Thank you for praying for us. God works according His own pleasure, but He has ordained the means of prayer and He is surely pleased to hear and answer His elect “which cry day and night unto Him (Luke 18:7).
The apostle John wrote that he was a “fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus” (Revelation 1:9). Tribulation, kingdom and perseverance are the three realities we are experiencing here in Caltanissetta and in our four church planting works.
I’m experiencing the blessings of family life and the hardship and cares of every Christian husband and father. I am rejoicing to see my firstborn growing in grace and in usefulness as a young Christian man, who is principled and active in sharing the Gospel with his friends and work mates. But I am also grieved to see my second son (23 yrs old), still in an unregenerate state. However, just recently, he thanked us as parents for the education, instruction and discipline he received in his childhood and as a teenager when he was still living with us. He now lives in Bologna where he is studying Industrial Biotechnology. I am also encouraged by the attitude of my 12 year-old daughter. During our family worship time we have had some deep conversations about the meaning and the chief end of human life. Please pray for my wife (Giovanna) who is facing very sad disappointments with some of her close relatives. Please pray that God may be glorified in us and that his beauty and mercy may be displayed in our family. Especially pray that He will continue to visit us with salvation and with the sanctifying influences of His Spirit.
Our Church in Caltanissetta
The Lord has blessed us with two new deacons. After a time of testing, they were officially recognized before the end of the year. Two weeks ago we also had a very blessed Sunday morning worship service in which we believe that the Lord visited us. After the preaching (about the biblical view of children) an unusual spirit of prayer fell upon the congregation and we had probably twenty people who prayed confessing their sins, pleading with the Lord and interceding for their young and grown children.
In the last few months a seventeen-year-old African youth has been faithfully attending all our meetings and is showing a particular desire to be instructed in the Word of God. He had to flee from his country because of some family troubles and had to cross the desert and the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy. He has expressed the desire to study theology but he isn’t yet baptized. I feel responsible to lead him to a better knowledge of the truth and to a saving knowledge of Christ and of the Gospel of God.
Recently, an already constituted church in the Palermo area asked for instruction and help from our church. It seems that they are interested to implement some reformation in doctrine and practice. I’m visiting them from time to time on Sunday evenings and they receive very attentively the Word preached. We are cultivating a friendship with the pastor and some key members of the church in order to be “helpers of their joy” (II Corinthians 1:24).
On Saturday (December 1), ten students from Palermo, Catania and Caltanissetta attended the classes of our theological training course on the subjects of the Holy Trinity (Leonardo De Chirico), the book of Revelation (Stèphan Simonnin) and practical Theology (Pietro Bolognesi). The next pastoral theology class is scheduled for December 15.
Yesterday, before the evening service at the church plant in Comiso, I had a very interesting and moving meeting with six regular attendees. Two of them applied for membership and four of them asked to be baptized on their profession of their faith in Christ. I asked them to write out their testimonies in order to be evaluated. I already know that these people come from a past life of drugs and alcohol addiction, immorality, broken marriages, and abuse. It was moving to see their faces rejoicing in the Lord and listening very attentively the Word preached. The worship service after the private meeting was attended by about fifty people, some of them children and many unconverted. I preached a sermon on Acts 8:4-24 abut Simon, the false believer. I think that many had their consciences pierced as I was explaining the evil of false assurance and the true signs of saving faith.
Two weeks ago, the officers of the church in Caltanissetta agreed to allow Giuseppe Fortuna and his family to move to Catania in order to continue to work with the group of people involved in the church planting. It isn’t yet clear when the actual move will take place, but hopefully it will happen in early 2019. Giuseppe will continue to work under our church’s oversight in the hope that the process for the constitution of the church in Catania will be hastened by his residing in the area.
Our publishing ministry is continuing to grow in terms of number of books printed and the degree of influence. The last printed books were John McArthur’s commentaries on Matthew (Volume 1 and 2); Kevin De Young, The Biggest Story (a very helpful book for children on the history of redemption); and a booklet “The Word made Flesh” on the person and work of Christ produced by Ligonier Ministries. From time to time we receive encouragements and brief notes from Italian readers who are profiting from the literature. We know that, by the grace of God, we are not beating the air! Some churches (and our will be one of them) will be using these two resources for open air and evangelistic meetings.
Please pray for the progress of the gospel among us: For the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in renewing our minds and hearts; for the salvation of many souls blinded by the lies of Roman Catholicism; for wisdom in dealing with other evangelical churches; for those who applied for baptism; for a powerful impact of the literature ministry.