My wife and I were both born and raised in Ohio. I was reared in a faithful Catholic family. A confused Catholic youth worker gave the story of Jesus’ grace to me when I was fourteen. That experience gave me a false salvation testimony that I used when I started going to a Baptist church in tenth grade with a friend. That Baptist church was the first place I heard truth clearly preached from the King James Bible. The realization that the preaching was true because of God’s Word thrilled me. I moved to Columbus and searched for a church close to where I was staying. There I discovered what standards are and began changing mine. A bus route took over my usual Saturday activities, and I found myself lingering around the church wanting to converse and be with the people of God. Upon deciding I wanted to go to Hyles-Anderson College, I received an application in the mail. The application asked me for my testimony of salvation. Conviction gripped me because I knew I was not saved. The next Sunday, on August 3, 2003, I repented of my sin and asked Jesus for His gift of eternal life.
Not only did I meet my Saviour in Columbus, but I also met my beautiful wife. She was reared in a Christian family. She and her family have always attended Baptist churches. At the age of ten, she raised her hand to be saved at a revival meeting that her church was having in August of 1993. She walked down the aisle and prayed with a lady friend in the church. Many years passed, and she became very convicted about her salvation and questioned whether or not she was saved. Then on April 4, 1999, after the Lord’s Supper, she got the reassurance of her salvation and was baptized.
We have one son and one daughter. William Allen was born on December 9, 2007, and Ann Marie was born in Italy on September 7, 2011.
Things have slowed down a bit for us. Although it is not necessarily what we prefer, it is the situation that we are all living in. Attendance at our church has been lower than in the last several years, but we continue to press on for the Lord and invite more people. We had a few visitors come, but they did not accept Christ and have not continued to attend.
Normally, the younger generation in Italy seems to be the most Atheistic group, but recently we have come across several older men while out soul winning who were Atheists as well. Fabrizio had been homeless for about a month when we gave him a tract. His family had kicked him out of the house, and he only communicates with his daughter. He said that he would come to church the following day where we could talk about salvation. Unlike most people, Fabrizio actually came to church as he said would. After the service, we opened the Bible and patiently explained salvation to him. He acknowledged that Jesus existed but could only see Him as a good, wise man and a sort of prophet. He denied any Scripture that said otherwise, claiming that the Bible had most likely been manipulated and changed over time. No matter what evidence we gave him, he was not willing to consider anything else. He had already made up his mind. We are continuing to be kind and to love Fabrizio, as well as find him a place where he can sleep out of the coming cold.
Just a few weeks later, another elderly Italian gentleman, who appreciates Jesus’ love and kindness, was completely unwilling to accept that Jesus was anything else than a good man and believed that He had not actually risen from the dead. The number of people who willingly and gleefully reject Christ is heartbreaking. Another man was on a brief break from work when we approached him and presented him with the Gospel. After listening attentively, he, too, rejected the Good News, but then he asked if we would like to see what he did for work. He took a large instrument, walked over to a tree in the park, held the tool up to the tree, and then drilled a small hole deep into the tree. He recorded the trees density, measured the circumference of the trunk, took pictures of it, and inserted all the information into an app on his tablet. He is responsible for the care of about one-fifth of the trees in our town and must analyze every one of them at least once a year. He showed us how he could tell what was going on inside the tree based on fungus on the outside, the Ys and splits in the branches, and the density that the drill registered. The man had spent years studying plants and appreciating the creation of this amazing world, and yet he couldn’t see past it to the amazing One Who created it all.
Not everyone rejects the Gospel though. Isaac, a young man staying in a refugee camp in Bergamo, listened carefully to the Gospel and immediately called on the Lord to save him. Unfortunately, he lives a bit of a distance from us, but we are trying to connect him with a church in Bergamo.
Thank you for all your prayers for our family. I passed the written portion of the driving exam, and within the next few months, I should be taking the driving portion of the exam. All of our documents for citizenship are translated and will soon be heading for their certification at the consulate in the U.S. before we will need to present them to the city hall here in Italy. Please pray that these last steps will go smoothly. Also, our kids’ schoolbooks arrived almost two months after being shipped. We are thankful for their arrival, but the kids probably not quite as much. Thank you so much for loving our family and communicating your love to us.
Missionaries to the people of Italy,
Christopher, Amy, William, AnnMarie, and Charlotte Yetzer