In our first apartment in Italy, we lived on the ninth floor. Some evenings we could hear the Mediterranean blood boiling in an argument from several floors down. Then our second stay was for just one month in a two-level apartment. Thankfully, it was only for a month. We awoke more than once past midnight to the noise of dishes and conversation in the kitchen just on the other side of the wall. Our third apartment we frequently heard what sounded like high heels walking across the floor above us throughout the nights. Praise the Lord that the apartment we have been in for the last four years is well situated, where we have very little “fellowship” with our neighbors through the adjoining walls. I’m not complaining, but it is just a known fact that the walls in Italy do not absorb sound.
Don’t confuse the paper walls for the idea that you are welcome to come in though. Try “knocking doors” in Italy, and you will soon find out that you are generally not greeted with a smile (at least in apartment complexes in Milano). Number 1: There is an unwritten rule that solicitors, religious nuts, political groups, or anyone unknown to you is not supposed to enter an apartment building and invade your space by knocking on your door. Number 2: “We don’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses; stop knocking on our door!” Number 3: Concrete hearts.
Soul winning in Italy takes a jackhammer. While we have better than that (the double-edged sword), people do not allow the Word to get close to their hearts. It is as if the concrete heart is protected by concrete walls around the mind. A couple quick examples: Caldron, a Filipino, listened to the Gospel for a good while. Then I asked, “What would stop you from trusting in Christ today?” Response, “That is certainly different than anything I have ever heard of before, but I just don’t believe it.” Andrea recently listened intently as I explained the Gospel to him. Again the question was asked, and again a response came, “I have never read the Bible, so I am not certain of its authenticity and do not really believe in an afterlife.” While this may be the norm, it is not the case with everyone. Lucia, with a tear in her eye, said, “This is just what I needed.” Others might take a tract, smile, and thank us. Statistically the vote was against Jesus, but I am glad He gave us the example, “Father, forgive them.”
We just celebrated the four-year anniversary with our church. The Childers, missionary family from Grosseto, came up to preach and sing for us. The Childers helped us learn some new songs from new hymnals, which were purchased by Southaven Baptist Church in Tennessee. We had a wonderful time and were encouraged in the use of music.
It is our habit to send out personal thank you notes to each church and individual who has given us something aside from normal support. We can only hope that these arrive through the mail. We are so grateful to serve the Lord in this country. It is rarely a paradise, but it is always a great place to preach the Gospel. Thank you for supporting us to be here!
Missionaries to the people of Italy,
Christopher, Amy, William, & AnnMarie Yetzer