Update 22nd January 2013
We are glad to share some news about what God is doing and thankful for your prayers and support.
We had a very good time over the Christmas week. We visited both Leonardo's and Valeria's family and spent a couple of days with each of them. It was a blessed time of fellowship and catching up.
Filippo and Akille are now back in school in their normal rhythm of life. Valeria keeps on enjoying her nursing job. Over the Christmas holiday we went out for a pizza with one of the patients (Francesca) who is showing some interest in the Gospel. She is a very skeptical and pessimistic lady (with some reason given her poor health situation) but is attracted by what Valeria says about the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Leonardo gave a paper at the Affinity Theological Conference (the former British Evangelical Council) in Hoddesdon (UK) on "The Use of the Bible in Ethics" (15-17 Jan). It was good to meet so many UK pastors and have useful times of conversation and prayer, and also being confronted with the challenges for theological reflection and practical action in a context that is different from the Italian one.
As a response to the series of exposition on the prophet Haggai, we launched the "Evangelizza Roma" program (i.e. Evangelizing Rome) for 2013. It is a series of monthly meetings which will be training sessions on how to be more courageous and effective in personal evangelism. The program will involve opportunities to practice our evangelism and occasions to review and pray for our friends. The program will be opened to other churches and some of them have shown interest in taking part. The first meeting was a prayer session for the city of Rome and coincided with the beginning of the Annual Prayer Week of the Evangelical Alliance. There is some expectation about the program and we pray that God will use it to stretch us and stir us.
We have now begun a new series of expositions on the First Letter of Peter entitled "Christians outside of the box". In Rome the word "Christian" is often used and misused (everyone thinks he is a Christian here!) but is a pretty empty word. It is filled with non-gospel attachments that distort its meaning. We will look at how this Letter portrays the followers of Jesus. At the first exposition there were two non-believing friends. We are glad to see Gianluca and Sam growing in their preaching skills. Over the Christmas period they both had an opportunity to preach a Sunday sermon and they both did it very well.
On 12th January the church was involved in a Study Day of Christians for the Nation, a nation-wide movement that encourages Christian participation in society and politics. Last year, after a series or preparatory meetings, a national conference was held in Parliament (15th June) and more that 250 people from all over Italy attended. The Study Day was meant to be a follow-up training event. There seems to be a new attitude amongst Italian Evangelicals about their responsibility in society at large. One of the pressing problems, however, is the need to develop a "Christian mind" on social involvement, in order not to run the risk of working on weak Biblical foundations. Leonardo chaired the Study Day which was attended by 60 people and that included two excellent main papers which focused on Biblical principles of Christian involvement in society. In his own presentation Leonardo stressed the need to develop three inter-connected themes: a Biblical understanding of our Christian calling in the world; a sense of unity and cooperation amongst Evangelical Christians; a development of more scholarly attitudes for those who will then have a front-line role. This coming February we are going to have the general elections and we feel a specific responsibility to pray for the welfare of the nation.
The first day of the Evangelical Alliance's week of prayer, Leonardo visited a Pentecostal church in Rome and preached there. We are also seeing some promising signs of cooperation in the work with refugees at Il Soggiorno. Some six churches are involved in providing prayer support and volunteers.
Thank you for praying for us!
Family time over Christmas
Evangelizing Rome's invitation card
Evangelizing Rome's invitation card
Christians for the Nation's Study Day
Leonardo, Valeria, Filippo and Akille De Chirico Via Ergisto Bezzi, 34 Family time over Christmas I – 00153 Roma