We’ve got lots of news this time, but our biggest news is that we joined the church! “But,” you ask, “shouldn’t missionaries already be in the church?” Well, since moving to this southern area to share the Good News, we’ve been without a church family.
We knew this work would go slowly. People here are often suspicious in general, and especially of anything non-Catholic. And the mountain villagers most of all.
And although we are not discouraged, we needed the fellowship a church family. So these two missionaries have joined the church!
We often visited this church (where Hubby already preached some), in a larger town about 45 minutes away, in-between travels. It’s a vibrant, growing church, with a good mix of older and younger people. The pastors do a great job. And we’re pleased they accepted us as members.
It’s a new experience for us to simply be church members. We’ve almost always held some leadership role in our years here. But all we want to do is serve, and we pray the Lord will help us both serve and encourage our new family.
We no longer hold church meetings at the camp, as we decided it was better to bring them to church with us. They need the exposure to Italians and the Italian language. Please pray with us that they will feel welcome and manage to fit in.
The sad story of one refugee.
Ill-prepared to live away from home or handle funds, he got drunk and violent. And as it was 2nd offence, they threw him out. Leaving him on the street with no documents and little money.
When he called, it was too late at night to find him a place, so we bought dinner, then brought him home to sleep.
Many said we were crazy to do so; that it lacked wisdom. But it was below freezing out.
And all we could think was, “What would Jesus do?” So we put him on a camp cot close to the pellet stove, as he was frozen through. He was frightened and worried, we scolded at him anyway, hoping to keep him stop doing more foolish things. But we couldn’t keep him here.
So Mario took him to the police, hoping they could help. Bad idea. They wanted to arrest him – but didn’t because Mario has helped them with interpretation work in the past. But they did tell Hubby, “Don’t take in any more refugees, or we’ll have to arrest you.” It didn’t matter to them that we did it to keep him from freezing to death outside!
“Arrest me then,” my husband said. “Because I will open my door in help to all who ask.” We cannot leave anyone to freeze to death or send them away hungry. If feeding and helping others is a crime, then we are guilty. And we will continue to commit it.
We eventually got him into a Catholic shelter, as there are no evangelical shelters in our area. And hopefull he’ll get a 6-month document soon.
News from the northern church.
We made at least 3 trips up there since our last news update. First for the baptisms of several youth, including our two oldest granddaughters!! What a joyous day. No photos though, as I was hobbling on crutches, and Hubby was helping with the baptisms.
Then we went to help ordain church elders. What an encouragement to see this couple growing strong in the Lord. And what a blessing they are to the church! Please keep them in your prayers.
We don’t make it down to the Summer Home in the winter. We still haven’t been able to put any heat in, and it’s just too cold. Up there in the mountains, a home that sets empty most of the year becomes freezing cold! But we hope to go in the spring!
Once again, thank you all for your prayers, and please remember that you are in ours too!
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