Missionary Update | Lucio Stanisci
Dear praying friends,
An old hymn written by William Cowper very well expresses what we have witnessed in the last two months regarding our church plant in Rome. The hymn says that “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.” Oh, how this is true! In the month of August, as we were enjoying a few days of vacation in Switzerland (and really did not expect much!), the Lord worked powerfully and mysteriously in order to form a core group of our new church “Vita nella Grazia” (GraceLife Rome), in northern Rome.
After much prayer, several people—including two entire families—communicated to us they wanted to join our church. As you can imagine, we have been extremely encouraged by it! This means that more than 30 people will likely be attending our first church service on Sunday, October 15. Let me share with you a few of these stories.
David and Loredana. As you remember from our previous update, the Lord recently called David to help me in the leadership of the church. It is so very encouraging to have him partner with me after many years of friendship and knowing his experience and like-mindedness. Loredana is a huge blessing for us, and especially for Cristina. They will be a wonderful help to many ladies the Lord is bringing into our lives.
Erkki. One of the most urgent prayer requests in the last year has been for the music ministry in the church. Knowing the importance of the content of what we sing, and the skills needed to perform the music, we needed the Lord to perform one of his mysterious wonders. And the wonder has now a name: Erkki Sillampää. He is a Finnish believer, living in Italy since he was sixteen. Pianist, music writer, graphic designer, and much more! And, last but not least, he is my best friend and was best man at my wedding! After many long conversations, sharing my vision with him, he recently went to talk to his elders convinced by the Lord He had called him to join our ministry. The elders of the Berea church, my former elders, have responded in a very gracious way, recognizing the guidance of the Lord in Erkki’s decision and giving him their hand of blessing upon his decision and our collaboration. Last Sunday the elders made a moving announcement, expressing their joy and anticipation. We are so grateful! Erkki, Davide, and I have had a close friendship for many years and now, by the grace of God, we can glorify Him together!
Ciro, Elise, and their four children. Ciro is an airplane pilot from Naples. Elise is a wonderful Christian lady from New Orleans who sings like a true Gospel singer. Their three daughters are beautiful and have a sincere desire to please the Lord despite their young age. They also have a very active boy who enjoys playing soccer with Davide and Mattia. After a very difficult experience with another church in the last few years, they decided to join our church. They live 45 minutes from Rome and have a deep desire to grow in their relationship to Christ! In their own town they have been very active sharing Christ, and also started weekly evangelistic meetings in their home. David and I are looking forward to shepherding them and helping them reach their community.
Eunice. She is a believer who a few months ago came to one of our meetings on the Gospel of Mark. She shared with us a very difficult trial she has been going through. Her husband, Francesco, an unbeliever, had just been diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor. She was broken. We encouraged her and prayed with her, and then we lost track of her for a few months, despite our many attempts to reach her. Last July she showed up again. She had grown through this trial and showed a sincere desire to glorify Christ through her life. In August I got a message from her saying she wants to be part of our church and that the Lord was softening Francesco’s heart and helping him physically in his trial. She is now praying for our church and is looking forward to having fellowship with us.
Lucia. In July I received a phone call from a woman I had never met before. Someone had given her my phone number. She told me she was going through a very difficult time and said she needed to talk with a pastor. It turned out to be a very difficult situation; she cried throughout our conversation. She claimed to be a believer (but with very little hope in the Gospel), having attended Pentecostal churches. Unfortunately, these churches helped her very little in facing the very serious challenges she is going through and helping apply the Gospel she believed. Since then, Cristina and I have been ministering to her, witnessing a gradual work of the Spirit in her. Today she is working hard at putting things in order, finding a job in Rome, and re-establishing a good relationship with her two grown children. Please pray for her.
Stefano and his family. Very recently I was contacted by Stefano, a married man who told me: “I am a half-warm Christian and I need a sound church! Ciro gave me your phone number. My wife is not a believer, and we have two children. When do you have your meetings?” I was very glad to let him know that in two weeks we are going to have our first service. They live not far from where we hold our meetings.
I could share many other stories of how the Lord guided people and situations. These are just some of these wonders!
Also, recently, we have been doing an outreach to children in the park close to where we meet and we met many parents. We have had many good conversations and have been able to share the Gospel with them and invite them to our church. As you can see, we do not know yet what our future holds, but we are confident that God is working and moving things in a way that it will give glory to Him, even in Rome.
We treasure your prayers on our behalf! We are still working on many details, including the website, to prepare for our first church gathering. It is a joy to realize that October is also the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; what a wonderful way to celebrate it, by starting a new church in Rome. After the first three meetings in October, we will be launching the church on Sunday, November 5. On that occasion, my home church in Rome, the church in Perugia we were part of for three and half years, and other churches of Rome and its surroundings will be part of this celebration! Praise be to God!
We want thank you for your participation in our ministry, for your faithful prayers and financial support. Please be in prayer with us for all that I shared. And, if you happen to be in Rome, join us as we celebrate “the God who moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.”
Lucio & Cristina Stanisci