Sunday, I preached at New Life Vicenza from Mark 14:27–31 (Luke 22:31–34). I will be preaching this week from Mark 14:32–42. NLV has been working through the book of Mark and I am coming alongside them and joining in what they are already doing.
While I greatly enjoyed preaching the gospel Sunday morning, I enjoyed praying together as a church even more. It was a sweet time to listen to people pray openly for one another. Praying together gave me a window into the lives and hearts of people at NLV. I felt humbled and privileged to have access into the hearts of those attending NLV and it gave me a good start on a prayer list as well. There were 35–40 people present this past Sunday.
Speaking of Victoria, Vicki dropped me off at the airport at 5am on Tuesday and headed to Birmingham for the PCA General Assembly. She connected with lots people on our behalf. I came to Vicenza for the summer PCS season even though we still have to raise support. I am grateful for Vicki for helping stateside with this part of our going to Italy. She has even enlisted her mother to help get the word out about our work at NLV in Italy. We would be grateful if you know of others who would be interested in partnering together with us.
Vicki is also “James-erizing” our house in Mount Juliet. Rather than sell our house in Mount Juliet, we have decided to hold onto it. James accepted a job teaching English and Language Arts at Watertown Middle School. After looking at the cost of 1BR and 2BR apartments in Mount Juliet and Lebanon (and finding little availability in Watertown), James is going to live at our house while we are away. Question: How do you think Vicki’s plants will fare in her absence?
Vicki is aiming to arrive in Italy toward the end of July. She has several house projects in Mount Juliet requiring attention before leaving things with James.
Today, I learned how to purchase bus tickets and take the bus from Costabissara to the main train/bus terminal in Vicenza—and I actually made it back to my apartment too. From the Vicenza train station, I can get to most anywhere in Italy and Europe at a reasonable price. If I had learned to use the buses and trains when in Italy in January and February, I wouldn’t have accumulated so many fines for driving in restricted areas.
Within a short walk (appr. 10 minutes) from my AirBnb efficiency apartment in Costabissara, I have access to: a meat shop, fish shop, fruit and vegetable shop, pastry and coffee shop, pizzeria, fresh bread shop, gelataria (Italian ice-cream). This is definitely not like roughing it in India or Sri Lanka.
The church is a twenty minute walk (1 mile). There are also two supermarkets—one a sixteen minute walk and the other a twenty-five minute walk. I’ve been walking about five miles a day since arriving in Italy last week.
There is a bike-shop five minutes away. Speaking of a bike shop, I have purchased an electric bike, which I hope to have delivered this week. Bikes are everywhere in Italy—ridden by young and old alike. Several of you have warned me about the danger of e-bikes, and I am listening to you. I will receive proper training, follow safety protocols, and I have no intent of taking risks. Costabissara (and Northern Italy for that matter) has accessible roads and bike paths everywhere. With buses, trains, and a good bike, I am somewhat confident we can safely find our way around fairly easily and rent a car as needed. Car rentals, gas prices, tolls, and parking makes driving almost cost prohibitive—and cars are far less safe than public transportation and an electric bike.
Please pray for:
Our transition from the US to Italy, and my transition as pastor of NLV. Pray that I would love the people well who are here.
In this next season of ministry, I have really wanted to re-focus on the fundamentals: learning to pray together (individually and as a church) and learning to share our faith clearly and effectively—as Christians with each other and with not-yet-Christians.
Pray for Vicki and me while we are apart, and that she can join me here in Italy at earliest.
Director of The Jack Miller Project and Teacher at New Life Vicenza.
PhD NAMS at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2019
Research: Cheer Up! A Biographical Study of the Life and Ministry of C. John "Jack" Miller: A Twentieth Century Pioneer of Grace
MDiv at Covenant Theological Seminary, 2001