All posts by carli

Happy “Love” Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, or “Love” Day, as I like to call it. As my husband says, “It is just another over commercialized holiday in order to make more money.” And he is right. Yet for me it is also an opportunity to ask ourselves how we are doing at expressing love to those around us, our brothers in Christ and those who are lost, and to our Savior?

Things are zooming along here. The kids grow too fast and Gianluca and I are nearing our 5 year wedding anniversary (at times it seems we’ve been married much longer, and other times we think, “Wow! 5 Years”…depending on the day!). Rory is putting along walking holding on to everything in her grasp, pushing toys around the room, gripping chairs, legs, tables, etc. She doesn’t like to sit down and does not like to be helped. She is fiesty. EJ is speaking in full sentences now, switching easily between Italian and English. Soon he will be correcting me! Gianluca and I have begun to pack up our house. Prayerfully the house will be ready very soon. We will, however, be moving as soon as we get our stuff packed and if the house is not ready yet we will be staying with Gianluac’s family until it is.

Things in the church are going well. Gianluca is visiting local churches with a team of i6:8 members sharing about their experience in Morocco and the vision of i6:8. They hope to take three more trips this year. One in June to Morocco again, one in August to Albania, and one next December. i6:8 will be begin it’s school again this month and Gianluca will be teaching. We will be sharing the new couples ministry to the church in a week or two. We are prayerful for their response because we know that there is a big need.

Gianluca just hosted two gentlemen from England who work with the ministry Next Level- a ministry that helps with church planting and development. We hope that they will be able to partner with and bless the evangelical church in Italy. It was a crazy several days for him and I think in the end the kids and I saw him twice!

SO back to the infamous introduction to this brief look at our weekly lives…how are we doing at loving? More specifically, how are you loving those around you? I have been amazed in the last few years to see how the enemy is destroying the church from the inside out- divorce, church divisions, scandals, problems with team work, lack of submission to leadership/church authority, church hopping, insaddisfaction with everything the church does or the pastor says, lack of recognition of th divine authority God has given our pastors, etc, etc. There is persecution around the world for those who believe in and follow Christ, but the more amazing thing is that we are auto-destructing. So, how are you doing at loving? How well do you love your fellow brothers and sisters in your church body? Do you show love to the team you work with in your ministry? How well do you love and submit to your pastor as the authority God placed over your church- or do you just hop to another church when you feel unsaddisfied? How are we loving the world around us who is lost and without Christ? When is the last time you, or I, shared the gospel? Yesterday? Last year? Never? DO we love the world through setting a Christ-like example in our marriages? our interaction with other believers? the respect we show our pastor?

I hope this Valentine’s Day you and I can ask ourselves “How am I expressing love to those around me?” And that we can make real changes in our marriages, our ministry teams, our churches, our families, our lives, and in the world today. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

We love you all. And Christ loves you too.

Preparing for the Marriage Adventure

Gianluca and I have officially accepted to lead the couples ministry at our church in Modugno. This will include organizing and planning how to minister to all the different age groups of couples- from dating to elderly couples. Pray for us as we take on this task. We are excited about it. It is a great need in the church here (and the church today in general). Pray for people who will want to partner with us in this as well, so that we can train various couples to eventually take over various sectors of the couples ministry. We are also excited about it because we see how God continues to grow and prepare us for each new step and pahse of our lives. It will be a great opportunity to minister to people in need and to learn more and more how we can help future missionary families and marriages as well through our Mission i6:8 missionary care.

We are enjoying the premarital course which is going very well. It looks as if there are another 4 or 5 couples who will be getting married next year as well (2008). So we will have another group beginning the course later on this year. We will begin a “follow-up” ministery right after we finish this round of premarital courses. We will provide support for the couples who have gone through the course as they begin their first year of marriage. This will be very exciting and important! We are also looking at how to begin the other age groups, such as young families, as well.

The course this week was on communication. Probably the most important issue in marriage! We all need to learn to communicate effectively with our mate! We are always encouraged and blessed in our own marriage through these classes. Pray for this ministry and our involvement in it.

Keeping busy!

2_277_vwdshwqik1.jpgThese last several days since Gianluca’s return have kept us very busy. The Sunday morning after his return we faced two departures- my mother left to return to the USA and Gianluca’s brother, Mirko (the youth pastor of the Modugno church), preached that Sunday in church sharing about his departure for Australia that upcoming Wednesday (I stayed home with Aurora as she was still recovering from a difficult bout of the flu).We spent the week preparing for our premarital class, Gianluca’s i6:8 meeting, and for the Mission i6:8 presentation in church. Monday Gianluca had a meeting with the core leaders of the Italian national youth organization Generazione Scelta to talk about the upcoming year and what it holds. Gianluca was able to share about Mission i6:8 and the upcoming plans (our goal, for example, to take 4 trips this year). Tuesday Gianluca had a men’s meeting in the evening (and Rory was finally getting back to her old self). Wednesday we spent together with Gianluca’s family before Mirko left for Australia that evening at 12. It was both a sad and exciting goodbye. Mirko will be going to study youth ministry at the Hillsong school in Australia for the next year. We are excited for this opportunity for him and for the blessing that it will be to the church. Thursday evening we had our premarital course, which Carli taught this week. Praise the Lord that it is going very well!

2_293_66zmnpoynl.jpgFriday Gianluca had an i6:8 meeting and Sunday the team from Morocco presented at both church services in the Modugno church their experiences on this mission trip (unfortunately I came down with the flu all over again on Friday and Saturday).

We are happy to all slowly be getting back to health and even happier to hear that we should be able to move into the house that we have found in a month (longer than we would prefer, but thankfully not too long!). God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Mission i6:8 Morroco Trip

2_280_s0drhnbpoi.jpgGianluca and Vito took a team of 8 young people into Morroco for 10 days. They left Modugno in 10 and then divided the team into two smaller groups upon their arrival into Morroco. Gianluca took a group of 4 and traveled away from the coast and Vito a group of 5 and headed North. God had a unique plan for one of the young ladies on the team who had brought her expired passport. She headed back to Spain and spent her ten days helping the workers in Spain. But in all things God has a purpose and she was able to be a blessing to the family there, serving them during her stay in Spain.

Gianluca’s group spent their time working at a public school and at a small “building” where the local workers will be hosting classes. They painted and redid the electrical system at the school and in the building. God had a special plan here as well. When forming the team He placed on the heart of Leo, an electrician by profession, to come on this trip. Shortly after receiving the news that Leo would be coming, Gianluca heard from the contact in Spain that they would be needing an electrician in order to redo the electrical system at this school! God fulfills our needs before we even know that we have them!

Vito’s team spent their time helping the local workers in various ways- helping to repair a house damaged by the recent earthquake in Morocco; helping to dig holes to plant olive trees and to gather olives for a local who uses this as his source of income; giving a brief instructional course of web design; as well as just spending time with the local workers trying to encourage and bless them and their work.

Both teams were able to be a part of the community, Gianluca teaching at one service and Vito at the other. They were able to encourage the local community and workers, but they were greatly challenged and encouraged as well. These people had literally lost and given up everything in order to serve God. Some of the team members experienced true culture shock going into this trip…feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances that these people live in. Yet, they were able to learn from this shock and to be a blessing to the people they went to serve. We pray they will allow this experience to open their hearts to the calling that God has on their lives.

Please join us in praying for these young people who have just lived through such a powerful experience. Please also join us in praying for the local workers and community. Pray that God will give them strength for each new day, that they would feel his presence and that he would use them to reach Morocco.

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Start it out with a bang!

This year ended and began with a couple days of time with the family. Christmas eve, Christmas day and New Years eve and Day we spent at Gianluca’s parents house. We laughed a lot and ate too much and played games too. We watched a fireworks display from the roof of Gianluca’s parents’ house that the city of Modugno had put on New Years eve.

The end of one year and beginning of another is always a time to reflect upon the year that you have just finished. It was a challenging year for our family and ministry and we are glad to be branching off onto a new road in our lives and ministry this 2007.

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My mom arrived on the 28th after a very crazy and very long journey- unfortunately without any luggage. The kids, EJ in particular, were thrilled to have grandma here and demanded her full attention! We enjoyed her time here and only the Lord new how much I, Carli, would need it!

Gianluca left on January 3rd for Rome and began an equally crazy journey to Morroco for the Mission i6:8 winter missions trip. The team led the church services at the Modugno church the Sunday (New Year’s eve) before their departure- sharing about their upcoming adventure and what each person hoped to give and gain from this experience. The church comissioned them and prayed for the wives who were holding down the home front too!

After the fireworks of New Years Eve our own little firework, Aurora Zoe, was admited to the hospital for 3 days after a severe allergic reaction to the penicillin she was taking for her bronchitis. Unfortunately upon her return home three days later she and mama came down with the stomach flu. She is still recovering from this 3 week bout of multiple sicknesses and is pretty week from not being able to keep food down.

We said hello to Gianluca and goodbye to my mom within a day of one another- Gianluca arrving the 13th and my mother leaving the 14th. EJ was happy to have his Daddy home, although sad to see Grandma go. It was a tough 2 weeks during Gianluca’s trip and so I, Carli, was happy to have him home again with the family. So we had a bit of a bang and a boom to the beginning of our new year. Trials have begun to surface, but we have faith that 2007 has many blessings in store for our ministry, our family, and those we minister to here in Italy and around the world. [On a side note: please forgive our lack of updates recently. We have once again been without internet for an extended period of time]. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have begun this new year with us in prayer. We know many of you have been praying for Aurora and for Gianluca’s trip too. We feel them…they sustain us.