My wife Emanuela (center) has been greatly involved in discipling not only the women of our local church, but also those around the nation. She teaches in our local church to a group of women of mixed ages and backgrounds on a monthly basis. They study a book of the Bible every year, and this September, they will begin to work on the Letter to the Hebrews. Emanuela regularly disciples some younger women as they meet, read, pray, and converse on biblical femininity and womanhood. She also teaches children and teens as part of the team of Sunday school teachers.
On the national side of things, Emanuela has been teaching women through Zoom who are willing to deepen their knowledge on how to read the Bible. This initiative developed during the pandemic and had excellent feedback, so she replicates it every autumn until spring.
She was also invited as a speaker at a women’s conference, where she taught the book of Proverbs. Emanuela enjoys opening up the Bible with women, friends, and children: sharing the Good News not only for salvation but also for progress in a life of holiness and love for our Savior.
We are facing post-Covid consequences in the church. It has been very difficult to plan any sort of organized reaching out as we usually did during summer. Italians have generally not been as friendly as usual; our warm customs have changed a lot. Some, and especially the elderly, are still very scared, and invitations to come over for a coffee or a meal are now far away from our culture.
If you start a conversation, people quickly jump to the vaccine issue, government, politics, or economy. One can hardly have a good and meaningful conversation on spiritual matters! It looks like people just want to eliminate the fear of death that has been on the news for more than two years. My fellow pastors can attest: we have not had anyone come to church to Christ-like usual for quite some time now.
In short, evangelization has not been the open door we thought it would be.
Growth and Fellowship:
Looking back, we’ve seen how much the Lord has given to us at Sola Grazia Church in terms of unity, fellowship and growth.
As a church body, we have always kept the church open for meetings and services, though even today, many Italian churches want to remain closed: losing a lot in terms of fellowship and members.
The decision to keep the building open has given us a taste of fellowship with one another. New believers have joined the church: looking for biblical, meaningful Gospel for their souls. Thank God, we haven’t lost a single member, and none have died of Covid in our congregation.
We have a complex and sad situation on our hands. We have church planting work, and several people are the only saved person in their families. That makes it hard for the new believer to rejoice in their family or to attend each church meeting during the week. This is a big prayer subject for the church body.
We have also recently counted that no less than 11 believers in the church come from a divorced background. Some of them come from other churches around us, and have experienced really painful things with so-called “unregenerate Christians.” We are spending a lot of time with them in spiritual support, and we’ve helped financially too.
I thank God for the two new elders, Massimo and Marcello, working with great passion and love for the members. They enjoy serving the Lord in their new role, and the members follow them with love and joy. What a privilege seeing new leaders rise in the congregation!
It is possible that in 2023 we will start a new time of testing for two more leaders as well.
Training New Preachers in the Church:
Since January, I have taught four men (Massimo, Marcello, David, and Adevaldo) how to preach from text to sermon.
I have joy in doing my best in teaching the difficult task of preaching biblically, passionately, and expositionally. I think their love for teaching comes from having heard Andrea at church on Sundays, and they have been exposed to some good books that Coram Deo has published.
Pray for them as they learn and pray: that some of them may be called to be pastors and preachers somewhere in the future.
Coram Deo News:
The publishing ministry is doing great, and next year will be Coram Deo’s 30th anniversary. God has given us many new titles to translate.
It is pretty easy to translate and publish (you only need a computer, time, and a lot of funds). The genuine hurdle has been in distribution: getting books in people’s hands and telling them why it is essential to read them. It is so crucial for publishers to give their titles away for free to people who want to study. They may not have money, and they want to make a difference in their local churches or circles.
Giving books away for free has never been an issue for us. God has given us a lot more than we need through mysterious means. We feel so privileged to be used by God for so many years in this area.
- Pray for Sola Grazia’s growth in love and grace.
- Pray for the new church members so that they would taste God’s love among us.
- Pray that the church could reach lost people in this difficult time.
- Pray for our discipleship efforts among the church members.
- Pray for the training of new leaders.
- Pray that my wife and I will stay in good health.