Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
–1 Corinthians 15:54,55
“PRONTO? CIAO DAVIDE, SONO RAFFAELE, VOLEVO DIRTI CHE MAMMA È MORTA”
“Hello David, it’s Raffaele, I wanted to tell you that mother has died”.
It had been some time since I had talked to him. Raffaele had come to know Christ in my office many years ago. I had the privilege to marry him to his dear wife. Raffaele was the only believer in a very Roman Catholic family. It was not until years later that his mother made a profession of faith. Raffaele wanted me to go to the funeral and rejoice with him that his mother was in heaven. After the service he wrote me a very kind note, thanking me for being his pastor and introducing Christ to his family. Today, Raffaele is a local church leader in a different part of Rome.
“DAVIDE, HAI SENTITO CHE GIORGIA È ANDATA CON IL SIGNORE?”
“David, did you hear that Giorgia went to be with the Lord?”
She had been suffering for many years with cancer. I remember sitting with her after church, watching her eyes fill with joy as she praised God for His care and love for her, and for her certainty of eternal life. But then her eyes would fill with tears, as she reminded me to continue to pray for her husband and daughter, who were totally disinterested in the Gospel. Years have passed from those days; her husband has died and her family continues to be antagonistic. They knew of her faith, they watched her read her Bible consistently, go to church faithfully, and talk about the God she loved. Her family refused to allow an evangelical funeral in spite of her wishes, and did not allow any of her believing friends any opportunity to speak during the Roman Catholic funeral. We rejoice that God knows His own and that Giorgia rejoices today in heaven, in the presence of her Savior.
“DAVIDE, GRAZIE PER IL TUO MESSAGGIO OGGI, NON SONO QUASI VENUTA IN CHIESA PERCHÉ NON MI SENTO BENE, MA DIO SAPEVA CHE AVEVO BISOGNO DI QUESTO MESSAGGIO”.
“David, thank you for your sermon today, I almost didn’t come today because I don’t feel well, but God knew I needed this message”.
The next morning we received a call from Patrizia’s husband Claudio, telling us that she was in the emergency room. Only days later, the doctors discovered that she has cancer in her lungs which has also spread to her brain. It has been a blessing to spend countless hours at the hospital with this dear couple, observing the peace that only God can give to His own. Patrizia and Claudio are aware of the severity of their situation, but also know the One who holds their future. We have been able to witness to their families who have never come to church, but listened carefully as David read the Scriptures, explained them and prayed every time we went. Only God knows Patrizia’s future, but we know He calls us to seize present opportunities to present the glory of the Gospel.
Loredana has the privilege to meet individually with Nadia and Cheila.
These two women have different histories: one is from Moldavia, and the other from Brazil. But they are both married to Italian men, and have had very difficult pasts. Loredana will be going through the basics of the Word of God and the Gospel with them, in the weeks to come. Because they are very open and have a great desire to understand, it is wonderfully evident that God is working in their hearts. Loredana is also teaching a series on “The Lord’s Prayer” to the women’s Bible study group in our little church.
David just got back from a weekend in Sicily.
The churches in Acireale and Siracusa are eager to learn from the Word. David was able to meet with the men of Acireale and challenge them in their roles as husbands and fathers. The members of the church in Siracusa had distributed invitations to friends and neighbors, but no one responded. But these dear believers realize that we must continue to be faithful. One of the men said: “We are not giving up, the next time you come we will print more invitations and we will pass them out again”.
In Italy, every 52 seconds a person dies, and every two hours someone commits suicide.
We have a ministry that is truly a matter of life and death. We are surrounded by people who are destined to a Christ-less eternity. Your prayers are vital for our ministry. Only God can revive dead hearts and open the eyes of those who continue to walk in rebellion.
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes”. James 4:14
We are here for just a short while; we all must be faithful in our duty to shine as lights in a lost world. We are so thankful for all of you who pray for us regularly and give, so we can continue to proclaim the message of our risen Savior, who has defeated death and gives hope to those who believe in Him.
Grateful to God, your co-slaves for Christ,
David and Loredana
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