Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
“Good night Michele, good night Maria”.
“Luca did you remember to call the doctor for our appointment next week?”.
“Call Nonna and tell her that we will pick her up tomorrow morning at 9 AM”. Were these the ordinary dialogs that went on in Amatrice and surrounding towns on the 23rd of August? Just normal family conversations…
It was at 3:36 AM on the 24th when both Loredana and I woke each other up, asking why the other one was shaking the bed. Forty-five minutes later, we woke up the same way, realizing that our room was moving because of an earthquake again.
By today, in the town of Amatrice, the body of Sayd, an Afghan refugee, was found under the rubble. He is victim number 296 of the earthquake in that area that sent aftershocks far and wide.
Loredana and I are grateful for God’s protection. Natural events like this earthquake remind us how precarious our lives really are. We also know that we are not in the hand of “Mother Nature” or chance, but in the sovereign, providential hands of our Almighty God.
Reflecting on this event, we are made sharply aware of our responsibility to continually share the Gospel. Close to 300 people went to bed, assuming that they would wake up in the morning; they had no idea that their lives would be lost before the sun arose
The towns that were hit are small. The largest one has about 2,500 inhabitants, the smallest one had about 100. Italy has been hit by earthquakes before, one of the facts about this one, though, is that the percentage of those killed is quite high, compared to their populations because of the timing.
When we think of Italy, we all know that the ratio of missionaries or churches to the population of 56,000,000 is very small. What you might not realize is that the majority of towns like these are totally unreached. Today there are still 30,000 towns without any kind of true Gospel witness in Italy!
One of the reasons my parents, Bill and Maria Teresa Standridge, began the publishing ministry that we continue to this day, was their realization that printed materials could reach these towns where there are no known believers. This is why we continue to produce evangelistic material that is mailed and distributed all over Italy. Only this year, over 100,000 pieces of literature have been written by us and distributed all over Italy. Loredana and I visited a little town in Sicily, Santo Stefano di Camastra, where there is a family who has depended on our materials for years, as there are no churches in their area. Every time we visit them, we see our literature on the counter in their little pottery shop, ready to be distributed to their clients. They are so very grateful for the work we do.
Bill Standridge has written a booklet entitled: “Coi terremoti Dio che c’entra?” or “What does God have to do with earthquakes?”. This booklet has been used in the past after other earthquakes, and we are now in the midst of updating it to prepare it for publishing. All of Italy is talking about the earthquake, and we don’t want to miss this opportunity to share the Gospel with those who are willing to listen! By faith, we will print 1,000 copies, but we could use many more as God provides the funds necessary to print more.
We watched the funeral for the victims on television last week. How sad it was, to hear the Bishop of Rieti mention Scripture verses that were true, but were recited without any perceivable desire that truth of the Gospel would reach the hearts of all those who heard it. The Bishop’s comfort was that all those who died have now become angels who will watch over those who are left behind!
Dear friends, will you join us in our effort to reach millions of Italians who have no hope of eternal life?
We are certainly grateful for all of you who faithfully pray for us and give, so that we can continue to minister in the church where we labor weekly, as we train men and publish materials to evangelize the many unreached towns in Italy.
If you would like to help with the publishing of evangelistic materials, please follow the instructions at the bottom of our letter.
Grateful for the possibility to represent you in Italy,
David and Loredana
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