Sunday, July 15, 2012

Goodbyes & A Prayer Request

Tonight I'm writing this post from the wonderful United States of America! I got into Avant Ministries on Thursday night and will be here for debriefing until Monday morning. I'm still seriously jet lagged, but it's great to be back in my own culture and country. My last week in Italy was bittersweet with goodbyes. I tried to cram in as much gelato, shopping, and beach days as possible while recovering from the stomach flu that I had the previous weekend. My body was still pretty weak from the flu, but I made it to Bocadassee (one of my favorite beach spots) with my friends Sarah and Andrea, one last time. 

(Sarah and I at Bocadassee) 
Saying goodbye to Sarah was definitely difficult. Over six short weeks she became a very close friend that I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life. I'm so grateful that God placed her in my life and allowed me to share the good news of Jesus with her. On Sunday Sarah called me and told me that she'd spent the weekend reading the Turkish/ English New Testament that I gave her. She asked me to get out my Bible and she took me to several different verses that she had questions about. Her main question concerning the trinity was, "How can God be one God, and three?" The problem is that she got so hung up on the trinity that she was unwilling to listen to anything else that I had to say. It was hard to see her so frustrated with not understanding, but it was encouraging that she genuinely wanted to know. 

Even though I had almost no answers for her difficult questions, I left the conversation knowing that the Lord is pursuing her heart and that He is in control of the situation. However, I do want to ask for your continued prayers. Sarah told me that after reading the Bible she fell asleep and had nightmares. In her nightmares she heard a voice telling her "Go back to Islam, stop reading the Bible". I told her that I believed the voice was Satan and encouraged her to keep seeking truth. Please, please join me in praying for her protection from our Enemy. Like scripture says, Satan is truly is prowling around like a lion, seeking someone to devour. Please pray for Sarah's spiritual protection. Please pray that the Lord will give her wisdom to grasp the concept of the trinity. Ultimately please pray that she would recognize that Jesus is God and that she would put her trust in Him for her salvation. There are so many stumbling blocks for Muslims, but Jesus is after Sarah's heart and I have no doubt that over time He will win it. 

One thing that I learned in Italy is that in ministry we are truly engaged in a spiritual battle. If you're not on God's team, then your on Satan's team. There's no middle ground. It's a constant battle between good and evil, but people don't want to acknowledge any battle they can't visually see. Satan's greatest tactic is to get people thinking that he doesn't exist. As a Christian you've got to be on your guard and praying for protection for those you are witnessing to. Unfortunately in Italy there are many people who do believe in Satan and choose to worship him instead of God, but thats a whole other story for another time. 

Anyways, back to the goodbyes. After 6 weeks of living in the Paces' apartment and sharing one bathroom with all 6 of them, lets just say that we got pretty close. That family is wonderful. I'm going to miss chatting with Donna and Abby and Elizabeth. I'll miss precious Phoebe's constant questions and smiles. I could go on and on, but I'll stop before I get teary eyed again. They really are great and it was a blessing to live with a family that loves Jesus and each other so deeply. 
"Team Italy One" 
The entire team was absolutely phenomenal. If you're a Christian and you're not supporting an international missionary, please find a missionary that you can financially and prayerfully support. These men and women have sacrificed so much for the advancement of the Gospel. They've picked up their lives and moved across the world to an unknown place where they don't speak the language. The parents wonder if they are ruining their children's lives by not giving them the opportunities they'd have in America. They pour out their hearts, time, and energy to love people who rarely love them back. They're completely un-appreciated by the nationals. Most of the time they are completely ignored. Their compassion is rarely reciprocated, although it is definitely noticed. There are seasons of fruitfulness and seasons where there are no visible results but they stick it out anyways. It was an honor to get to know such wonderful men and women. I'm so grateful for their service to Christ. I just want to say thank you to every missionary for being faithful to the calling that God has put on your lives to reach the lost.  

So, I've spent the last couple days at Avant processing my six week internship experience. I definitely have a lot more to say, but I'll save that for another post. Please pray for Sarah and please get in touch with me if you want to hear more about Italy! I can't wait to be home and see all of my friends and family!