God continues to be so kind to us.
Starting a church is the work of God, but He uses man and his efforts to reach out to people in need. Christ will build His church and He expects the believers to be His ambassadors imploring people to be reconciled with God. This is what we are doing in Rome day after day with God’s help, strength and encouragement.
When we left the USA December 2013, it was our goal to be involved in a church plant. We did not know exactly where or how. We knew that our sending church, Grace Immanuel Bible Church was encouraging us, we knew that many dear friends were praying for us and partnering financially with us as we arrived in Rome. Today we are so grateful to report that God is working in Rome. The church Vita nella Grazia is faithfully proclaiming the Gospel in a very dark city.
When we started we had no idea of how many people would come, if we would be able to reach unbelievers, we could only be faithful and trust God to do the rest.
Since we started October 15th of last year we have been averaging around 35 people in our services. Those who are believers are excited to hear the Word of God preached. In every service we have unbelievers present, some are curious, some are genuinely desiring to know who Jesus Christ is.
Every Sunday we have a worship hour and then Sunday School, I understand that it is an old-fashioned term, but call it what you want that is what it is. Depending on who has preached Lucio or David the other one teaches on the philosophy of ministry of the church. We desire for everyone to understand what a church is and what our purpose is. The children and teenagers have their class also.
In our weekly Bible studies, (we have three) both David and Lucio teach. There is much desire to learn and grow. Unbelievers are always present and continue to be very inquisitive. Everyone is a gift from God and we continue to pray that God will open the eyes of those who do not know Him.
Loredana is doing a wonderful Job with five young ladies, who come once a month to our home to study the Bible and spend time together. At least two are not believers yet but are so excited to be part of the group, their mother, also unsaved, comes to church and to the Bible study David teaches and is very open to the Gospel.
We have started a monthly event at our home that is called: Joyous Marriages. About seven couples come once a month. David teaches and then we have dinner. We are so grateful for how God is using this time in the lives of the couples on our church, we also have three unbelievers who come regularly!
Our friends and partners in church, Neil and Summer have started English classes once a week in the place where we meet sponsored by our church. Every Tuesday between 10 and 15 people come to learn English and to ask questions about what we believe. Davide (that is what they call David in Italian) and Lucio had the opportunity to go to the class and answer spiritual questions for about two hours. We did not have time to answer all their questions, so we plan to do it again after the summer break. We call that time, Meet the Pastors.
As you can see our days are wonderfully full, but we have also special events! We just ended a week with a group from Immanuel Bible Church from Springville, VA where Jordan Standridge is the outreach pastor. Every day started with a devotional with the 9 team members from the USA. Then off to the park for Basketball Camp. This was a new experience that allowed us to meet new children and parents. Then in the afternoon VBS in the park. What a wonderful opportunity to meet many parents that were surprised to learn that an evangelical church would take the time to care about their children and teach them about Jesus. You must understand that typically these parents and kids have never opened a Bible. The stories of Zacchaeus and Jonah are completely unknown to them. Our prayer is that some will come to visit us at church.
It’s a long letter but we are excited to tell you about a few more things. In our literature ministry we have doubled the size of our monthly newspaper, about 1,500 families receive it in all parts of Italy. Our desire is to promote good teaching and a love for expository preaching. We are also working on a couple of books that should be very helpful for training pastors.
Our priority is the local church that God has given us, but we realize that there is such a need in Italy. We continue to travel three or four times a year to Sicily to help the churches in Acireale and Siracusa. David continues to preach and meet with the men and Loredana is a great encouragement to the ladies. Our friends Marco and Simona love our times of encouragement and friendship.
David will be preaching in a church in Bologna and near Milano. We look forward to encouraging the leadership of these churches. Dear friends there is much to do and we realize that anything that has eternal value is done only through the help of our Lord. We realize that we cannot do it without your prayers and financial support. We continue to trust God to provide as He sees fit.
One last thing! Missionaries often need to do things that we are not very good at. We do not have large staffs and God does bring the right people along at the right time! We are in need of someone who is an expert in web sites, I should say: don’t go to www.cornleliusministries.org, but since your curiosity now is challenged we need help there! If you are able to help and donate your time, contact David.
SO, PRAISE! PRAY! AND PARTNER WITH US!
You representatives in Rome Italy,
David and Loredana
If you would like to support our ministry to Italy
Please, donate now OR send your tax deductible gifts to:
55 South Main Street #164
Oberlin, OH 44074
Mark on the memo line or on a separate note: For the ministry of David and Loredana Standridge