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Sunday, May 02, 2004

UPDATE MAY 2004

Tex-Mex dinner in Italy? We pray for and encourage the Team Expansion families that are planting a church in Ancona, just an hour from us, on the Adriatic seacoast. With a healthy contingent from Matelica, including some of our visitors, we drove to Ancona for a shared worship service. The Ancona believers surprised us with an authentic Tex-Mex meal: enchiladas, sauce, nachos and dips ? the works.
Now, we even share church members with them: one of our young families actually lives closer to Ancona than Matelica, and plans to begin work and worship with the Ancona church. We encourage this collaboration, because the Americans desire and need "real-live Italian Christians" to attenuate the "foreign" flavor of the Americans. Join us in prayer blessing this new venture.

Spiritual feast in Palestrina. The week after Easter, we attended the annual Churches of Christ rally in central Italy. 120 of our brothers and sisters came and blessed us with the finest spiritual encouragement we have experienced in our 24 years of attending this gathering. They even asked Harold to present a meditation! This is news because, even though they consider us to be "on the wrong side of the keyboard," they consider us on the right side of the Lord and His people. They encouraged us to display our publications for distribution along with those of other authors.

New book. Harold presented a new volume encouraging people to read the Old Testament to deepen and enrich their knowledge of God. Even though we rightly prioritize the finality of God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ, we can avoid a certain shallowness that has never experienced the God of the patriarchs, of Moses and the prophets. This study challenges the reader to read the New Testament with more understanding, by awakening to the deeper meanings of its allusions to Old Testament concepts and the walk with God, that our godly ancestors in the faith made. Alex Haley enriched his life by looking for his origins, and found himself inspired to write his book, Roots. So too, for the Gentile Christian, our Old Testament is a spiritual, genealogical goldmine!

Spirits at rest. At Matelica, Harold just finished teaching a six-week study of the spirit-world. Because of the ignorance and superstition that has left people victim to manipulation by charlatans, the local Christians welcomed this information. He emphasized God?s sovereignty and His definitive victory at the Cross, which will become finally evident in His final triumph when we stand before Him on that great Day.

Anniversary trip. "Don?t you ever take a break? You?re going to burn out and not serve the Lord well!" How often we have heard this? So, for our 47th wedding anniversary, we escaped to Bergamo in northern Italy for a lovely four-day visit with dear friends. We returned refreshed and ready to work.