Avanti Insieme

Philippians 3:16

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Yesterday we had the joy of celebrating the official service to honor the pastors Giuseppe and Sophia Ronchi and their 40 years of ministry in the Modugno church and to pray over our new pastor, Mirko Ronchi.

The service was full of people whose lives have been touched by this extraordinary couple over the last 40 years of their faithful service. It was a joyful evening and a blessing to be a part of a team who participated in the transition process. Giuseppe Ronchi is an example of humility and sacrifice, choosing to let go of his role as head pastor without any sense of rights or need to retain control, seeing instead the potential of the next generation in continuing to bring the church forward to the next level. We know that God will be faithful to His promises and that He will honor Pastor Giuseppe Ronchi’s desire to glorify His name above his own.

For those who would like to “participate” with us virtually, you can see a video of the service on the church’s youtube channel:¬†www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3IJWQ4wKkU

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Gianluca and I, together with the family for the first time, attended the Open Doors conference this month in Italy. Open Doors is an organization that works on behalf of the persecuted church around the world. Gianluca is a board member of this beautiful organization which gives a voice to our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer for their faith in Jesus.

It was a busy busy weekend but a humbling experience to meet giants of faith who express this same faith with great simplicity and humility. People who live in nations where they do not know if they will make it to the next day because they might be killed or imprisoned simply for believing in Jesus.

They do not complain, they express faith and gratitude…and simply ask that we pray for them for strength and for faith.

To learn more about this wonderful ministry visit the Open Door website.

Short term trip

The term short term trip is always a bit funny to me. It is short in length of time spent in another nation, but I think that the impact it has on our lives is never short term! God does big things through these trips. Here is what one of the young people who was a member of the team this spring had to say:

“To see with my own eyes a reality where you are not a Christian merely because you are born one made me think about how a real encounter with Jesus should disrupt our lives. To see up close, live and help, even for just a few days believers in another nation has been an honor and I certainly will not exclude the possibility of leaving everything to serve among a people like them. Statistics say that only 3 in a 100 workers serve among these people groups. Will I change this trend?”