Blessed Be His Name

1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore, let those also who suffer accodring to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

We bless the Lord for everything He is doing in our lives. For every trials he allows us to endure, for everything he takes away in order to stregthen our faith. For every miracle, blessing and joy we have in our daily lives. Blessed be the name of the Lord. We pray that you remember to bless the Lord, and those who are suffering for his name. There is a persecuted church in this world (www.opendoors.com) who is suffering and dying for His name. And yet they, as we too have done, have chosen to bless the name of the Lord.

*On a personal note: Gianluca finished up his office this last week and we recieved the keys to our new house this weekend. We will begin work in the house next week and hope to move in as soon as possible. The workers here are continuing to work through great difficulties, but we continue to be hopeful that God’s will will prevail. Blessed be His name.

Premarital Couples Retreat

Sunday we were finally able to hold the one-day retreat for the couples who have participated in our premarital counseling course. We held the retreat at our house at the center in Ruvo all day Sunday. The retreat was the closing to a 12 week course that the couples had just finished last Wednesday the 21st.

2_302_gcfrdyczml.jpgThe retreat went very well, better than our best expectations. We felt the Lord’s presence and he brought healing into the lives of people who had need of it. It was the first time we do this retreat so it was a good experience for us too. We were able to evaluate what was successful and what we will need to change. We were also able to evaluate what would be the most beneficial for the married couples ministry that we are trying to create and begin by next September at the latest. We would like to hold a reatreat for them as well.

2_303_62kcm3aosh.jpgWe are excited about how God is directing us in the development of the couples/family ministry. We need your prayers for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance as we undertake this task. We would like to develop a program that will make a difference in the lives of the families in the church, so that they can be a testimony to those outside the church who do not know the Lord. In doing research on this ministry we have found that very, very few churches have a couples ministry. It is more typical to have (at least in larger churches): premarital, men’s, women’s, and counseling ministres. Yet, we believe firmly that there is a need for direct ministry to couples/families and not just indirect through men’s and women’s ministries. So, in many ways we are “starting from scratch” and need the Lord’s wisdom as we seek to develop a ministry that is effective and that produces change in those we minister to.

Gianluca has been working hard on finishing up his office because beginning next week we should be able to begin work in our new house (painting, putting in the kitchen, building a separating wall in one of the rooms, etc). We are excited about this and hopeful that we will be able to finish up everything quickly and enter the house by the end of the month. We are looking forward to finally settling down again- we have been living between 2 houses for so long now, with boxes everywhere! We are prayerful that it will be a positive change and that God will provide for the finances that we need so much right now.

Aurora is one year old!

2_304_fbo3idmkzj.jpgThis last week we celebrated the first birthday of our daughter, Aurora (March 18). Saturday we had a special day with Gianluca’s family and our friends- a big princess party complete with a castle cake (made by mommy)! Sunday we were able to celebrate together as a family which was also special. We are so thankful for our Rory. She is a true miracle and a gift to our family. She is so filled with joy and sunshine and has brightened our lives since her arrival one year ago.

The rest of the week we had our regular schedule. Gianluca is still working on his office, we are still packing the house, Gianluca had meetings during the week and his men’s meeting tuesday evening. Wednesday we had our premarital class which we will be finishing up next week. We are also working on creating the couples/family ministry for the church and on preparing a video/DVD that presents our ministry here in Italy (and the rest of the world through Mission i6:8). We are also trying to figure out how to get our Italian drivers liscenses- we had been using the international type initially, but will now need to get the official Italian one.

2_305_ss3qmrmxas.jpgBirthday’s are good occasions to celebrate the people in our lives. We are thankful for our family- for our two very precious children and also for our spiritual family- those who sustain us with their love, prayers and support. Happy Birthday Rory, we love you!

March 5- 11, 2007

Gianluca and Carli spent the majority of the week preparing for the one-day retreat for the couples who are attending the premarital course- including a day of prayer and fasting. Which, due to an unexpected loss in the family of one of the couples, was postponed the Saturday afternoon before the retreat on Sunday.

We are also spending a lot of time packing up our current house and trying to figure out things for our new house (we have been looking for a kitchen, which unfortunately in Italy, you have to purchase on your own- it is not part of a house). Gianluca is preparing his new office which is located with the other church offices in the basement of his parent’s house. He has had a lot of work to do to prepare it to be an office space, but it will be a really positive thing for him to be able to have his own space and quiet in order to prepare for presentations, classes, sermons, meetings, etc. His office has a separate access from the other offices and so it offers more privacy and quiet. He is really looking forward to using it.

Although we are disappointed that we were unable to do the retreat this weekend, we are well prepared now and are looking forward to doing it later this month. We also have hear that the house should be ready by the end of the month for us to move in! This is a very positive thing and we are hopeful that it will really work out.

Busy in His Service

2_296_ow7rmk8e0g.jpgWhat a way to start the week! After a year and a half, Gianluca and I were able to take a two day vacation with the kids on Monday and Tuesday. We went to a nearby town, Locorotondo. It was a nice chance to just get away from eveything- phones, computers, meetings, classes, finances/budgets, obligations, etc. We just spent time together as a family taking walks, eating, playing at a park, and relaxing. We are thankful that we were able to have these two days, which refreshed us mentally and emotionally (although maybe not physically since the kids didn’t sleep much!).

2_299_awus44546v.jpgWednesday we returned from our “break” and spent the afternoon preparing for that evening’s class. Wednesday evening we had our premarital class. Gianluca was invited Thursday morning to be the speaker at the upcoming GENS youth conference on April 28th. Thursday Gianluca had meetings for the upcoming men’s conference on May 1st and for SHOCKWAVE, an all day youth prayer vigil for the persecuted church hosted by Mission i6:8 in partnership with Open Doors. Friday Gianluca continued to prepare for shockwave as he will be facilitating the activities and preaching that evening. Next week we will be preparing for a retreat on the 11th that we have with the young couples. We are looking forward to seeing how God will work and move and heal and challenge….please pray for this event!

We are sure that Saturday God blessed the persecuted church through the prayers and fasting of his church body. There were 30-50 young people during the day of prayer and around 70-100 for the evening service. God challenged his church body to remember what he told us in his word, “That if one part of the body suffers, that the whole body suffers.” It is important for us to remember the parts of the body of Christ who are persecuted in our prayers. Saturday was dedicated to this. There were moments of prayer all day focused on various themes, and fasting during the lunch hour. In the evening Gianluca gave a very challenging sermon (that challenged me first and foremost!) on suffering. Suffering produces perseverance, and then hope and then perfection. So if we are suffering it means that God is perfecting our faith. If, however, we are not suffering, we may need to ask ourselves why? Maybe our faith isn’t big enough to be challenged. To young people dedicated their lives to God one hundred percent, stating before the rest of their group their desire to have this kind of faith and their willingness to serve God however he calls.

Gianluca read, at the end of the service, a note written by a young lady who is an Mission i6:8 team member. It said, “God, use me to serve you where your missionaries have not gone or reached yet.” This prayer thrills our hearts and is the core passion of Mission i6:8.