The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. John 1
Have gospel – will travel! After our 3 day outreach in Torino to the huge Muslims population which frequents the largest open air market in Europe.(www.manduriamatt.wordpress.com)
This was a marvellous 3days where we had open and engaging conversations with Muslims (and others) about the Lord and life. It was uplifting to be able to discuss the real topics of life and death with so many in such an open way. Many Italians are not this open and so these 3days although physically tiring, were spiritually like an injection of kerosene in our tanks!
We loaded up a van and 5 of us travelled down to work with the church in l’Aquila – the city which was devastated by the earthquake in April of this year.
Our introduction to l’Aquila was a tour of the historic centre of the town which was
featured in the news reports – you may remember the film of the cathedral and also of the famous ‘Casa degli studenti’ (students’ residences) – it was a profound experience walking round a centre where most buildings were supported by a myriad of scaffolding. We saw the famous student residence (Casa degli studenti) which was almost entirely demolished.Yet we were able to talk to 2 of the students who were saved from the devastation. They were able to tell us of the miracle of God’s provision in all of the chaos.
We stayed for a couple of weeks in a camping centre in Isola di Gran Sasso- which is in
the midst of being re-structured!! Isola is about 30minutes from l’Aquila and we think it
must be called an Isola(island) because it has an entirely different weather pattern to
l’Aquila. The mornings and evenings it were misty, cold and cloudy until we arrived in
l’Aquila where the sun was shining! Most mornings we distributed literature in one of the makeshift markets and at the university – while after lunch we distributed 1300 calendars to the new houses which have been recently constructed and people have now moved out of the ‘tendopoli’ (tented village)
We joined with a group of about 100 youngsters in Rome (where Matt shared a word of encouragement) and were encouraged by so many obviously looking to serve God in their lives. Rome was beautiful and bad at the same time – we enjoyed visiting the Coliseum and other sites while at the same time our van was broken into and we lost one of our computers and several other from a bag. Not a good experience but we had a great time sharing and worshipping the Lord with the young folks afterwards and as we thought of our loss in the light of those folks from l’Aquila it put it into perspective!
Matt preached in the small local fellowship both Sundays, spoke at a youth meeting in
Rome and shared at a bible study in a small town nearby, while Rose initiated many
conversations in the market place as she gave literature to the folks. We were also
responsible for the team coordination – never an easy task in Italy!!
Now, at the end of a busy month, we have been reflecting on what God has been saying to us and doing in us. He has been speaking to us through the situations and people we have encountered where there is no certainty except in Him – He is the same yesterday today forever! Even mountains can crumble yet He remains secure. For us as we continue to deal with a very fluid living situation to be reminded of this truth in such a stark way as our time in l’Aquila is an exhortation to trust only in Him.
Our itinerary before we arrive home is a busy one and it will be a joy to be back amongst our ain folk for a wee while – worshipping the Lord in our own language and being with our brothers and sisters (and family) again. Although it will also be a busy time as Matt will be preaching in Bellevue on 3rd January and we hope to have a few other meetings to keep you informed on how and what you can pray for in the work in Italy.
We will be concentrating much of our efforts next year on Transform 2010 – OM outreach to the Mediterranean countries.
Over all these happenings and plans we want to say a big THANK YOU to you all for your support and prayers and we pray that you will know the joy of Immanuel this Christmas time.