Baptism Service

Mark 16: 16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved”

The same women who attended this weekend’s retreat this last weekend, concluded their weekend in baptism. It was an amazing service and the Lord’s presence was truly felt in a powerful way!

It seemed destined to go wrong…or to be rescheduled. The tubes to fill the baptismal tank were not working and so the tank could not be filled and the water could not be heated! Mirko, who was supposed to give the message that night and still needed to finish up, spent the morning trying to make things work. Shortly before lunch time he arrived at the conclusion that the service would have to be postponed. The tubes he improvised for filling the tank would probably not fill the tank in time. So, Gianluca skipped lunch and headed to church. Gianluca spent the afternoon supervising the whole desperate operation- turning off and on the pump every 15 minutes so it wouldn’t burn out, and hoping that the tank would fill. He too, was involved in the service, he was supposed to do the conclusion. The problem was that even if the tank filled in time, the water would be cold! So the ladies were asked what they wanted to do? They said, “Even if we have to get baptized in freezing water, we want to do it today! We are ready!”

So the tank filled in time, the water was cold and the sermons were more or less ready. Then we got to church and God took over. Throughout the whole service the presence of the Lord was strong. The message was guided by the Lord and was a powerful challenge to make a choice- to choose Christ. The testimonies shared by each of the young women who were baptized were amazing! Truly powerful! One young lady shared how she had a dream at the age of 14 and had heard clearly this phrase “Another 14 more years”. She thought that it meant she had 14 more years before she would die. So she lived her life in a manner worthy of this fear. At a baptism service this last year she attended to see her friend be baptized. She began to weep throughout the service withut realizing why. When she went home that night she dreamed the same dream she had dreamed when she was 14. She knew that she needed to “die to her old life” and begin a new life with Christ. And that this was death she had dreamed about so long ago- she was ready to die to her way of living and choose Christ. The other two testimonies were equally incredible. Then Gianluca concluded the service with a challenge. He encouraged a choice for Christ and it was awesome to see several hands raise to make a decision for the Lord!

God is doing great things. He is moving and the church is growing. We are so blessed to be a part of it.

Growing

Women’s Retreat

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This weekend there was a women’s retreat with a group of about 15 women at the center- il Rifugio.

God is doing great things and moving in the hearts of many young women. In the last year or so God has been reaching Lecce and the towns surrounding it through the church and its believers. It has been amazing to see how the Lord  reaches beyond our expectations, to places and people we never dreamed of having the potential of reaching. We have a small group from Lecce that comes every Sunday (it is a 2 hour drive). These young women attended the retreat this weekend and will conclude their weekend in baptism this Sunday during a baptism service at the Modugno church. Retreats are always a great time for seeking the Lord, for spiritual growth, for learning and growing and for healing. It is great to see how God changes lives.

Please continue to pray for this group of people from Lecce. That God will sustain them and continue to help them to grow in maturity and in numbers. It is not easy to be so far from the church but God is doing an amazing work there!