Street-level Missions

What’s the best thing for short-term missions leaders to do after four days of training, planning, and meetings?

Go on a mission trip, of course!

Twenty-five Global Challenge leaders from Europe and the Mediterranean region plunged into the middle of what has been called the largest daily open-air market in Europe to share Christ with Italians, and immigrants from the Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Porta Palazzo’s market fills nearly a square kilometer of piazzas and side streets with furniture, clothes, fish, vegetables, flowers, home appliances, shoes, cheese, jewelry, pirated movies… and most importantly, thousands of immigrants.

The team set up a market tent each day with several tables filled with Bibles, booklets, DVDs addressing faith in Christ, as well as boxes of winter clothes. Hundreds of internationals and Italians received Bibles and a chance to hear about the Good News of Christ personally from a team member.

Jill McAfee, a worship leader from the USA described, “Some people from our team would stay at the tent and talk to people who came by.  Others went out to talk to people.  One group came with me to different locations where we just sang and worshipped.  It was very cool.”

“I enjoyed watching people on our team, who normally wouldn’t be able to share freely, having the chance to share openly about Jesus.  It was beautiful. The atmosphere was different…freer even.” McAfee explained.

The outreaches were organized by OM-Italy and local churches and the team was joined by META (an Italian evangelism organization) and members from several evangelical churches in Turin.

Language barriers can be a problem at times on short-term trips, but this team came prepared with skills in French, Arabic, Italian and several other languages.

Tim Barlett, a Global Challenge leader in the Balkans, said, “One of the greatest thing was to have so many varieties of languages ready and available to talk with the people who visited the booth.”

For six days, the market is set up for normal trade and it closes down Sunday. However, the sidewalk fills with a different kind of market for Sunday as Arabic music fills the air and various items are displayed on sheets of cloth or cardboard.

The Sunday vendors, mostly men, visited the outreach tent and openly discussed the claims of Christ with the team members.

One employee from a Turin museum argued by declaring aloud to the team, “Convince me! Convince me!” Team member and Italian Field Leader Eliseo Guadagno recalls “I just kept coming back to the Cross and to his personal need for forgiveness in Christ.”

Not long after this discussion, one Italian man asked Guadagno, “Who won?” Short-term missions leaders would say that, after the tent was packed and the few Bibles and booklets remaining were boxed and loaded into the van: “Christ, and His Kingdom won.”


One Person’s Perspective on the Outreach to Porta Palazzo

Below is a report from someone who is serving in the Middle East living the Christian life among friends and serving the culture in Arabic. To hear her tell the story in person was moving!

One OMer recalls her experience reaching out to people in a crowded Italian market:

“We were dropped off at the market place, and I stood in amazement at the great number of North Africans there. We were still busy unpacking the books when one Gospel of Luke was already picked up! I smiled and greeted people in Arabic. They would stop and turn back, surprised, and then would take almost anything I offered them. We had good talks with some people; others just wanted the books and DVD’s. Others were not interested at all. It was an emotional time because people were so open to hear and know more. Many walked away with a Gospel of Luke!

“Torino is truly a mixture of immigrants. At times I was sad to see how desperate people were for drugs, and yet we were right there so eager to offer them eternal hope. Later, we walked around in groups to intercede for these people in the biggest market in Europe.”

Please pray that OM Italy is able to reach Italians and immigrants with God’s love. Pray that those who received the literature would read it and desire to learn more about Jesus.