Francesco Pollicino is a missionary working in a church plant in Milazzo, Sicily. He is under the authority of the church and elders of the local church “Sola Grazia” in the city of Caltanissetta.
Dear Friends in Christ!
I am writing this brief letter to update you about the work in Milazzo, Sicily, and to ask for prayers. As you well know Italy has been one of the nations most severely hit by the recent pandemic, especially the northern regions of Lombardy and Piedmont that have suffered terribly. The island of Sicily where I live and some southern regions have been comparatively spared, but despite this, the national lockdown has been extended even to these territories. Because of this, we had to suspend our meetings.
Just before the start of this pandemic, my sending church (“Sola Grazia” of Caltanissetta) officially recognized my ministerial gifts and ordained me into the Christian ministry. This happened on the 23rd of February. Afterward, I had the opportunity to celebrate only one church meeting as an “ordained minister” before the lockdown. It was very strange to start my pastoral ministry in the midst of a pandemic! We also had to change our plans regarding the formal church constitution and my official induction into the ministry in my local church because of the lockdown. A visitation from a dear friend, Pastor David White from Preston, UK, that was planned for this occasion, also had to be postponed.
The fellowship of Milazzo has been gathering since the beginning of 2012 and has met many obstacles on its way to its formal constitution as an autonomous church. This last interruption has saddened us, but we are viewing it as a wise invitation from our loving God and Father to meditate on this very important step and we bow reverently before this dispensation.
With the doors of the church building closed, I had to continue my ministry online. As you might imagine, my laptop has become my new pulpit. Every Sunday evening I preach live on Facebook, and in the morning we watch the service that is broadcasted from the mother church in Caltanissetta. This is only one way in which we are attempting to continue our ministry, to uplift the souls of the saints, and to lead them during this sad and depressing time. Also, every evening I share a brief recorded meditation, and in addition, I continued my “pastoral visitations” to all the families of the fellowship through a video chat.
One of the themes which have been most prominent in my preaching during this pandemic is the sovereignty of God, I present this sublime truth as an antidote to the fear that might grip many believers and to counter the conspiracies theories that in such a little time have spread as fast as the virus. Sadly many people, even believers have fallen under the fascinations of these theories. I urge them to not waste their time with these things and I encourage them to devote themselves to the study and meditation of the Scripture, prayer, and self-examination. This was the only way to gain some spiritual blessing from this lockdown.
Recently, I preached on II Samuel 24 where King David offering costly sacrifices of repentance, gratitude, and adoration after a pestilence. I urged the believers to examine the measure of their love for God and to renew their consecration to Him. Please pray for a revival among us. May the Lord bless the preaching and make it effective. Pray that wisdom, love, and courage may be given to me to lead this people and that a door may be open to share the Gospel.
With Christian love,