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Thursday, December 02, 2004

UPDATE DECEMBER 2004

What do the Fowlers do in Italy? How would you answer? Permit us to restate our mission strategy and describe our basic work.

Mission Strategy: "Teach the Teachers." Rather than try to preach and teach in only one place, Harold works at teaching in many places contemporaneously. Making Bible study textbooks available to evangelists and Bible teachers does this. This strategy looks toward reaching the next generation of Christian leaders by reaching their minds as they teach the people within their sphere of influence, whatever their present denominational leanings may be.

Mission Description. Since 1964 Harold and Enid Fowler have served Italian Churches by preaching and teaching in various churches. They live currently in Matelica, in central Italy, writing Bible study textbooks, tracts and articles for publication among the churches. We have 85 titles ready and are in the process of advertising them on our website (www.hefowler.com) to market them more widely. He has published books on Christian Unity, 3 sermon books, general Bible study manuals and commentaries on Acts, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, Revelation. He is currently writing commentary on 1 Corinthians. These books provide leaders with Bible study materials to strengthen their teaching in the local churches. These books are in use among Churches of Christ (a cappella) and Christian Churches in various parts of Italy.

A mission church? The expression "mission church" depicts a congregation that, to survive, must rely on funds from abroad. This has happened far too many times, but the Matelica church is beginning to turn this around, at least for themselves. The Fowlers receive no support from this congregation; all of our support comes from American churches. However, we are encouraging our people to give to specific mission projects both inside and outside of Italy. Some have considered buying a goat or two for poor brethren in Korea. This month, our church here at Matelica is buying a cow ($300) for folks in India, and sending a year's support ($7 a month) for Sudanese refugees in Egypt. In the past, we bought a cow for folks in Albania ($1,000). Anonymously, one of our women is sending roughly a $100 monthly out of her pension, to support children in a mission school in Guatemala. One of our men here at Matelica wanted to send money for a digging a water well in Ghana, and a $1,000 went to that goal. This kind of giving has begun to transform our people from a low vision of themselves, of the world and of the Church, to become believers who are beginning to see the world as God sees it, and do something concrete about it.

A new teacher? Just last week Enid taught the ladies group how and why they should really make an effort to teach small children, even though sometimes it doesn't look like they are paying attention to the teacher. Several days later, one of the ladies said she had been reading and practicing telling the story of Jonah so she could teach on Sunday. She said she was going to teach her grandson so that his mother wouldn?t have to. She went into the classroom, and we didn't hear any noise from the classroom during Bible school. Afterwards, we asked her how the lesson went. It had gone well; the child never once screamed for mamma or wanted to run out of the room! She seems to be convinced that she could teach someone, even though she has never gone to school herself! Enid was thrilled that at last someone was practicing what they had heard taught. Not often do we see results for our teaching so quickly. Praise the Lord for her.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer for us!
Harold and Enid