As usual, I was late to my bed but it was daylight savings night so I picked up and extra hour. This allowed me time to rise early and take some photos in the brilliant morning sunlight before the streets became clogged with people.
Fosca, a dear friend for many years would be my translator so at 9:15 she came by to collect me and walk me to the church. She brought with a Tunisian fellow who said he would come to church but once he got their and people started to come in, I could see him “crawfishing” (a term I learned from Larry Brune… meaning to swim backwards). In this area of the city there is large population of Muslims so the church is watched in case a Muslim entering might be recognized. In this church there are a number of Pakistani believers so right away, when he saw them he became nervous and slipped out of the door and on to the street.
The church began to fill and though the space is splendid it is already to small and every one of the hundred seats filled by the time the musicians began to play. In other rooms the children had their classes so this building is at its capacity.
Pastor Pippo Rizza and his wife Enrica are terrific leaders and I can see why the church is growing both nutritionally and in numerically. This is one of the happiest and healthiest churches I have encountered. Rizza’s church as is Pastor Sotera’s are Baptist congregations of the Reformed persuasion but these guys are easy to entreat since they have Jesus and John Calvin in their rightful places. I preached with great liberty to a receptive audience who received the Word as though it came directly from God Himself.
About ten of us attended a grand lunch at the Rizza home where we had Gnocci, a wonderful chicken dish that was Italian until Enrica added curry to it. Then also French fries as well as salad then three different desserts. Most of those at the luncheon were Sicilian where Rizza comes from. Pippo is a bi-vocational pastor and additionally works as a professor of Economics at Trento University. I have an open invitation to return. Lord being my helper, I will.
I took the evening to myself and then this morning (Monday) boarded the train for Verona and Venezia.