When the grand finale is only the beginning…

One of the things I always enjoyed doing growing up was preparing and performing in band concerts. 

One of the hardest days was the day after the concert.  All of the preparation and emotion and celebration…and then it is over.  You’ve probably been there, either in music, or in sports, or in preaching, or in school, or in just about anything big you have prepared for.
Fortunately, unless you are hanging it up, there is more to be experienced.

Our VBS grand finale certainly was exciting, but God does not take time off, so we are also excited to see what He has in store for us now.

Before I share more about summer opportunities, let me share how God blessed us on VBS Sunday (a.k.a. the Grand Finale).

VBS 2015 Sunday Crowd

VBS 2015 Sunday Crowd

VBS Sunday
I took this picture with my back to the door…literally.  I don’t know the exact count of guests, but I am not sure we could have fit more people!

Daniel preached a great evangelistic message, and the children continued to be excited about the things they had learned and shared with their parents.  Even this past Sunday some of the children came back with their parents!  Thank you for praying!!

Most of the children were unchurched.  Almost all of them were invited by someone, despite our efforts with fliers and publicity.

Now what?
You may be curious to know what the rest of the summer looks like (including the long overdue health update).

Jon and MelodeeBible studies and visits
We have connected with several unbelievers who have asked for Bible studies.  One of Noah’s classmates’ dads has asked to bring their son to Sunday School with Noah!  Another unsaved friend has asked to spend time reading the Bible together.

Music Outreach
Trying to keep my horn playing up and getting out in the community as well, I have started getting calls to go play in symphonic bands, some at a very amateur level, but others on a more semi-professional level.
I have only had one concert so far, but have already been able to share with a musician friend of mine.
The pressure is on, both musically and evangelistically!  PLEASE PRAY!

Whitmans in S. FortunatoDeacon Training Preparation
We have found an excellent Christian translator for our Deacon Training manual.  Now we just need to get it ready to be used and go for it!!

Health Needs
I thank the Lord that it’s been over a year since my last cancer surgery in Milan.   Sundays are the most painful day for me.  I can tell that I do a lot more speaking.  But I thank God that a little discomfort is all I have been experiencing!  Please continue to pray for me as I need to go back to Milan for my checkup!

Thank you for praying!  I hope you have enjoyed reading more about all God is doing here.


Our Top Seven Prayer Requests

1. For the salvation of the children from VBS and their families as well as good follow-up.

2. That I can start reading the Bible with my unsaved friend.

3. That Noah’s classmate and his family will start coming to church.

4. For boldness in evangelizing the musicians I come into contact with and good playing so that I can keep evangelizing them!

5. For leadership training in our church and that we can be ready and able to train our deacons in the fall.

Roman and Vincenzo

Roman and Vincenzo

6. For good health and wisdom with dealing with what comes our way, especially with my cancer.

7. For Christians in Greece. We were supposed to send Roman and Vincenzo this summer to help in a camp, but because of the situation they had to cancel the camp.

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God gave us an amazing week… Now pray for the Grand Finale!

Thank you for praying for us this week.
vbsWe had over fifty children every day, we had great workers, we had good weather all but one day, and we were able to present the Gospel!  So what more can we ask for?
Actually, there is one thing…

 

Family Portrait

Family Portrait (minus Noah)

Pray for tomorrow!
We have invited the children to come back tomorrow to be part of our worship service with their families, and to present them with a summary of all the children did.

We don’t know how many will come, but we are trusting God that we can reach not only the children, but their parents with the Gospel.

Pray for follow up as well.

Please share this request in your church tomorrow if you have any chance at all.  We look forward to seeing all that God does!
Enjoy a few more pictures, and a video too!


Melodee did a great job with crafts


Vincenzo leading game time

Maria Luisa helping them memorize verses

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You can change someone’s life this week

You can change someone’s life this week!

Committing to pray for what may be currently our most strategic ministry of the year

VBS Sunday 2013

VBS Sunday 2013

Two years ago we did our first Vacation Bible School (VBS) when two girls from America came to help us for the summer.  We had no idea what we were doing, but we all pitched in and God brought in results, as many families who sent their children have come back to our church on several occasions.
This year we already have more children signed up than last year without the walk-ins who usually come in the first day.
Our team is excited, the decorations are going to be awesome (how could the not be with a Western theme!), and the lessons are powerful.

cowboy

I look forward to playing cowboy this wee!

When we invited a lady we know from a store in the neighborhood she was so excited to have a place to send her kids after school got out.

I also brought some invitations to the superintendent of all the schools of the district where Noah attends.  There simply are not many opportunities like this one.

However, the greatest number of sign-ups are from church members inviting their friend and neighbors.  Praise the Lord!

In light of the great opportunity we are facing for the Gospel I ask you to please pray:

  1. For me as I teach and lead the worship.
  2. For Melodee, who is in charge of crafts.
  3. For my sister Elizabeth who is in charge of coordinating everything.
  4. For my brother in law Daniel, who is in charge of the English lesson and all the technology.
  5. For all the teachers and volunteers.
  6. For protection for all of us, but especially for the children.
  7. For children and their parents to entrust their lives to Christ

We all know that prayer makes a difference.  But do you realize that through your prayer God works to change someone’s life and eternal destiny forever?
We would love to have you on board from Monday through Friday and again on Sunday when we will invite the parents to our worship time, where the children will be able to share what they did and learned.

Thank you for making a difference!
Jon and Melodee, Noah and Eva
The Whitmans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for brief updates and candids throughout the week!

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▶ Listener event TV spot and Radio Outreach Event

Thank you for praying for our Terni outreach.  We had a smaller turnout, but we thank God all the same!  Here are a few pictures of the event.  I spoke too, but did not have a selfie stick that was long enough…

IMG_3364  IMG_3372 (1) IMG_3370   IMG_3367IMG_3368IMG_3371

Last, but not least…

I thought you would enjoy this great commercial for the Terni listener event!

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When Jesus Didn’t Pray for the Harvest

Umbrian countryside

Umbrian harvest

“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few…”

The Lord has been pounding this verse into my heart lately. As a missionary, but mostly just as a follower or Jesus Christ, I daily feel the burden and the frustration for the predicament of the lost people around me. I try to share with everybody around me, from my four year old to the cashier at the grocery store. Yet so far, with the majority of them it seems I hit a wall.

Strangely, in what is probably Jesus’ most famous quote on evangelism, Jesus does not put the evangelistic priority on praying for the lost.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:38 ESV)

Jesus makes some very interesting points about the harvest:
1. There is already a harvest. The seed has already been sown by God himself.
2. There is a shortage of laborers.
3. We are to pray earnestly to the Lord who already sowed and grew a harvest out there.
4. We are to pray specifically for the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest.

Jesus confirms this in John 4:35 when he affirms:
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

So, what stands between us and the harvest?
Prayer and laborers. And maybe even more specifically, prayer FOR laborers!

Are we to pray for laborers from another country or do we need to pray that God make laborers out of the Italian believers?
The answer is…yes.
Nevertheless, I am certain that the bulk of the work will have to be done by Italians, who are committed to reaping a harvest in their families, in their schools, at their jobs.

Our job has never been clearer: to Equip the Italian Church of the Next Generation to Reach the World for Christ.

Recently a young man in our church, exclaimed to me: “You’re right! Ever since you taught me that we are to always be ready to give an answer (I Peter 3:15), I have more opportunities to share Christ than I can handle!”.

I confess that I am not much of a street evangelist. I don’t love going door to door. But God gives me more opportunities to share Christ than I have time to tell you about. Every week someone somewhere is asking me about my faith in Christ.

People are asking the believers here in our church about their faith too…so we better be ready to help them give an answer!

Here are the outreach opportunities I’m most excited about at the moment:

Radio Outreach - Foligno

Radio Outreach – Foligno

1. A series of outreach events with the contacts from our Radio and TV ministries in Umbria: the Lake area (April 12th), Foligno (April 19th), Terni (May 24th) and Perugia (June 7th). So far the response has been overwhelming, with visitors from as far away as Tuscany!  Several of our church members helped out with this event.
2. I have had the opportunity to preach some very evangelistic messages on Sunday from First Thessalonians (about 40% or more of our church attenders are yet to make a profession).
3. We have been able to nurture several relationships with unbelievers and share the Gospel with them. In particular, we have been developing a relationship with the parents of one of Noah’s classmates from school.
4. We are working more diligently at training laborers and leaders in our church, including deacons and future pastors.
5. In June we have two major outreach events that involved the entire church body: our annual Soccer Outreach Tournament and Vacation Bible School.

The most important thing in the world you can be doing for Italy right now is praying.

As E.M. Bounds puts it in his classic work on prayer:
“On earth [Christ] lived and prayed and died for men. His life, his death and his exaltation in heaven all plead for men.
Is there any work, higher work for the disciple to do than his Lord did?
Is there any loftier employment, more honorable, more divine, than to pray for men?
To take their woes, their sins, and their perils before God; to be one with Christ?
To break the slavery which binds them, the hell which holds them and lifts them to immortality and eternal life?”

Would you pray for us and with us, that God will send his laborers into his harvest??

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