Thinking Globally…

We are committed to building relationships and inviting God’s Kingdom to be present and real in lives here in Italy. We stay in touch with friends from all over Italy, we chat with our student friends from the Bible College, and we pray for the churches that God will do amazing things in Torino, Roma, Milano, Bologna, Venezia, Verona, Bari, Palermo, and beyond!

  • We also stay connected with students (and others) who are from other cultures. We met with our Tun1si@n friend for pizza last week; she is “on the way” to discovering Jesus. We do online devotions with our Madagascar friends every day. They are growing in love with Jesus. Each day is a chance to do life with them.
  • When this journey in Italy began nearly two years ago, we asked (and continue to ask) the Holy Spirit to open doors to serve from Italy and into other nations. On Easter weekend, Susan and I will join Doug and Joan Dorman and several “catalyst” thinkers who are poised to join the movement we believe God is creating among the many European nations who have, somewhere along the way, abandoned Christian discipleship. Our goal is to expand our influence in making disciples who will increase their influence by multiplying disciples.

Please pray for this key meeting in Geneva with leaders from several countries that we will hear what the Spirit is saying. Pray also for N. and P. (our Malagasy friends, and for M. our friend from Tun1si@.

Living the City Life…

How would you change your life if you found yourself in a city of 300,000 people from multiple cultures who speak different languages – and 1/3 of them are either students, faculty, or immigrants & refugees? Here’s what we prioritize:

  • Invest time intentionally. We shop mostly the same stores so we can see the same faces and be in their lives. Cristina served us pizza last night – we know her kids and some of her life dreams. We now have a relationship over which we can build a bridge to the Gospel.
  • Invite and engage. In April, our Christian Dance School friends from V.O.W. will visit us for cultural and missional work (dance in the piazza, teach dance to children, visit the hospital children’s care wing, as well as outreaches to internationals and refugees. We invite students to visit and live with us for 3 weeks to 3 months for ministry, discipleship, engage in a mission.  We also invite teams of 4-14 people to come for 7-14 days for short-term mission work.  (If you are interested in Mentorship or Short-term Missions, let’s begin the conversation!)
  • Take it to new levels when we can. This week, we (meaning Susan) had the bright idea (and brilliant) to decorate our apartment building foyer for Giornata di San Valentino. Colors, hearts, streamers, signs, and the name of each resident with a chocolate heart greeted each person here when they walked in or out the next day. And we build on our relationships. Yesterday, the check-out person at our closest grocer asked us why we moved to Padova or even to Italy. We got to share with her and talk about why we are here. And we take the conversations deeper.

So, now you can pray for us: that doors open when we knock, that we know when and how to take the conversations to new levels, and that we can build bridges to the Good News about Jesus.

A Local Focus…

We changed lanes recently in a major way (some of you know this or read about it in Rick’s blog) – we are now worshiping and serving with the leadership and pastors at International Christian Fellowship (ICF).* Additionally, we worship as often as we can in the evening at the Italian Baptist Church (IBC). This stretches our ministry impact with immigrants, refugees and the academic community broader than ever before in our city of 300,000!

  • (From both of us). We get to “hang out”  (and lead the Bible study on occasion) with the students at The Gathering. Last week, there were 15 different nationalities and we treated them to an American dinner.) We’re both planning how best to help them reach their friends at the university.
  • (From Susan). I was invited to lead worship at the Giornata di San Valentino women’s event after word got out I play guitar and sing (I’m blaming Rick). I enjoy the opportunity to encourage women from multiple cultures in their walk with their husbands and their pursuit of Christ.
  • (From Rick). I have become a fill-in guitarist on Sunday mornings with the worship band. More importantly, I am helping to develop the discipleship strategy and curriculum for new believers and newcomers for ICF.

*(From both of us). Many of you know that, when we first moved to Padova, we began serving and worshiping with a small church called Calvary Chapel-Padova (we were number 10 and 11 on our first worship service with them.) After 1 1/2 years with our friends at Calvary Chapel, and after much prayer and counsel with mentors, pastors, and friends, we determined our work there had stretched beyond the place where we could encourage and contribute to growth and success at CC-Padova. We love and treasure our friends there and stay in touch however we can. We also stay solidly committed to our local church community.