Sunday December 25, 2011
We held a beautiful church service tonight to celebrate together the true meaning of Christmas. The theme was, “A Christmas like you’ve never seen before!”
The service was a wonderful chance to pause and thank God for sending His son and to reflect upon Christ’s sacrifice and humility in lowering himself to human form and,Â even though He was God, taking on the life that we live each day. There was a brief theatrical performance, a few Christmas songs which were performed as well as a beautiful message.
It was truly a Christmas like we have never seen before here in the Modugno church, and it blessed the church body and those who came to visit. God is so good.
A powerful look at the real story behind Christ’s birth and what it means for us today. As we celebrate this Christmas, let’s take a moment to reflect upon what his coming means for us.
Long, long ago when the time was just right, the stars filled the sky on a quiet still night. The sky was filled with bright shiny light, and something so special happened that night. Mary and Joseph were ending a journey. From Nazareth town they had come in a hurry. To the city of David, Mary and Joseph came, so on the King’s list they could write their names. In Bethlehem town God’s plan would begin to save the world from death, devil and sin.
Joseph and Mary began searching the town for a place to sleep as the sun went down. No room! they heard. There is just no room! But Mary, said Joseph, will have a baby quite soon. Please sir, Joseph begged, for my wife show some pity. I am sorry, he said, there’s no room in the city. Wait! said the innkeeper, there might be a place. In the stable near the animals we’ll give her some space. Then in Bethlehem town, with the animals near, Baby Jesus was born; the Savior was here!
Mary and Joseph looked on with love and great awe. At God in the flesh on a bed made of straw. This baby so tiny, so quiet, so new, would pay for all sin- yours and mine too.
God’s plan for salvation had been joyfully sealed. The shepherds were happy. Before God’s son they kneeled. The bird’s sang so sweetley. The sheep baaed so lowly. And everyone thanked God for this child so holy. (Hoffman)
Merry Christmas to all of our beloved supporters, our family, our friends! We want to take this opportunity once again to praise the Lord for bringing you all into our lives! Thank you for all you do to support us and the ministry here and around the world through i6:8. We wish you a joyous celebration of our Saviorâ€™s birth and a very blessed New Year.
The Ronchi Family (Gianluca, Carli, EJ, Rory and Chloe)
- God is opening the doors to use the center we run as a missions hub. We are so excited to be a part of this and to already have welcomed our first missionary family in 2011!
- God is growing the missions candidates! The missions candidates are growing in number, but more importantly they are growing in their readiness to leave for the field. Gianluca dedicated the summer to getting the perspectives course ready and is now dedicating himself to getting them ready! God is doing amazing things!
- We took out second trip to work with orphans in Moldova this year.
- Gianluca will be leading a large group of young people to a European Missions festival this holiday season- many young people are expressing interest in missions!
- We were able to do 2 rounds of the premarital course this year and a retreat for the couples who work for the Open Doors Missions agency.
- The church is exploding and reaching out to numerous cities all around our region. People are driving as much as 2.5 hours every Sunday just to be in church with us!
God is doing great things and we have the privilege of being a part of it! Please continue to pray for all that God is doing and specifically for the amazing work he is doing at and for the center!
FAMILY NEWS 2011:
- EJ started 2nd grade this year (7), Rory is in Kindergarten (5.5) and Chloe (3) is enjoying her last year at home with Mommy before starting preschool. EJ has had the privilege to play soccer this year through the gifts of a particular family. He LOVES it! He is a very sensitive soul, is generous, and loves to discuss, hang out with the adults and have long conversations, and to play with his Legos. He is doing very well is school. Please pray for his health. He has been sick and taken antibiotics for his ears already 3 times this fall. We will be taking him in for testing on January 17 and it is very important that he is healthy when we do! Rory is our princess. She is a giggler and full of silliness. She loves to make her siblings laugh, even when they should be eating or sleepingâ€¦She is doing very well in school and is above the level of all her peers. She is full of cuddles, tree climbing, bar swinging and any other acrobatic skills. Chloe is our sunshine. She is full of life and is constantly making us all laugh with her antics. She keeps me busy at home, loves to sing and to dance, and to make â€œsugarâ€ (baking with me).
- Gianluca and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this next Spring! Time goes by so fast! We are always very busy keeping up with God!!! He is doing so much, so much faster, and at such greater levels, than we ever could have imagined. Our family keeps us busy too and we are so thankful for them. They bring us joy during the hectic moments of ministry. I have some important tests for my health next week and would ask your prayer for these. God has blessed us and we are so thankful to have each other, to have a great support team at home and for the family that God has created for us here.
Merry Christmas! Thank you for all you do! Please continue to stay in contact with us, to support the ministry here and to keep us in your never ceasing prayers! We pray your holidays are blessed!
Gianluca will be bringing a large group of young people to Germany for a European Missions festival. God is stirring the hearts of young Italians and calling them to the mission field! The event is a week long conference and many man missions agencies will be present. Please pray for the young people who go- that God will call them to the mission field, that He will help them in creating contacts, in opening the doors to help them get on the field and to preparing them to go.
We had our annual miracle offering this Sunday December 13. We were able to raise 11,000 Euro. We have a generous church for which we are thankful. But more than anything we are thankful to be a part of a church body that is so aware of all that God has given them, and so thankful and overflowing with love toward him in awe of His love towards us that they want to give….they give out of love, they give out of gratitude, they give because He first gave for us!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Our little Dora Mermaid turned 3 this month! She is a true joy to our family and we are so thankful to have her! Happy birthday Sunshine.
God has brought us a great little group from Mottola and Crispiano. Two cities around 2 hours away from us. This group has a true and sincere passion for learning who God is and treasuring His love for them. They group is growing in number and maturity and join us every Sunday. A small group from the church goes out once a week for a home group too.
God has opened the doors through this special gorup of people to put on a Christmas event in their hometown this December 22nd. We are excited about what God will do in that area through this event. We have the privilege to host a member of the church who recently wrote a novel and will be presenting her book, a professional Italian soccer player who is a believer and will be giving his testimony and our own worship team will be sharing some Christmas songs and worship music.
Pray that God will move through this event to show those who come His love for them!