|We loved getting to catch up with Laura and Sara|
at the convegno
This was the first convegno of it's kind in that the youth themselves organized it. They focused on the topic of evangelization. Daily devotionals covered topics such as "How to evangelize to friends," "How to evangelize to people different from us," and "How to evangelize to the foreigner." Each day there was an activity to help implicate the lesson/devotional from the day. One day they spent at the church building playing games and meeting students of the Avanti Workers. Another day was spent singing at home for the elderly, and yet another day was spent going to meet and greet and have tea and a snack with some refugees at the center for refugees near Florence. They were all very uplifting and educational experiences and it was very neat to see the youth reach out of their comfort zones to talk to people and the types of people who they normally have little to no contact with.
|Singing at the retirement home|
Alan felt strongly motivated to help with this as well, so he is working on translating a series of videos from the app "Read Scripture."
After the convegno we resumed our normal schedule of church activities and English lessons. In addition to English class, there is now an Italian class organized for our Iranian students with three different church members rotating to teach them. One of us usually sits in to help translate if necessary.
Two of Rachel's students have been coming to the house once a week for an in-home Bible study. They are traditionally Muslim and have little basic knowledge of the Bible so we've been doing a very basic study that is going well. I will be blogging more about this in detail separately later this week.
Saturdays are busy with the teens from the church. The first Saturday of the month we continue with a Bible study, dinner, and games at our house. The second Saturday of the month is now spent in Paterno`, a town about 30 minutes away, with their youth. Alan takes a car full of the youth from Catania so that they can have an opportunity to be with the youth of Paterno`. The third Saturday the youth are at Stefano Spina's house for a Bible study, and the fourth Saturday is free (for now).
We are staying busy with lots of English classes. We have a few students who are interested in studying the Bible, including a new student, Adriana, who studies with both of us. She has been very up front from the beginning that she doesn't believe in anything because of past experiences with the Catholic church, however she recently admitted that she thinks there's a reason she saw our advertisement for our classes and has been coming even though she doesn't "want there to be a reason." So if you all can keep her in your prayers, that her heart will continue to open up to having a relationship with God despite past experiences with other churches and religions.
We are starting to prepare for this summer. We have VBS to plan and prepare for. There is also a group of campaigners coming this summer.
Last weekend we were invited to go up and visit the church in Vicenza. We had a lovely visit and we enjoyed our time with the church family up there. In fact, we had such a good time talking to everybody while we were there that we completely forgot to take a photo with everyone. Whoops! It was a very enlightening experience learning about the needs and work of the churches in northern Italy. Thank you to the Fergnani for their hospitality!
|Hanging out in Vicenza with the teens from the church|
|Beatrice, Francesca, and Anna showing us their city|
What we noticed this time when we were preparing the lesson was that this woman, who was by no means perfect, accomplished something the disciples didn't. She went back into the town, where the disciples had gone to look for food, and told everyone about Jesus and what he had said to her. Then what? Well, she brought the town to Jesus! All those people came out to meet him because of her testimony. And what are the disciples doing? They're still focusing on the food, telling Jesus to eat. Then Jesus goes on to explain to them that he has food, but they still don't get it. While they are trying to figure out if somebody fed Jesus, Jesus explains to them that his food is do do God's will and to accomplish his work. He starts talking about sowing and reaping the harvest. Of course, he's not talking about actual food at this point but people. After this, we're told that many Samaritans came from the town and believed because of the woman's testimony, and then that they eventually believed because they heard what Jesus had to say for themselves.
This Samaritan woman, who the Jews at that time would have considered unclean, just went out and brought a whole town to Christ through her testimony, while the disciples are too busy being preoccupied with finding food to eat.
We see throughout the Bible that God uses imperfect, unlikely people to accomplish his work; and this is just another example. So we just wanted to leave you with that thought. Never think that you aren't good enough or qualified enough to do His work. One of my favorite quotes is "God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called." And we're all called to do his work and share the Gospel.
Thank you again for all your prayers and support! We pray for and love you all!
|Going to Villa Bellini for Carnevale with some of the kids from church one day after worship.|
|Family picture in Florence.|