These past months have been a bit more discouraging than normal. One of our daughters threw up during the invitation at our first service for our church anniversary. Our other daughter got whooping cough a few days before we were supposed to go to a missionary retreat. Health bills put some stress on finances. In soul winning, it seems that people have been less receptive and, in fact, more aggressive in return. We could pretend that nothing bad ever happens in the service of the Lord, but that might give the wrong impression to those considering serving God with their lives, as well as it could create harmful and unrealistic expectations. I don’t say these things to complain but to praise the Lord for His help in times of need and discouragement.
The Lord knew ahead of time what was going to happen—nothing catches God by surprise. With the struggles of the year, we have also had an abundance of visitors (not local visitors to our church but visitors to us). We average about 1 visitor a year from outside of Italy. By the end of June, we will have had 8 different times guests were visiting us for a total of 15 individuals.
All of these guests have been so encouraging and helpful to us. Some were pastors who support us and have a special love for the work we are doing here. They both actively participated in ministering to our church and in getting the Gospel out. Others were experienced missionaries. Both groups shared their stories with us of decades in the ministry and how God has provided for them during trying times. They also preached at our church and distributed John and Romans with us. Another pair were young prospective missionaries, who were surveying Italy as a possible future field of service. They have provided us with joy in knowing that God is still sending more soldiers to join the spiritual battle. The other visitors have benefited us with their fellowship, love, and participation in ministry work.
Lest this sounds too selfish, these people have filled us up so that we might give that love out. When church members don’t see our vision, we are able to be patient and allow them to grow in grace. When denied and rejected by atheists, we are able to smile and tell them of God’s love and our love for them. When visitors don’t come back to church, we are able to have courage that more will come and stay. God has been greatly ministering to us during this period of difficulty. Thank you to those who have visited us, those who pray for us, and those who support us financially—your effort is not in vain.
Missionaries to the people of Italy,
Christopher, Amy, William, AnnMarie, and Charlotte Yetzer