Walking by the Ancient Sites — I am amazed at the way God has gifted my fellow humans in art and architecture. However, I am saddened by those ancient people who abused those gifts and chose “to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator”. And, what’s even sadder, it is still happening in Italy today (cf. Romans 1:18-25).
Watching the Modern People — I love being among my fellow Italians and feeling at home with the warm embraces and welcoming “air kisses”. However, I am keenly aware that behind many of the greetings are hearts that are filled with struggles of every sort. What seems to be on most Italian minds is the shattering economy. The population is declining as more and more people leave to work in other countries. There is little hope of recovery soon. Then again, a booming economy isn’t the answer, either. The only cure for a seemingly hopeless present is a certain hope for our eternal future. That hope is found in a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Witnessing the Changing Faith — I am blessed to walk in a land with such an amazing history of our faith. However, I grieve over a people who are now so ignorant of what it means to have a personal relationship to God by trusting in Christ alone, not their good works or church membership, in order to have peace with God for eternity (cf. Romans 5:1-2).
Observing the Work of God — I am filled with the knowledge that the gospel was first brought here by the apostles and, even in the midst of centuries of persecution, the true people of God stood strong. However, much of this original faith has been replaced by false religion, rampant materialism, and a deeply-held skepticism.
Praying for a Better Future — I am encouraged to see God working through local churches in Italy. However, the truly faithful believers are so very few; some say less than 1 %. We need to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send more Ambassadors of Hope to this very needy place. Pray also that God would send people who take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul, written so long ago to the ancestors of these same people:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” (Romans 1:16)