Scroll down to see past updates or use the archive links on the bottom left.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Update for September 2005

PRAYERS ANSWERED. We asked you to pray with us, as we went before the Italian Questura to request a permanent residency permit so we could remain in Italy indefinitely. It seems that the Questura will grant it. We say, “It seems” because their last word was “You’ll know in a couple of months.” TWO MONTHS? This appears to be an excessive wait, but, given the influx of foreigners into Italy, we may well believe that the immigration authorities are swamped with requests for permission to stay and work in Italy. In the past, we have waited as long as six months for even a two-year permission to be granted. So, as Italians say, “this is normal administration” or, as we would say, “It’s par for the course.”
Thank you for praying with us and for us as we made our request. We actually enjoyed our visit to the police, thanks to the kindness, and friendly, patient spirit of the three policewomen who handled our case. The receipts for our applications has this very simple, penciled-in but hopeful note: “Sojourn document”, which means a permanent permission to take up residence. (It differs from “Permission document,” which is temporary, 2 years at the most now.)
Someone may object, “After being in Italy on temporary permits for 41 years, it’s about time you received permanent permission to stay!” But even short-term permits is evidence of God’s goodness and power. They seem precarious, leaving the Christian worker vulnerable, with no assurance of being able to complete worthy, long-term projects. But we serve a powerful God who has been able to use short-term permissions, which, set end to end, make for a long-term mission. And even if we lose this, He has still used us for these 41 years; nothing can take that away! So we praise Him anyway.
PRAY FOR OUR SON, Stuart, who is going to Iraq today to serve with the Air Force there. We handed him over to the Lord, as we have our other children, and we don’t plan to take him out of the Lord’s hands now, by worrying uselessly about his safety. At the same time, this Master Sergeant is still our boy for every long day of his service there. Would you pray also for his wife, Dawn, and his children, Robert and Kristin; because like any military family, the wife and children have a tough life while the husband and father are away for long periods of time.
FLORENCE CONVENTION. Harding University (Florence, Italy, branch) succeeded in  achieving a well-planned 5-day convention. We enjoyed the renewing old friendships (even from 1965!) and making new ones. Enid printed and sold $100-worth of Bible study books, and took orders for others. The loving spirit prevailing there among the over 100 attending, promises great potential for the future of unity in some of the Italian churches, despite grumbling sectarians who do Satan’s divisive work with pleasure. Meeting the brothers and sisters at Florence confirmed once again our long-standing conviction that “the Lord does excellent work!”