Posts tagged new life church
Ostia Update 3

Greetings from the other side of the world!

Tomorrow morning we board a plane to return to PDX. Consequently, this is our final blog post update before our more detailed team report, details of which will be included in an upcoming bulletin and newsletter. 

Last Sunday was perhaps the most joyous of our days here in Ostia. Three members of the church were baptized at a celebration shared with two other churches in neighboring communities. It was a party! We rejoice that disciples are making disciples all over the world!

As part of his testimony at his baptism Ricardo sang a song that helped him find Jesus. 

As part of his testimony at his baptism Ricardo sang a song that helped him find Jesus. 

This last week, summer finally visited Rome. There were two primary effects: 1. sweat and 2. a canceled outdoor concert. In previous posts, we have mentioned the largest university in Rome, La Sapienza, where Agape has a significant presence. Our final hurrah of the trip was going to be a concert in the piazza near campus, helping Agape connect with new students on campus. But due to the nature of our instruments, the extreme heat, the absence of shade, and a metro strike to boot, we had no choice but to cancel the event. Even in the disappointment (we were hopeful that 5 students from Ostia might connect with the Agape staff) we were reminded that God is bigger and can do exceedingly more that we could ask for or imagine. Please continue to pray for these students, the expanding influence of Agape, and the ongoing relationship between Agape and the church in Ostia.

Among other events this week,

  • Josh and Maren visited the Vatican while Taylor and Andie (who had both already been) found some thrift stores and took some pictures with Dan and Alice. 
  • Taylor and Josh took Dan, Michele, and Andrea (the three church leaders) to lunch to encourage them in their efforts, and lead them through some missional training, like we have been focusing on during the SENT campaign.
  • Dan arranged for a farewell gelato party with nearly 20 members of the church.
  • We ate dinner with five more families in the church.
Dan and Alice send their greetings and love to you.

Dan and Alice send their greetings and love to you.

We are sad to leave, but happy to return to you all. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. The church here greets you and is thankful for you.

See you Sunday,

Taylor, Andie, Josh, and Maren

Ostia Update 2
Church retreat at Isola. 5/30-6/2.

Church retreat at Isola. 5/30-6/2.

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.

Leading worship at the church retreat in Isola. 

Leading worship at the church retreat in Isola. 

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. 

Maren giving Patrizio a brief viola lesson while at Isola.

Maren giving Patrizio a brief viola lesson while at Isola.

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