Parma and Fidenza, Italy
October 31, 2009
J and A are from Chapel Ridge Free Methodist Church in Stittsville, Ontario, the church that Jeanne and I founded some twenty-five years ago when J and A were only about three years of age but here is the next generation on the front lines serving with me for two weeks in Italy and Slovenia. They are gifted at cross-cultural interaction and a pleasure to have along for the ride.
I want to say a word here about Chapel Ridge. Here is a little church of about 120 people who like John the Baptist have decreased so that Christ might have the increase. I know of no other church of its’ size that has been so selfless and mission minded, supporting more than a dozen efforts and at least twenty workers as they endeavor to reach the world for Christ. To all of you there who also serve by waiting, praying and sending, I remind you that, “your labour (and sacrifice) is not in vain… a cup of water (even a single drop) given in Jesus’ name will not be forgot or lost.” You have the collective heart of Caleb.
It was great to see them on the platform in Parma. They took a couple of bright, sunny days in the mountain, seacoast villages of Cinque Terra and arrived rested and ready to go. Loaded with back packs we immediately turned ourselves around and went back a twelve minute ride to Fidenza where they will bunk in for four or five days until we go to Slovenia on Thursday morning.
They are staying with Angel and Hebe Sebastaini, missionaries from Venezuela who have now been in Italy for three years. The Sebastiani’s, like the Mann’s in Citta di Castello, have absolutely nothing but faith that God has called them to this part of the world. At first they had financial support from Venezuela but with Presdient Hugo Chavez in power and his atheism, anti-Christian position, no one can send any money out of the country to missionaries abroad, so the Sebastiani’s have agreed that, if God has called them to go without then they will trust the raven’s to feed and house them. They have learned, whether abased or abounding, to be content in either case they find the circumstances. It is often my greatest pleasure to help these friends out financially and I want my supporters to know that some of that which you give to me gets into the hands of many who serve here, both nationals and internationals.
We are met at the train station, taken to their apartment, where courtesies are exchanged, bedrooms and bathrooms are pointed out and described. Then we sat in the living room for a time while Hebe strummed her guitar and sang to us in Spanish, Italian and English (we joined her). After this, she put together a penne lunch with REAL fromaggio di parmigiano.
Now we were off to Parma for the evening with the Gruppo Latino Americano Cristiano as the youth provide supper for and celebrate their parents in the effort to win them to Christ.
I will simply provide a few photos and captions of our “walk-about” before meeting with the youth at 7:30 in the evening.