Italy trip report
With the New Ground team, we have seen momentum grow in our Italian involvement over the last year or so. This past weekend was an opportunity to catch up in a very low key way with some new and old friends, hopefully to bring genuine encouragement for those who are serving God in challenging circumstances in Italy.
Travelling with David and Julie Straughton from Kings Church Harrow, Caz and I had the privilege of spending time with friends in Milan on Friday. So often people assume these trips are glamorous. They rarely are, nor are they about the preaching opportunities, but much more significantly about relationship, food, trust, encouragement and ongoing support. The time around the dinner table is usually more significant in the longer term than even time spent teaching a church! This was such a trip.
David and Rachel, our friends near Milan are called by God to be there, love his Italian church deeply, and are living in the midst of God’s not yet fully seen purpose for them. They have been remarkably faithful, and in my view fruitful, but it is a thrill to come alongside them to discern next steps together.
We spent Saturday in the beautiful town of Cuneo, a couple of hours west of Milan, with our dear friends Antonio and Valeria. They have recently moved 1000 km north from Potenza because of the need for work. It was so good to see them flourishing as they settle as a family into their new home and to hear of Antonio’s teaching opportunities in local schools. Again, we will continue to support and encourage them as the beginnings of a church plant emerge into 2015. We also continue to pray for the small group of believers that remain in the chaotic southern city of Potenza.
You can watch Antonio and Valeria’s greeting to the church here:
Late on Saturday evening, we arrived with family in the city of Turin. It was wonderful to meet with a small group in an apartment block, full of new believers, all hungry to grow. How exciting to be able to teach them simply on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then to pray together until late into the night as God moved amongst us! Phil and Rachel Woolley have been very fruitful in this simple, authentic expression of kingdom life and New Testament church.
Sunday morning was spent in more of those conversations which help to shape the next steps, and inform our own understanding.
So we reflect on a hugely helpful weekend, hopefully for the believers in the north of Italy, but also for our New Ground learning curve. Please continue to pray for these pockets of faithful christians, and for genuine New Testament church planting in key cities. Please pray for David in Harrow as he leads our New Ground Italian team, and for us in Crawley as we grow into our call to be a diverse church, equipped to impact the local community and beyond. Grazie!
Steve and Caz Alliston
If you want to read more about God’s heart for cities, click here: www.stevefallingwithstyle.blogspot.com