Yesterday evening Rose and I had a baptism of fire into our role in OM Italia – we were present at the inauguration of a new church building in Pinerolo. The Church for all the nations had been meeting in a small town and had needed to find a larger building and have now moved about 15minutes away to Pinerolo to a larger building. All the churches and believers in the surrounding area had been invited to join them in celebrating God’s provision and blessing to them. In the UK this fellowship would be labelled ‘pentecostal’ although in Italian terms probably not – anyway we arrived just before 5pm and were warmly welcomed by the pastor Luis (who comes from Argentina) and invited to sit in the reserved seats for pastors and missionaries. We were accompanied by our OM colleague, Eder who comes from Mexico and he informed me that the Pastor had said to him that all the visiting pastors and missionaries would be invited to share something in the service! Now Eder has a reputation for being a bit of a joker and I was not sure if he was just kidding me on or he was serious – so just to be on he safe side I prayed and chose Psalm 67 to read just in case. Now we arrived early at the church and as we arrived the welcomer took our names which I thought would be just to welcome us as visitors from OM but as we were first to arrive we were also first to be asked to share with the fellowship. So I shared the Psalm with them and said that this was our hope for Italy.
After about 3hours of lively worship singing ( and some dancing!!) sharing from many pastors and mission workers we came to the end of the service. The pastor complimented me on preaching my first sermon in Italian even though I had only been learning the language for 8months and here he was still speaking Spanish after all these years here in Italy!! If only it had been my first sermon!!He was commenting on the theme which had been going thru the evening of unity among believers and churches which would be needed if we are to reach Italy with the gospel – this had been what the Lord had been saying to us thru most of the speakers and the songs and prayers.
What a blessing we received that evening as we shared food and chatted with many pastors from the surrounding area. Many were interested in what OM are doing and came to speak with us. We could not have asked for a better opportunity on our first official church visit as OM Church Mobilization and Network Coordinators! Our God is amazing and knows all things.
It was a very different service in many ways to that which we are used to being involved with in Scotland but we are so happy that the Lord has given us this positive experience and encouragement at the beginning of our work in Italy.