Well as I said a few months ago, (I know it has been a long time) the Lord brought us to work alongside our friends here in Genova (or Genoa as you might know it). Yes we are living in the wonderful port of Genoa by the sea and with a wonderful coastline and a history as the one of the finest and oldest maritime empires in the world.
However as the title might suggest it is not all sunshine, sand and sea. While we do officially live in Genova (Bolzaneto)we are some distance from any sea view and in fact are closer to the mountains than anything else. Our 6th floor apartment (with lift thank goodness) gives us a predominantly south facing (therefore sunny) outlook over what is on of the largest ghettoes in Liguria (see above). A little place named Begato where as was the custom in the 1970/80s those folks
who had major mental health problems, were unemployed or were viewed as anti social were all given a house. So all of those with major social issues in their lives and withlittle or no likelihood of overcoming them were placed side by side in an area where nobody would pass through or even notice, with the generous provison of 1 chemist (essential for badly needed medication), 1 cafe/bar and one small newsagent for a population of 2500 approx. In an article published just today, it is stated that of these 2500 inhabitants 1700 are being supported by social assistance or social work intervention as you would understand in the UK.
Begato is just a part of the area of Bolzaneto where our work here is concentrated and where we hope very soon to be opening a centre to help those in need. Those who are part of the church here (which is called Meet with Jesus) are some of those who struggle with mental health and social rejection issues and are challenged day by day with loneliness and abandonment of families and the state itself. Our work is to walk with them as Jesus changes their lives and they become the beacons of light in the darkness of Begato and Bolzaneto.
It has been a while since I last wrote and perhaps you would be thinking that I have been neglecting my blog, however we have been getting to know this area and been meeting those who frequent the church group as they meet together in house groups and all together monthly where we praise, learn and eat together as God’s family. I don’t make any excuse for the delay in communicating this – as you can imagine it has been exhausting work getting to know and try to understand our brothers and sisters and we have at the same time been organising the new apartment which the Lord has provided and which we will use for sharing His provison with those whom we now know as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Please remember those in Begato as you pray – these are those that He came to save – the lame, the blind, the prisoners. As we walk the streets here in Bolzaneto we meet many who are blind to the truth of the gospel and who are deaf to the call of the Lord so we ask you to pray with us that their ears would be unstopped and their eyes would be opened that they would live the abundant life and hope which is in Jesus Christ the Saviour who loves them and never abandons them.