Yet again another 6 months have passed along with much to tell. The Spirit of God is moving in our city and in the hearts of individuals. Ministry is continuing to flourish, the gospel continues to go out, and our church continues to grow in spiritual maturity. Thank you for your constant prayers, support, and encouragement. You are all a vital part of the work of God in this place and I cannot express my gratitude for your willingness to allow the Lord to use you in this capacity.
My last update, written in January 2023, covered events from March - June 2022. Below is a video update given at Calvary Chapel Reno Sparks on February 5th, 2023 highlighting the events from June 2022 - January 2023. You will hear about our first week-long VBS, baptisms, the Franklin Graham Festival in Milan, English Conversation Nights, our Christmas concert, and other stories of the gospel going forth.
MISSION TEAMS FROM THE USA
Three separate teams from the USA have come to Feltre to serve in the past 11 months. The first was a small team of 6 from CALVARY CHAPEL FORT LAUDERDALE that came in August 2022. They hosted a couples' dinner for the surrounding churches in our area and an English Conversation Night. They served continuously and with joy. They weeded our courtyard, cleaned our rafters, washed our windows, mounted all of our baseboards, put up shelves, and cared for our church in such a practical way, all during the hottest month of the year (90° - 100° weather with 90%+ humidity every day).
Andrea and Elizabeth, pictured in the bottom left corner, led the team. They have been such an active part of ministry here in Feltre, especially in this past year. They are servants in every sense of the word and we are so grateful for their partnership in the gospel. I love them dearly and have been so encouraged by their example and heart to serve and pour out their lives for Christ. I'm beyond blessed by their friendship.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" Philippians 1:3-5
In April 2023 Andrea and Elizabeth returned with two pastors from CC Chattanooga, Adam and Marco, to do a financial stewardship conference for our church. They talked about budgeting, debt, tithing, etc. and how to honor the Lord in their spending and saving. It was a very informative and beneficial conference for our people. They also hosted a men's fellowship night for the guys in our congregation, which seemed to be the start of our men's ministry. We've had two others since then and plan to make it a more regular occurrence.
The second mission team, consisting of 12 people from CALVARY CHAPEL RENO SPARKS, came in early June 2023. Along with about 20 people from CC Feltre, we ran our second week-long VBS and hosted another English Conversation Night for the community. We had about 35 people attend our English conversation night and 41 kids register for VBS, 25 of which do not attend an evangelical church. By the end of the week, 14 kids chose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior!!! It was one of the most spiritually-filled weeks we've seen, both with spiritual attacks and moments where the Holy Spirit fell in a powerful way. The Spirit's presence was tangible. Kids were in tears after Bible studies. Five of the kids sought out prayer from our children's ministry director one day. Parents were prayed over. And three of the families have attended church since VBS. God is moving!
Below is the video recapping our week of VBS, which we played for our parents during our parent and family night.
During CCRS' time in Feltre, we also did a women's event in which two ladies from CCRS shared their testimonies. They were real, vulnerable, honest, and so encouraging. Our women asked a lot of questions and we had a wonderful discussion on identity, bitterness, forgiveness, and freedom.
The third and final team of the past 11 months came out at the end of June 2023 from CALVARY CHAPEL CHATTANOOGA TENNESSEE, a group of 11 people. They spent the majority of their time recovering our chairs. They labored tirelessly for 4 days disassembling, recovering, spray painting and reassembling chairs. Back in December we purchased an additional 50 chairs to make room for all those who had registered for our Christmas concert (over 160 people were in attendance). However, that left us with a mix of green, blue, and black chairs, not the most aesthetically pleasing sight to see. But now we have a sea of speckled grey chairs and we couldn't be more grateful for their service!
In addition to recovering our chairs, we also had another English Conversation Night for the community and hosted a special women's event in which one of the ladies from the team shared her testimony of overcoming grief after recently losing her husband, who served as a pastor for over 40 years. It was a powerful evening that was followed by a Q&A time filled with many tears and laughter. Her testimony came at an appropriate time because PASTOR CRAIG QUAM the pastor of CC Montebelluna and the founder and pastor of CC Feltre for the first 14 years of the church's existence, went home to be with the Lord on June 9th, 2023 after a 10-year battle with cancer. He and his wife, Silvana, were the pioneers of the Calvary Chapel movement in Italy. He was a faithful man of God who preached the gospel in season and out of season, pastored Calvary Montebelluna and Calvary Feltre simultaneously for years, and served as the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College in Montebelluna.
I had the privilege of attending his memorial service and it was so encouraging to hear the many testimonies of those who have been impacted by his life and ministry. He will be greatly missed but his legacy for the Lord lives on.
Below is a picture from the service. Simply click on the photo to access an article written by Calvary Chapel Magazine as a tribute to Craig's life and service.
ROMA (Rome) MISSION TRIP
In April our church brought a team of 15 people down to Rome to minister to two of our sister churches, Calvary Chapel Roma and Calvary Chapel Acilia. We did a worship and prayer night, did children's ministry for both Sunday services, Andrea and Landon taught the messages, our worship team led worship and we did a separate men's and women's fellowship event with worship and a study. It was such a sweet, encouraging trip. We went down to minister and encourage our brothers and sisters, but left probably more encouraged by our time together than they were. Unity in the body of Christ is a beautiful thing! This mission trip was our second as a church and we are looking forward to where the Lord will bring us next year.
EMPHASIS ON PRAYER AND WORSHIP
Starting back in March we decided to change our mid-week study on Thursday nights to be just a time of worship and prayer. We spend about an hour and a half each Thursday worshipping and praying as a group for whatever the Lord lays on our hearts. This past year has been full of ministry, outreach, evangelism, and new faces coming into church each Sunday. We really felt like we needed time to seek the Spirit together, rest upon Him, allow Him time to speak and move, and learn to follow His leading and direction. He is moving in a powerful way and we want to make sure that we are on board with what He is doing and not just plowing ahead in busyness or activity. These times have already brought so much fruit. There is a greater spiritual depth to our congregation, more sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, a deeper unity within our body, and a greater fervor to be used by the Lord and to minister boldly and confidently to others in the power of God.
WOMEN'S BIBLE STUDY
This past year we taught the women IBS (inductive Bible study) by going through the book of Hosea. It was an intense, academic, yet rich time in the Word. The women learned so much and did an amazing job critically reading, interpreting, and applying scripture. We saw so much growth in each of the women and we all experienced such sweet moments or conviction and encouragement as we learned about priorities and seeking first the kingdom of God. We are looking forward to what the Lord has for us this upcoming year.
WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING PERSONALLY?
Like in previous years, I continue to teach once or twice a semester at the Bible College in Montebelluna. I love each opportunity to meet the students, pour into them spiritually, and be mutually encouraged in the Word. This past semester we studied through Psalm 23 and I did a study on "I Shall Not Want."
Back in September I started teaching English to two boys, ages 8 and 10, from our church. It was only a couple of hours a week, but I was so blessed to spend more time with them and get to know them more. I also started meeting with a 15-year old boy once a week to practice English. He speaks very well, so our meetings are designed just for conversation to get him more fluent and comfortable with speaking. His dad, in turn, teaches me Italian. He is a local Italian teacher and has been so helpful with my grammar and language skills.
This past year, thanks to COVID regulations being lifted back in May 2022, was a year of visiting churches around Italy. I was able to visit for the first time the Calvary Chapels in Ferrara, Torino, Padova, and Rome. It was such a blessing to meet the people and serve and worship side by side. God is doing wonderful things all throughout Italy and it is so encouraging to witness.
The top 2 photos were from our trip to Milan and CC Torino. The first photo is a group of young adults from CC Torino. The second photo shows our group of 10 that went to the Franklin Graham Crusade (Noi Festival) in Milan, where we had the privilege of sitting down with Skip and Lenya Heitzig and meeting Franklin Graham. The next 4 photos were taken at a women's tea in Ferrara, where I had the joy of playing the box for the tea and for worship the following Sunday. The last 2 photos were taken during our mission trip in Rome, at CC Acilia and at CC Roma.
The photo above was taken at the end of our annual Calvary Chapel Italy conference. This year we had Pastor Frank Ramseur from Calvary Chapel Chattanooga as our guest speaker. It was a wonderful few days filled with great teachings, fellowship, prayer, and worship. I had the joy of teaching one of the sessions for children's ministry and had a blast with those kiddos!
After the Calvary Chapel conference, a group of us travelled to San Gimignano where we had theprivilege of serving alongside a new church plant. Christian's (who played the bass with us during our Christmas concert) brother-in-law planted a church back in October, so we went to visit them and encouraged their new body of believers. We led worship for the service, I shared a brief testimony, and Igor brought the message. It was such a sweet blessing to see what the Lord is doing in that church. In the second photo, from left to right, Yodit, Igor, Arthur, Christian, Sharon, and Ivan (Christian's brother-in-law and pastor of the church).
OUTREACHES and FUTURE MINISTRY
This past year has been one of evangelism and outreach. We've done 7 English Conversation Nights, started an after school tutoring center for local high school kids, began street evangelism, participated in nursing home outreaches, Christmas concerts, held our first memorial, and hosted two VBS outreaches. We plan to continue doing street evangelism and English Conversation Nights for our community, hosting on average one a month. We want to make our Christmas concert and VBS annual events. I'd like to advertise and grow our after school program this upcoming school year and look into the possibility of making our nursing home outreaches a more regular event. Please be praying for these events, for salvation of souls, and for God's leading and direction.
WHAT'S ON MY CALENDAR?
Women's Bible Study (twice a month)
Missionary Meeting (twice a month)
Teaching English to two boys ages 8 and 10
English lesson with a local high school kid
Private Italian lesson
Church Prayer (twice a month)
My Sabbath day of rest
Women's Discipleship Class (one to two times a semester)
Zoom prayer meeting (once a month)
English Conversations Nights (about once a month)
Youth Group (1st, 3rd and 5th Saturdays of the month)
Zoom Sending Team meeting (4th Saturday of the month)
Evangelism Outreaches (once a month)
Pray for God to provide the perfect car in the next month. I'd like one with 7 seats to use for ministry purposes, especially for youth group.
God provided our church with a van a few months ago, which fulfilled my need for a bigger vehicle for ministry purposes! God truly did exceedingly abundantly above what I had asked or imagined.
New missionary couple moving to Feltre:
Paul and Rebekah, a young couple recently married a year ago, will be moving to Feltre at the end of February to join our team. Pray for God's favor in regards to their visas, for financial provision, for housing and the ability to learn Italian quickly. Pray for God's leading, direction, and wisdom in ministry and unity for us missionaries.
After a 5 month delay, Paul and Rebekah finally were approved to move to Italy and arrived July 17th! They are still in search for an apartment, but the Lord has been faithful every step of the way and we know He will continue to provide in His perfect timing.
Summer Mission Teams:
We will have a few churches coming to Italy this Spring and Summer to serve. Pray for wisdom in planning events, pray for salvation of souls, and pray for each team that the Lord constructs. Pray for unity and for lives to be changed.
God showed up in a big way for both of our teams! We had multiple people come in off of the streets asking questions about the Lord, the Bible, and salvation. We had at least 5 different hour-long conversations with people during the month of June and opportunities to share the gospel and pray with people. God is calling people to Himself! We are definitely in a season of sowing seeds and we believe that the Lord will bring the harvest.
I will be teaching multiple times in Italian in the upcoming months. Pray that the Lord would speak through me clearly and supernaturally override all language limitations I still possess. Pray for motivation to continue to study Italian.
This past year I taught on average once a week in Italian: twice a month for women's bible study and twice a month for youth group. I also had the opportunity to translate on multiple occasions. I still have so much to learn and have by no means arrived, but God continues to equip me when needed (thank you for praying!). I also had the opportunity to start private lessons once a week with a local high school Italian teacher, which has definitely helped me grammatically.
Evangelism and Outreach:
Pray for our outreaches, events, and ministries. Pray for salvation of souls and for God's leading in all that we do from English conversation nights, to nursing home outreaches, to street evangelism, to our concerts.
Paul and Rebekah:
Pray for them to find an apartment, to learn the language quickly, to get established in a new culture, and to find their place in ministry. We are so grateful to have them and so blessed by their hearts of service and joy!
We are in a transition period where our boys are all 18 and 19 years old. We are seeking the Lord for this next season, so please pray for wisdom in how to minister to our youth and young adults.
Pray for our youth: for their walks, that they would have a hunger and thirst for the Lord. Pray for unity and friendshp. Pray for boldness to invite their friends to youth group. Pray for spiritual awakening and revivial in our kids as individuals and as a group. Pray for Diletta and Vincenzo as they grow as leaders and pray for us as a leadership team. Pray for me as I plan, prepare, and teach.
Women's Bible Study:
Pray for wisdom for Rachel for this upcoming year as she plans and prepares for what the Lord would have us do to minister to the women of our church.
Pray that the Lord would grow this ministry, bring other workers, and bring salvation to many as a result
Revival in Italy:
God is moving in this country and in our city. Pray for revival and an explosion of the gospel. Pray for a harvest and that the Lord would send and raise up laborers.
I have seen the Lord answer prayer like never before in this past year. He is a big God who does exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I know that His Spirit leads and guides you all as you pray, so pray as He leads. I can't wait to see what He has in store for this year!
Until the whole world hears!