Ostia Update 2
Dear New Life Church,
Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement.
Our most recent adventure in Italy took us into a small town called Isola in the mountains east of Rome. There nearly sixty members of the church and their families gathered for a three-day retreat, much like the one we are looking forward to in September! An Italian church planter spent four sessions calling the church to identify themselves as "sent ones," much like the campaign we are in the midst of at New Life.
These sessions prompted many productive conversations amongst church leaders, and also captured the attention of a few non-Christian men who attended the retreat. As a follow-up to the retreat we are leading the study this Friday evening on the art of story-telling (God's story, our story, and listening/identifying our friend's stories.) We hope that this story-telling ability will help make the Gospel accessible here in Ostia.
While with the church in Isola, we helped lead worship, watched the kids during the sessions, and lingered with nearly every family over a meal or two. In fact, eating has been a theme of our trip. Every evening for the rest of our stay is booked with meals with families in the church–let that be a lesson to us Americans with our garage doors and our cable TV to be generous with our homes and our pantries. While we have certainly prayed many blessings over our hosts, we, in turn, have received much grace from them.
Over the next week, please continue to pray for the following things:
1. Continued partnership with Agape (Campus Crusade). We are meeting with four students who live in Ostia and attend the main campus in Rome–we would love to see them connect to Agape on campus.
2. Encouragement and rest for Dan and Alice Simmons and other church leaders. Though we are here helping them, our presence also increases their burden in scheduling our meetings and helping to transport us and our instruments around. Most importantly, pray for their encouragement–there are significant challenges in the near future with the prospect of a building project and finding more church leaders.
3. Pray for favor with the local government regarding the land proposal. Morale would be significantly bolstered and opportunity would be substantially increased with a new building right next to the high school in Ostia. We will likely find out if the land will be granted to them during our stay.
We love you and are eager to be with you.
Taylor, Andie, Josh, and Maren