Just as Rose was making her way back to Italy I was putting the final touches to the 2 seminars I was going to deliver in Pescara (Abruzzo) to a group of 200 young Italian believers. 200 Italians all fired up for a conference on MISSION! Almost unheard of in Italy. This conference had only had a crowd of around 40-60 the last time they held it. But in the final weeks before the conference young Italians from all parts of the peninsula had committed to attending this conference held by NOVE:37 – a youth mission in Italy.
The theme was His Passion : My Passion and the key speaker was Peter Mead (an Englishman with a history of working in Italy). As I journeyed the 8hours south by car I was still amazed – 200!! I was also wondering how this crowd of young 18-35s would take to hearing a mid-50s Scotsman share his story with them and how relevant it would be for them.
I was pleasantly surprised and despite the unseasonal snowstorm outside on the evening of our arrival the temperature inside was decidedly warm. The initial session fired them up and from the response after at the OM table the youngsters had been ignited!
The next day Elisoe Guadango and I were able to share with the youngsters the centrality of allowing the Lord to lead when following His heart. I shared from my own story of the Lord taking my life and shaping it over 20years for the moment when He wanted to use me in a different way than I would have expected and then we were able to show them how diverse passions from love of books, to cameraman, to artists,and a myriad of other gifts and passions can be used to fulfil the passion of the Father’s heart – sharing the love of Jesus with them personally.
I left the conference truly uplifted and encouraged that in this land, where for many years there has hardly been an idea of what mission means never mind who should do it, we were seeing what is part of a movement of young disciples of the Lord who are tired of being held back by my generation and are clearly ready to step up and follow the Lord as He does something new in Italy. We left on the long journey back to North west Italy with Hallelujah ringing in our ears and hearts.