Friday, June 22, 2012

Grand'e il Nostro Dio!

Incontra Con Gesu or Jesus Encounter is the name for the Italian house churches that Team Italy One is starting throughout the city of Genova. I wrote about the my experience with the Romanian house church in my blog last week, if you missed it you can read it here. This week I want to share a little more about how I am seeing my new friends Sarah and Andrea encounter Jesus...


This past weekend, me, Emily (one of the missionaries), and Sarah went to Monaco for the day. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and one of the wealthiest as well. It's nestled on the shores of the French Riveria and the landscape is absolutely beautiful. God used our day trip for a fun time of fellowship with Sarah that opened up conversations about the gospel and who Jesus is. On the train ride to Monaco, Emily and I were reading our Bibles and Sarah wanted to read some as well, so I showed her what I had been reading in Romans 1. She asked me about Paul and why he wrote so many letters to the churches so I had the opportunity to share Paul's testimony with her. We turned to Acts 24 and I explained to her how Paul used to be called Saul and how Jesus changed his heart and he became a new person. 

Sarah, Emily, and I in Monaco


Then on the way home from Monaco, Sarah was sharing with us about her family. She said she's not very close to her father and mother because they disaprove of the way she lives her life. They want her to marry a good Muslim man and get a respectable job, but instead she is still unmarried and works as a tour guide. That conversation led into a discussion about what Muslims believe about sin, and how a Muslim can do good works to counter their sinfulness. We asked Sarah how she knows she will go to Heaven when she dies and she said she doesn't know. She can only try to do her best at being a "good person" and hope that Allah will have mercy on her. The conversation gave me a lot of insight into what Sarah really believes. I can tell that she doesn't truly believe in Islam, but it's all she knows, and right now she's indifferent to it. She jokes about going to hell as if its not a big deal, but then she says she will try to be good so she can go to heaven. The problem with Islam is that it doesn't deal with the reality of sin. People can never be "good enough" in the eyes of a Holy, perfect God. Please pray that Sarah will see her sinfulness and her need for salvation. Please pray that she will see how she can never be good enough. 

 I am so grateful that the Lord has given me so many opportunities to have conversations with Sarah about the gospel. I know that He is doing work in her heart. On Wednesday she came to the Jesus Encounter again and stayed for dinner. It was really exciting because Andrea came with her as well! Andrea is the other woman in my class, she's 28 and from Brazil. She was raised Catholic but dislikes the Catholic church. At one point she was thinking about converting to Islam in order to marry a Lebanese man that she was in love with. I haven't been able to talk to her much about deeper topics, because her English isn't very good and I obviously don't speak Portuguese, but please pray for more opportunities for me to talk to her about Jesus. 

Andrea and I at Camogli 

One of my favorite moments this week was praising the Lord in Italiano at the Jesus Encounter. We sang the song "How Great is Our God" or "Grand'e il Nostro Dio" in Italian. It's really cool to be able to worship Jesus in another language (even when I'm completely butchering the pronunciation haha). I'm going to be attending two other house churches this weekend and I'm looking forward to meeting those people! I appreciate your prayers for Sarah and Andrea so much! Grazie! 

Check out "How Great is Our God" in Italiano!