Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report / Spring 2008

TONIGHT… PREACHING…
Pastor Aldo has another service for those who are working and unable to come on Sunday. We expect perhaps 20-30 people. I will be speaking again.
I spoke to around thirty people on the subject, “Salvation in Three Tenses – Justification, Sanctification and Glorification”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY…TO VENICE AND SLOVENIA…
I leave early tomorrow for Venice where I hope to see and edify Piero Pugiotto and perhaps have an opportunity to share the gospel with his religious (Russian Orthodox) wife.  From there I will go another three hours to Trieste, spend the night and meet in the afternoon with Chris Scobie who will drive Doug Hamm and I to Ljublijana where I will teach and preach for four days and do personal evangelism. Doug will be flying from Victoria, British Columbia to Italy and then training to catch up with me in Trieste. 

 

 

 

 

 



 


 
 

Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report / Spring 2008

MONDAY, MONTOVA AND MODENA…

With a kind of day off and  a desire to get out from under foot so that Aldo and Mariela could have some time to themselves, I rushed off by train to Montova. I had heard that it is a beautiful city so I get the enormous blessing of mixing work with pleasure.

ENCOUNTERING JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES IN THE PARK. WELL, SO MUCH FOR A NICE QUIET DAY…

  Here’s an indication of how Europe is changing.
As it turned out to be a very hot day and I was loaded down with literature and art materials the day proved to be more work than I had hoped for. Well, guess what? The first situation I run into is the JW’s handing out literature in the park and I just happened to have about twenty tracts in Italian entitled, “The Four Errors of The Watch Tower.” I first offered the tracts to the JW’s and some rather brisk exchanges took place.
So, I followed them and whoever they spoke to, I spoke to and gave then a tract. Finally, they left the park in disgust. I went back around and had a thirty minute conversation in English with a man from India. I was able to pray for him. He has been away from his family for more than a year and trying to earn a better life for them. Of course, he cried when thinking of how lonely he was and the fact that there is not much work and he doesn’t have enough money to return home. There are thousands of such cases. Regrettably, like so many others, he calls himself a Christian, wears a cross around his neck but understands nothing of what it means to be a Christian. He has been sacramentalized but never evangelized. This condition describes 99% of Italy.
Later – on the train to Modena – I drew the portrait of a young man who turned out to be a muslXm from Bangledesh.  He is married but his wife is also at home while he tries to make some money under the table. He admitted to having no work and not being able to yet send anything home. He barely has enough money to survive himself. He said, “One day, if my God wills, I will go to America.” I asked, “Who is your God?” I knew, of course, but I wanted to hear him say it.  When he said, “AlXah,” I was able to tell him that his God was too arbitrary and fickle. He wanted to know what I meant so I explained that his God is unknowable. We had a good conversation. I was able to give him tracts in Arabic, English (which he asked for) and Italian. After leaving the train he waited for me to de-board to thank me for a very informative and helpful discussion and made the comment, “You are a very good man.”

Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report / Spring 2008

After a quick lunch and a short nap we drove to…

 

SASSUOLO, ITALY…

 

The end of the Sunday School year.

 

Here is a church of about eighty pastored by Italian-American, Mario and his wife Shiela. They have been leading this congregation for about ten years. Eighty people in Italy is a very large congregation. I preached on maturity (Four Kinds of People) from I Corinthians. One man cried all through the service and could not get his breath. He came to me later with his wife and in broken English tried to say that Jesus had spoken to him and was calling him from the shadows into a life devoted to Christ, to go where he ìs asked to go and do what he is asked to do.

Others commented in a variety of ways about the impact of the message.

Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report / Spring 2008

SUNDAY MORNING… MAY 25, 2008

PARMA, GRUPPO CRISTIANO LATINO AMERICANO…
We are meeting in the new building! It’s big, bright and airy! All in all, it costs more than $2,000 a month. This is a lot of money for a rather poor congregation so the few that have jobs have to go without to keep the church financially afloat.

We did have a scene! Upon arriving at the church a neighbor met pastor Aldo to give him a piece of his mind. There was not much that Aldo could say since the man was irate. He was furious over the late hour of the night before and the noise, the cars that blocked his driveway and complained that every night of the week there is something going on! He threatened to have them evicted. He said, “You are not legal!”  

Once settled into the service and having twenty-five or more women away on a retreat I preached to around 50 people. The church now has about 80-100 attendees. I preached a biographical sermon on John the Baptist, “A Man Sent from God.” It seemed to have some effect.

 

SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2008

YOUTH OUTREACH, SATURDAY EVENING…
Denny, Jessica, Ruth, Fabian, Danny, Clara, Christian and Victor put together a bar-b-q where about twenty young people attended. They all came early a made a fantastic meal of chicken, potatoes and salad. I spoke to the group of which at least four or five were not believers, three or four others with one foot in the kingdom and one foot out and another ten or so who are on fire. Before the meeting two young people dropped in for a minute. They are the young adults of a strong church family.

This provided the opportunity to speak to the daughter for almost an hour. The conversation was straight forward and challenging. 

Below:  Gruppo Cristiano Latino Americano Young People…

    

     

Below:  How  Italy and all of Europe is changing. These are a few of the many young people that flood the streets of Parma.

                                                                                                                                      Victor (from Argentina) and Belkis (from Dominican Republica) are missionaries with YWAM  and in Italy from their work in North Africa. They work with the young people and live on the first floor of the church building.

 


 

 

 Although Aldo was sick with a horrible cold and had spent the day in bed, he translated for me and they all said they understood and they must have because it appears that several have trusted Christ during the meeting and were in church on Sunday morning. I spoke on Judas, betraying Jesus with a kiss and how that is what Italy does, they only pay Him lip service but in the process they deny him and send him out to be crucified. They build big churches’, make beautiful art to celebrate his life but only care about, money, fashion, sex and sports. “They would not come to me (him) that they might have life.”

Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report / Spring 2008

SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2008

CHILDREN’S OUTREACH IN THE CITY PARK, COLLECHIO, ITALY…
Francesco solicited the help of Tony Anthony of Rome. He is a master of children’s ministry (a sort of Roberto Benini of “A Beautiful Life”) and travels with a rig that I would guess might be around, $100,000. The van’s sides fold out and he has a top quality sound system, puppets, lively music, tells stories and gathers rapt attention. By the way this has been paid for by a secular social development organization. The church in Italy could never raise these funds. There were about twenty to thirty children and their parents.

Italy and Slovenia Ministry Report

Thursday,
May 22, 2008

I arrived in Milan on Thursday morning and managed to get into Parma by late afternoon, exhausted from travel, of course. So after a good night of sleep I rose on Friday morning to connect with old friends in the city who remain evangelism contacts that I continue to cultivate.
Even though tired I was anxious to get to work and so I took out my drawing pad and drew a young man across from me. Of course, everyone around wanted to see what I was up to and those brave enough to look over my shoulder (about twenty people) would give me the thumbs up. The young man was thrilled at being the center of attention. A guy across from me (about 6 foot, 6 inches tall) tried to speak to me in broken English. When he learned that I had lived in Canada he came alive. He was on the Cuban Pan/Am Team in volleyball and lived in Winnipeg. When I had finished the drawing I gave it to the other guy I concentrated on the volleyball player. He gave me his card to get in touch. I shared Jesus with him (a very clear gospel) and gave tracts that I had in Spanish.
 
Via Cavour, Parma
The guy that I had drawn seemed to be listening as was his  traveling companion. As I got up to leave, I spoke to him in Italian and he replied by saying, “You can speak in English if you prefer.” Both of the fellows spoke English (one was from Spain) and they wanted to know what I was doing here in Italy and how I spoke Italian, so, guess what, I told them and told them some more. I was able to present a clear gospel and give them literature before leaving the train at Parma. I watched them read the tracts together and discuss the content.
  
  
I left the train at my destination, Parma.
After almost five years, this has become my home 
in Europe.