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Monday, March 01, 2004

UPDATE MARCH 2004

Heather Hall with the Fowlers. Randy and Katy Smelser, missionaries in Germany, shared their intern with us. Heather came from Lincoln Christian College to spend a year in Europe, to explore the possibilities for work on the Continent. Having completed her first six months in Germany, Heather was free to come to Italy. Besides helping us, she visited the Ancona Team. She completed two vital projects for us: first she printed and bound copies of the hymn and chorus book for the Matelica congregation. Also our church is grateful for her contribution by completing the hymnbook. Then she facilitated Enid's work enormously by beginning the accompaniment book. Now Enid will be able to complete her work much faster. Thanks, Heather, for your valuable assistance!

Heavy Bible study preparations. In January, our men began planning for their preaching and teaching for this trimester, selecting to speak on the general epistles (James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John and Jude). Each brother chose one of the books. Harold provided them with summaries and outlines of the books, to facilitate their work. The men have limited formal education, so the work was arduous, especially because these Bible books themselves demand some serious thinking and praying the Bible students' prayer, "Lord, what did you mean by that?" Harold's assignment concerns the letters of John: what a gold-mine!
Counseling. One of our young couples came for serious counseling about how to break out of a perfectionist life-style and spiritual condition. Both needed information about how to connect their Scriptural understanding with what they are learning about themselves in counseling. They were concerned about being adversely judged for asking these questions, and were glad to know that we did not judge them for having problems (!) How we thank the Lord that we had faced similar issues ourselves!

Pray for our men. We are just beginning, after many years, to touch some concerns that have blocked the spiritual growth of our men. These are long-standing issues, that rarely surface in their true form, and they defy solution. Nevertheless, the Lord is greater than everyone's hearts, and we ask you to join with us in praying for their resolution with deeply spiritual methods and results. Without divulging any private information, we are free to say that these problems are deeply embedded in Italian society, and require radical surgery by the Holy Spirit. Pray that they may reflect the glory of Christ!