Hi folks it has been a long gap since my last post – and many things have been happening. We have had 30 OM- ers here in Bobbio Pellice, which is the Conference Centre about 2miles from us in Torre Pellice, for about 8days discussing the opportunities for short term mission and then from 13-15 November we used their practical expertise of languages, praise leading etc to assist the churches in Torino to run an evangelism campaign in the centre of Torino in what is one of the biggest outdoor markets in Europe. The stallholders are about 90% muslim from all over the Arab world and so we grasped the opportunity to share the gospel with people who would never have the opportunity to hear the good news in their own country!
It was amazing to see a group of muslims crowing around a young German girl who works in the Arab world debating the various points of the Koran and what it says about the Lord. Muslims just love to be able to have agood discussion about things religious/spiritual and are very open to listening. They are very combative but when they finish they want to continue to be your friend!! Those 3 days were amazing and it was also a time of blessing for us to see the churches working together in hosting and feeding about 25-30 for 3days. It was a busy time and full of long days and early morning rises but invigorating at the same time.
Immediately following this Rose and I took a small team down to the town of l’Aquila which was the place which was hit by a massive earthquake in April just before Easter Sunday. We remember many of the pictures of the town on TV and how many of you sent emails and called us as you were not sure if we had been in the region of the quake in Perugia. Thank the Lord that we were not but we do remember the pictures and coverage of the student residence in the centre of l’Aquila which was completely destroyed – well the miracle of that story was never really told in full. We have been able to talk with 2 young girls who walked out of it alive (and saved others) by the power of God’s saving strength and power. The newsreels only said that they were able to get out alive but the full story is much more intricate than and powerful than what the world would have you believe.
We are amazed that this young and fragile fellowship of believers are reaching out with the help of churches around Italy and the world to those who have lost everything in a matter of 40seconds! We are amazed because they also have lost everything – home, family heirlooms, wedding photos, family photos, crockery, wedding presents, clothes etc etc – they literally walked out with what they had on and as it was the middle of the night that was not very much!! Yet they are reaching out to people who have just moved out of tents into new homes – while most of them have not got a home of their own yet – the pastor and his family are living in a military garrison after 7months of living in a tented camp with limited facilities to say the least. Yet they are praising the Lord for His saving grace and telling others about Him.
To work here is an amazing blessing and we ask you wherever you are to pray for this city – as you walk through the centre of the city you see what you expect to see – building held together by huge steel cables, scaffolding which would look like a work of art if were not so tragic, but you also see what you don’t expect to see – washing hanging up outside houses, cars abandoned, garages which have disappeared at underneath buildings………..
This has been an amazing time but also a very tiring time and we are both now looking forward to getting home to see many of you in December but before that we have lots to do. I hope to be able to post a video or some photos of l’Aquila and Torino soon but until then my few words will need to do to give you an idea of what has been happening. Please do not forget the people of l’Aquila as for many of them the earthquake is far from over and in fact there are still some tremors being felt. Keep them in your prayers.