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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UPDATE FOR DECEMBER

Book in publisher's hands. After many weeks of proofreading, the latest book, Between The Rock and a Hard Place, is now in the printer's hands. Because this cooperative effort can bring unity in one more area of the Lord's vineyard, we covet your prayers for its publication and distribution early this Spring among the various conventions where we'll be displaying our books.

We embraced our great-grandchildren in Germany. Our grandson Mike (Carrie's son) is in the army and stationed in southwest Germany, with his wife and two boys. We were able to visit these dear ones and help them become acquainted with the Landstuhl Christian Church near Ramstein Air Base. On the Lord's Day, we enjoyed fellowship with dear friends of this church too.

How do you encourage lonely missionaries? One way is to make it possible for them to attend the Mid-Winter Rally in Germany. This year's meeting of Christian workers from many countries, surprisingly, turned out to be an Ozark Christian College reunion. Many of the 78 attendees were Ozark alumni laboring in Europe and Jordan. Located again in the Colditz castle near Leipzig, the conference enriched us with Worship and Morning Prayer. Willard Black lectured on practical subjects especially helpful to this group of leaders. Rick Cherok taught on the tremendously significant contribution Martin Luther made for us both as the great Reformer and man. His home and church at Wittenberg were just an hour's journey from our rally site. Randy Smelser led a revealing panel on the "Schizo Missionary ? Neither Here nor There" i.e. neither totally native to his field and no longer integrated in his former home culture. Brian Rotert led people's thinking on Romans 12. Cindy Roehrkasse led the women's workshop on "Inner Beauty" while Jason Casey helped the men face the problems of "Outward Ugliness". Special guests were Harvey and Nancy Bacus from Jordan where they are endeavoring to set up a Christian Library. These splendid workshops helped us see and deal better with our discouragements and problems in God's timing and with His power.

Another way to encourage is for them to see the great works of God in their own time! Here's one story?

God's Hair Dryer. Before going to the rally, we knew we would be facing bad winter weather even before leaving Italy. To cross Switzerland, we must pass through the Milan area where chaos reigned as the public transportation and highway systems broke down leaving thousands of people stranded in their cars and trucks in and around Milan.

In Italy we have a hot, dry wind that comes from the south-southwest, called the Foehn. This is the origin of the Italian word for "hairdryer (fono)".

So we asked our church people and family to pray that God would use His "hairdryer" to clear up the ice and snow on our route. And He did it! He sent in His Foehn or hot wind. Incredibly, this hot wind began to blow, and it blew hard for several days bringing even unseasonably mild Spring-like weather to Rome and our area: no snow or ice, just sunshine.

The day before Christmas Eve, we loaded the car, prayed and left. Would you believe that we encountered clear, almost-dry highways all the way to the Swiss border? Would you believe that as we crossed Switzerland our most moisture was only light rain mixed with some almost visible snow? We faced practically no bad weather during our entire trip! Could it be that God really did turn on His "hairdryer" to help not only us, but also all who traveled with us? (See Acts 27:24) Would you believe that no sooner had we arrived back home in Italy, than the bad weather struck again both in Italy and in Germany? But by this time, other brethren who attended the conference were safe at home too. Thank the Lord!

Earthquake today close to us. The epicenter is roughly 40 miles away and 13 miles deep. We felt the shake but it was quiet, compared to the loud blast heard over on the coast. Thank the Lord for His protection!

Love from both of us,

Harold and Enid Fowler

UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER

Should we come to the States? We normally try to visit our family and support group at least every three years. Life events sometimes change this. The present economic crisis in America is one of those moments, so we would appreciate your input on this question: should we spend the extra money for long-distance traveling to report our progress here, or should we use that time and energy back here in Italy?
We plan to make a flying trip to the States for our family anyway, but a couple of weeks would cost considerably less than a full three to four-month criss-crossing the country. We also have good reasons to be in Italy this summer.
We hear from you, our support group, that churches and individual Christians across the country are facing radical shortage and comfort-threatening changes. So we wish to be especially sensitive in this time.
Would you mind dropping us a line to give us your thoughts, please? If you have already done so, pray with us that we'll make wise decisions.
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson's little 94-page modern parable is about facing change in life and still finding life's deepest satisfactions. We found the Italian version right here in Matelica and shared it with one of our people who is going through incredibly difficult financial crises. Without being religious, the book's principles reflect God's reality and control our world, hence also the power of living in harmony with God's creation. After all, it was His idea! To begin to see how the great God of the universe is in control helped our brother enormously. If you are going through deep life crises, or know someone who is and whom you might help, you might like to check out the book (G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York) 1998. If pushing a "secular" book scandalizes, then consider it a parable. Remember: we serve the best parable teller in the universe, so we should not be surprised if someone comes up with one more parable that captures the essence of dealing with change in our work and in our life.
Thanksgiving with Americans at Ancona. No, Italy does not observe Thanksgiving; it is a strictly American tradition, so we drove down to the coast to celebrate with our fellow Americans who, as Christians, are launching a church in Ancona.
Proof-reading book. November has been proof-reading month for Harold. Working in harmony with the original author of the book and the publisher, he has been busy checking for periods printed upside down, straightening out inverted commas, trying to catch errors before others do, etc! We are praying that this study will have a double impact: encourage people to work together on both "sides of the keyboard", as we are, and encourage unbelievers to accept the challenge to take Jesus seriously as Savior and Lord.
Thanks for your prayers: Enid recovered from the flu that kept her down at little more than two weeks. She is back at work.
Thanks for your love!
Harold and Enid