In the last couple of prayer letters, we mentioned some of the American culture that has come into Milano. The one store obviously was going to attempt to reproduce and, within just a couple months, has already opened at least three other stores. The other smaller store was more of a shock to find that they, too, had multiplied and opened another store—a desirable product mixed with good advertising. I believe that at least Starbucks didn’t come to Italy with the plan of starting just one store. I believe they planned, prepared, and intended on duplicating as much as possible.
Even though I might have only tried a Starbucks drink once (if there were any others, they weren’t anything worth remembering), I do believe that I can say without any doubt that we are offering a far superior product to theirs. Nothing can compare to the blessings of being in the family of God. Roasted coffee beans mixed with flavoring at an exorbitant price cannot come close to the value of what we get as a free gift. It is not in every case that the commodity is to blame for the lack of interest; in some cases, the advertising has failed.
A missionary once preached at our church in Milano. He took his hands and used one as a symbol of sin and the other as Christ. As he clasped his hands together, he said, “We never want to attach sin to the name of Christ!” Jesus said it this way, Bro. God’s name, and what people think of Him the second you mention it, is of absolute importance and should be one of the motivating factors which causes us to seek to live faithfully to the end. In Milano it seems, as well as I think in all of Italy, that for hundreds of years, God’s name has been attached to false teaching, politics, and manipulation. Recently while out soul winning, we walked up to a couple of young men sitting on a bench. I immediately informed them of who I was and why I was interrupting their conversation. They seemed a bit shocked and said that they had just been talking curiously, and somewhat skeptically, about prayer and God. I wanted to jump up and down, and inside I did. What a divine appointment! We pray for God to lead us to these types of people. But after spending some patient time with them explaining the Gospel, they coldly denied the gift of eternal life.
We desire to see multiplication of souls and churches in Italy. As I write this letter, we are preparing to help another missionary just south of Milano. I will be going down and spending some long days together with a couple churches from America, giving out John and Romans and helping to boost their young church. This will be followed by a meeting from Baptist Church Planting Ministry. Please pray for the effectiveness and long-term impact of both of these projects. Also pray for our family, as it seems that at least one person in our home has been sick for a majority of this year.
Missionaries to the people of Italy,
Christopher, Amy, William, AnnMarie, and Charlotte Yetzer