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Merry Christmas and a Happy 2002!!!
Contents:True love penetrates the body armor
God's Army gains ground
Off the battlefield...
...and into the minefield...
...to build a spiritual hospital
"I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed."---God (Matthew 25:26)
It is said that true love can bend your life in unusual
ways; my life is no exception. Four years ago, in part because Aurelia
was here, I became a faith missionary and prolonged three-year
commitment to Romania. After five years, a ministry planted will
continue to bear fruit. These are just some of the praises we have for
Dozens of children and (according to her testimony) even Aurelia sprouted to new life through seeds that were planted.In the midst of these successes, planting and watering in the third world have worn on me. Unlike George Bailey, I haven't yelled at a child for mistaken renditions of a Christmas carol. But, I can feel the stress of a decade outside my Italian culture. I am not the life of the party I was. Fortunately, God's Spirit has built a consensus among you that I couldn't have--the strong recommendation that I change my focus from projects to relationships in a more supportive environment. You have suggested this as a better use of my gifting and as means to receive some healing myself. In response, I will be more focused on the ministry that has developed in Italy. This work avails me of more opportunties to:- provide Bible training, - develop the Christian Internet in Europe, - use my formal education to reach the lost, - and ultimately (hopefully) build a ministry team to further develop the work in Romania.
A teen I trained, Iustin, will help me with the . Erika will continue working with the AIDS children in Timisoara. I will turn more attention to helping Alfred's by developing the fledgling yet #1 Internet presence.
These words from an old missionary friend working undercover in Italy were not lost on this former Army captain. He made it clear that this new assignment will not be an effortless harvest. It is sad that the most fitting word for the so-called "evangelical" church in Italy and--we both agreed, the Romanian Repenters--is "minefield". God's true Church may be a "maternity ward" of new life or a "hospital" for the war-wounded, but surely not a "minefield"--the most dangerous place on the battlefield. Here, it is a minefield--killing, maiming, and destroying lives. The Repenters are skilled in this art. In Italy and Romania, with only this alternative available to most, there is little motivation to leave the materialistic world or the geriatric ward. My friend affirmed to me that in the same way affiliation with the Repenters hinders ministry in Romania, I must avoid the repenter-like churches of Italy. Thus, this ministry will continue to be among spiritually hungry individuals moved by God's Spirit in southcentral Europe. We continue to rely 100% on your support. If you can help us, please contact me at .
Nevertheless, this holiday is not Good Friday (a time to talk about suffering and death). Like Frank Capra's movie, this letter has a happy ending. In honor of the Nativity, let me tell you of the new life and ministry that I will nurture in Italy. Just as I helped to build an Army hospital in Italy twelve years ago, I now look forward to building a spiritual hospital in this present minefield.
Our message is plain to all men. You do not need an MDiv to know it. Two thousand years ago, the promised Savior was born, who is Christ the Lord. He is our model, our perfect paradigm, our resurrection and life. The Holy Spirit dwells in all those who are reborn by making Jesus lord of their lives. He bestows new life. This is not just head knowledge but a change in the inclination of the heart. For God's new life gives us the desire to replace sin with love, His Word identifies sin, His Spirit shows us how to live, and His Son's co-seating with the Father gives us the authority over Darkness. And all God's Popolo said, "Gloria a Dio per sempre!"
-- $1000 to go to the US for missions training required by my boss and for an Italian visa.That I (and eventually Aurelia) will obtain a visa for Italy.
That we will find a colaborer to continue the work at the tuberculosis hospital.Have a very merry Christmas.