Italy is a wonderful country, filled with interesting people. You might say that Loredana and David are prejudiced toward Italy. We both were brought up there, and speak the language fluently. We know the culture and have served as missionaries in various capacities for many years. There is no doubt that the country is beautiful, the food is great, and the people are very friendly. We love Italy, but we are also very aware of how hard it is to minister there. There is a reason that nine out of ten missionaries who go there leave their ministry within four years. And this is a reluctant decision, after having worked so hard to raise the necessary support and learn the language and the culture.
Ministry in Italy is hard. Over 95% of the Italian population is Roman Catholic. Not every one is very religious, but all are very tied to traditions and cultural strings attached to that belief system. The family holds a strong influence on the beliefs of its members, and many times, even the economical well-being of individuals is tied to their assent to this pervasive religious system. Only half of 1% of the population considers themselves to be Protestant, and many of these would not even affirm that the Bible is inerrant. There are over 30,000 cities and towns without any kind of Gospel witness. Most times, it takes many years of faithful ministry to begin to see any results.
Serving God is certainly worth the struggle. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his young companion in ministry, in 2 Timothy 2:10, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Dear friends, knowing that God is preparing the hearts of men and women causes us not only to be encouraged, but to desire to go back to Italy as soon as possible.
We are not going alone. Even though we are well aware that ministry there is hard, we know that God is going before us. We are so grateful for Grace Immanuel Bible Church, our sending church, their pastor Jerry Wragg, and the leadership there. In His wonderful goodness, God has also provided a team for us to work with. First of all, we are joining Bill and Maria Teresa Standridge, who have been serving there faithfully for over 60 years. They are not only great examples for us, but also an experienced source of encouragement and advice. We are excited, too, as we plan to go, that we will be working alongside Matt and Johanna Johnston and their two girls. We are going to be able to help them, after they learn the language and culture, to launch a church plant.
We are trusting God to guide us each step of the way. Our goal is to leave for Italy in December of this year. We plan to live in Rome, where Matt and Johanna will be learning the Italian language and culture. During that time, David will continue to serve in the publishing ministry that his parents started over 55 years ago. Because of his mom’s poor health, David is in the process of taking full legal responsibility for the ministry. During that time there will be also opportunities to visit churches in different parts of Italy. Both Loredana and David look forward to the privilege of encouraging missionaries and church leaders who are faithfully ministering in difficult situations. This period of at least one year will also be used to determine, with Matt and our leadership, where God will direct and enable us to plant a church.
A difficult ministry cannot be done without help. God has blessed us with the counsel of a wonderful mission and godly leadership. Cornelius Ministries’ board members have been of great help and encouragement to us. We are grateful for a mission that has a strong biblical position, and for the oversight of our sending church.
We are looking for 100 partners. If you look in Acts, Chapter 10, you will find the story of Cornelius, an Italian centurion, whom God saved in a wonderful way. Our idea is to form our CENTURION CORPS! We are asking God for 100 individuals or families who will commit to pray for us regularly. We know that ministry in Italy will not be easy, but the confidence of regular prayer support by many will certainly be an encouragement to us, for the Lord uses the prayers of His people to make a difference. We will have a special news letter for our CENTURION CORPS, where we will keep you informed of our prayer needs.
We certainly need to raise financial support. By God’s gracious provision, we now have around 60% of our financial need, but we need the full amount before we can make our final plans to leave for Italy. We know that all of our needs will be provided by our sovereign Lord. We know that part our way of determining the right time for us to leave will be by His provision for our financial needs, and we are excitedly waiting upon Him.
Let us know if you are ready to become our partner. If you would like to become part of our CENTURION CORPS, please contact us by letter or email. We are encouraged that we already have a few committed partners. You do not have to support financially to become our prayer partner. For us, that is the most important encouragement we can receive. Praying regularly for someone is hard work! But we would also love to hear from you if the Lord leads you to support our ministry financially, so that we can know how to proceed with our plans.
[colored_box title=”Please Pray:” variation=”red”]
- We will be faithful in serving here while waiting for our departure
- God will raise up some prayer partners for our CENTURION CORPS
- God will provide, in His timing and will, the necessary funds for us to leave in December
- God will continue to give physical strength to Bill and Maria Teresa Standridge
- God will provide the support for Matt and Johanna Johnston[/colored_box]
[colored_box title=”If you would like to support our ministry to Italy ” variation=”slategrey”]Please 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[/colored_box]