The work here in Abruzzo is progressing, slowly but surely. We’re starting to get asked into people’s homes, which is a major step here! And they’ve even invited us to their big celebrations in restaurants. The most recent being the 18th birthday dinner for one of Mario’s English students.
But the best part is that we got to share with some of the students (brought on by the Paris terrorist attacks) that Christ vanquishes fear. And that even death itself is nothing to fear if we know where we’re going and who we’ll spend it with. (The chairs are mostly empty because folks had gotten up to dance, but we’ve never learned how!)
We’re also helping out at some refugee camps in our area.
In fact, we’re trying to figure out how to carve out a bit more time to start literacy classes with them. Most can’t read or can barely read. And as a result, have very confused ideas about the Bible. Some of the creative fellows in one camp made these amazingly detailed cardboard houses, which we sold at our church. You should have seen their beaming faces! The brethren paid generously!
We alo invited some of our African friends to our church’s Thanksgiving Day celebration this coming weekend. And our daughter and family are coming down from up north too! So we’ll have a special weekend!
Church planting is usually lonely work. And we had greatly missed having a church family and regular fellowship since moving to this village 6 years ago. So why do we do it, you wonder?
Because most larger Italian towns have bodies of believers. But most people in smaller towns and villages go through life without ever hearing a clear presentation of the Gospel. And without ever knowing the assurance of being saved. Italy has over 30,000 towns without witness.
We try to establish fellowships in these areas. Because most of these country folk would never travel to “the city” for a church service. Even going to the nearer small towns becomes an ordeal for them.
So we decided to join this church, about an 40 minutes from our house. At least until the Lord enables us to establish a body here. It’s what they call over here a historical church, meaning it’s been around quite a while. But it’s a growing vibrant fellowship with lots of young adults. Reminds me a lot of our church in Emilia Romagna! Both towns, in fact, have about 40,000 people. And it’s been great to be part of a family again!
Mario also continues to teach English a lot.
He’s a good teacher and in high demand, though it does eat up a lot of his time. And as I’m here with no car, it greatly limits what I can do, other than visit and encourage neighbors, even you — our online neighbors! But teaching has been great for helping us to truly integrate into the area, helping the people to know and trust us!
Sadly, we haven’t made it down to Our summer base since summertime. We call it the summer base, but try to visit as often as we can. We’ve been tied to home because of having our bathroom redone. But we hope to make it sometime during the Christmas season school break. Perhaps after a visit to our northern church. Please pray that this will be possible. And that we won’t freeze to death. We still have not been able to install a proper heating stove and up there in the mountains it gets quite cold!
We just had our bathroom redone. Even though we had already redone it only 6 years ago. But following poor advice, instead of drywall, we used fiber board, which absorbs humidity like a sponge. The walls had huge damp spots with big chunks of plaster falling off. It was a total disaster. And during removal, it just tore off the walls like damp cardboard. Fortunately we won’t breathe in that mold and mildew anymore!
The new builder did a great and careful job. A bit slow, as contruction is a side job for him. But we now have a warm dry bathroom, with proper shower board, insulation, and a new double paned window. It’s amazing how much difference warmer the house stays!
I insisted on quick and simple. But Franco is meticulous and likes doing beautiful work. And since he charges a flat fee, Mario agreed with him. So seeing I was out-voted, I finally left it to them saying, “Just get it done!” I didn’t choose any of it. But whoever said men don’t have great taste?
Plus we finally graduated to a REAL bathroom door. From shower curtain, to accordion door (which ate up half the doorway) to a real one! I’m not used to so much luxury, and keep marvelling at such beautiful, luxurious gifts! God is so good and faithful!
Well, we want to wish you all a special holiday. Spent with the people you love, and with time to reflect on the great things God has done and does for us.
And we’d like to say an extra special Thank you to each of you.
We miss all our family and friends so much. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of and pray for you. If we had a big enough house (and the funds) we’d gather everyone — family, friends, our online friends — together in one spot for a huge Thanksgiving feast. Even if it was nothing but bread and onions (as they say here), it would be great. Because we’d be with the special people in our lives!
Know that we love you all. And keep you in our prayers. Whatever you do for us: giving, praying, or encouraging us — know that it is deeply appreciated. And that it makes you part of God’s work here in Bell’Italia!!
Happy Thanksgiving from Italy, even if we don’t celebrate it here!
[Images are our own.]