It has been a blessing this weekend to host visitors at the center. We have been able to host a series of meetings with the i6:8 candidates, and with the i6:8 leadership team on Saturday and with the pastoral team on Sunday. It has been such a blessing to see how God has created these connections and to watch them grow. We have great expectations for what we can do to serve these fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and for what they can do to bless and further the ministry of i6:8 as well. God is creating and international, global team who can more efficientely reach the world for His kingdom!
Here I am, I think for the second time ever to write on our blog. Wow!
We had a blessed time in Greece. We were in Sparti (Sparta) and it was an honor to fight the good fight where so many bad fights have been fought. We had an intense six days of fellowship with Greek, Romanian, English, American, South Africans and other brothers from around the world. Together every morning we fellowshiped in the word and then there was crazyness as everyone started loading bibles in the cars, some others started studying maps, some added oil to the car, some picked up lunches and water and in a matter of minutes everyone was gone from the camp site. 140 of us total, reaching around 800 villages with 60.000 Greek new Testaments by the end of the week. It was a shockwave of blessing I believe for the whole country.
Us Italians had a great time serving the Lord and our Greek bronthers. We had many great encounters and opportunities to share the gospel and God’s love. One incident was very interesting- we just got finished with one village and we were heading back to the car. An orthodox priest was waiting there by the car, I said to myself ‘oh, oh trouble’. For those of you who do not know the Orthodox church is very opposed to evangelicals and proselitism. The priest asked me what we were doing (at least that is what i think, it was all greek to me as well) and I answered in italian ‘Non capisco sono italiano’! (translation: I do not understand I am Italian) To make a very cool long story short, the Priest who at first seemed very grumpy and upset that we stormed his village with the N.T. ended up buying us a drink at the local snack-bar. The conversation was limited but what we were able to point out was that we have no patriarcs, no pope our head is Jesus Christ. Amen!
The Italian team was deeply touched by the need for Crist in Greece and I was deeply blessd by seeing God at work in their hearts and challanging the six of them with the call and need for missions!
Thank you all for your prayers God is at work all over and it is just a blast to be part of it.
The Mission i6:8 retreat experience has become legendary at this point…
This weekend was no different. We had a great group of 15 young people join us at il Rifugio, Ruvo this weekend for a weekend of preparation for the upcoming mission trips to Greece (Jul 20-Jul 29) and to Moldavia (Aug 4- 17). It was a special retreat for me because I had the opportunity to help out this year thanks to my parents who were able to stay the weekend with the kids and keep them for us while we were away at the retreat.
It was a lot and fun, filled with a lot challenges, and learning time too. God was really challenging the teams this year on team work, unity, and self sufficiency. There were a lot of encouragements to live as the body of Christ, and to work together as such.
This year we have one leader from a church in Andria, one leader and 9 team members from the church in Modugno, one team member from Milan, and another from Turin! We are excited to see the work that God began in the hearts of thos who attended the retreat this weekend and confident that he will bring that work to completion (Phil 1:6) through the upcoming trips and His will for each person who will be joining us.
Saturday the team moved off the farm today and into the missionary’s house. Sunday the team was able to attend a church service again and then they headed into Tallin, the capital of Estonia, for a tour day and to stay the night. Monday the LONG trip home began….only to arrive tuesday morning on a train from Rome, very, very tired!
Friday we were able to host the team here at our house for an informal debriefing and pizza. This week there is a youth camp at the center, but the following week we will begin the official debriefing sessions. It was nice to begin to get a glimpse of how God worked and is working in the hearts of the young people who attended. God is good!
The team has moved out to the farm where they are working. Yesterday they worked really hard all day to build their own bed frames to sleep on! They were able to get them done and the girls were able to clean up the house so that now they have a clean place to live. Gianluca was hopeful that the cleanliness and noise has scared the rats away! =)
Please continue to pray for the team. Last week they spent a lot of time with the local youth and this week they will have more time together as a team. Please pray that God will bless their interaction and that they can have important moments of learning and prayer together as a team. Pray for the team to live peacefully in the conditions they are in. There are no showers, bathrooms and at least until yesterday they had seen rats in the house. Pray that they will be able to accomplish a lot in order to bless their missionary contact and his ministry in Estonia.
The work is moving along- each day they spend a full day working hard at the farm. The team is keeping busy working at the farm every day and have had several opportunities to interact with the Estonian youth in the evenings. They have enjoyed serving and blessing the local missionary contact through the work they are doing. They have been blessed in this first week to stay in a church there. Next week they will be living at the farm where they are working- together with the rats! =)
“And on the seventh day HE rested” =)
Saturday the team had an opportunity together with the missionary and some other believers to have a break. They spent the day at the lake. It was a much needed moment of refreshment. Sunday they attended a church service there at one of the local churches. It was a great experience, even though everything was in Estonian.
God is blessing the team with strength and positive attitudes and through this they are a witness to those whom they are serving. Please continue to pray for the team, especially as they head out to the farm to live.
The missionary contact in Estonia owns a farm (in a forest) that he wants to restore in order to use it as a center for his ministry. So the Mission i6:8 team is hard at work every day at this farm. Yesterday evening they went to a youth church service. They were able to meet the young people of the place and worship together with them. Tonight, after another long day of work, they will be heading into town to play a scavenger hunt with the local youth. Each i6:8 member is partnered with an Estonian youth to conquer this new adventure.
Please continue to pray for the work they are doing there, for protection, for team unity, for health, and for hearts & lives to be changed. There is also a small group here that is meeting in church every evening to pray for the team and the trip.
The Mission i6:8 team left for Estonia Monday morning from Bari. There were 10 members already present and two others were joining them in Rome. They arrived late last night (around 11pm) to their destination in Estonia.
This morning Gianluca was able to find a wifi connection, in the middle of the forest, to give me an update. The trip went smoothly, they connected with the missionary last night, are already at work this morning and everyone is doing well.
Mission i6:8 will be hosting its preparation and training retreat this weekend for the upcoming trip to Estonia this August! We are excited to see how God begins to unite the team that will be serving in Estonia and how he begins even now to prepare their hearts and to teach them, stretch them and bless them in amazing ways!
The retreat will be held at the conference cetner il Rifugio in Ruvo.