you are able to dance; it is a part of who they are. One of the men in our study from Iran was recently baptized in the church. It was a beautiful day to witness this event and hear his testimony. He had previously fled Iran to escape the military. Consequently, he is never able to return to Iran. He will never see his family again unless they also are to leave the country, which for them, is a very difficult task. Having the privilege of ministering to these families who were previously Muslim and hearing their testimonies of how they came to Christ is an honor we never would have imagined for ourselves. It is such a joy to share with these families who are passionate about their faith. Previous to their relationship with Christ, they would dance in their homes, but under fear of persecution from the Shariah law. Now they confess that they dance in their homes with Jesus by their side and are no longer bound by the Law, but are free from the oppression and now have Life everlasting!
We are currently in the process of enrolling Gabriela and Caleb into public school. They have not been able to attend the language classes with the rest of us since they are under the age of 17 and so we have decided that it is the best way for them to integrate and learn the language. Along with this decision comes fear and excitement. Please pray for them to adjust to this change and that their hearts would be at peace. Sarah will be graduating high school this May. She is adapting quite well to the language study and is already translating for the rest of us. She has started tutoring an Iranian university student in English who will soon be moving to the U.S. Please pray for Sarah and God’s leading for her in this next phase of life after she graduates from high school. Her passion is for languages and to minister to Muslim women, which is all right here at our doorstep.
This summer we will again be leading the Italy Backpack Team with Teen Missions. At this point, Becca and the children will not be returning to Florida for the Boot Camp. It is most likely that only David will be returning to Florida in mid May to bring the team to Italy for the month of June. We are now working on the details of this summer team and are hoping to find a trail more suitable for beginning hikers.
The first of February we look forward to working with an Iranian pastor who is coming from Florence. He is preparing for an outreach to the Arab speaking community here in Turin. We will also be assisting him with a celebration for the Persian new year which is recognized on the first of March. This will also be an evangelism outreach to share Christ with Muslims. We covet your prayers for these upcoming events.
We continue to walk in faith and know that God is the source of our strength and provision. God has been so faithful to us and has met every need of ours since we have arrived in Italy. In fact, God has also blessed us with the use of a car for a year. It is all by grace. We are so grateful to each of you and your partnership with us. Your prayers are felt and treasured and we are so honored to be recipients of His grace as you give towards the Lord’s work in Italy. Each month we are still short to meet our budget of $2,500, although nothing has been lacking in our home and the Lord miraculously has supplied. We also have the additional one time cost of enrolling Gabriela and Caleb into public school. The education is free but the books and supplies are not. We need to raise approximately $1,000 for their enrollment. If you would like to give specifically towards their school fees, please fill out the coupon below or specify with your giving on-line with a request towards this cause.
• Increased monthly financial support • Our children’s education • Outreach to the Muslim community • Our language study
Trusting in Jesus,
David, Becca, Sarah, Gabriela and Caleb
Corso Svizzera, 41