“Paul and his companions traveled through the region of Greece and Galatia, and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bitinia, but the Spirit of Jesus prevented them. (…) During the night Paul had a vision, in which a macedonian man stood and begged him, ‘Pass it to Macedonia and help us.’
After Paul had this vision, we immediately prepared to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
In the biblical passage we have just read, the Holy Spirit changed Paul’s missionary strategy, directing him to work in another region. The apostle, with his heart as an obedient and willing servant, understood God’s will and went to the new destiny indicated.
The situation reported in these verses is very similar to the current moment experienced by Luiz, Sara and Ana Lídia.For years, the family developed their ministry in Italy’s capital, Rome, but recently understood that the Lord had new plans and was directing them to serve elsewhere.
Welcomed in northern Italy
Because of the Brazilian economic crisis and the rise of the euro, a reflection of the pandemic, missionaries lost almost half of the financial support they received monthly. The Lord’s faithfulness did not allow anything to be lacking, but adaptations were necessary in the face of the new reality so that they would continue to honor their commitment to the rent of the house.
In the midst of many considerations, a dear sister in Christ gave an apartment to the missionary family in northern Italy – there, they were able to stay in June, July and August, without paying anything. It was a special family time. In addition to rest, it was three months to reflect on new decisions and planning for the future. With the new financial situation, staying in Rome would no longer be possible. God was closing this door or, as we read in Acts, preventing our missionaries from remaining there.
The possibility of returning to Brazil at that point was real, and the couple talked about it. That’s when, in an unusual way, our missionaries met a family from the city of Bari (southern Italy) that they met three years ago, when Luiz was invited to preach in his church. As they shared the current situation, our missionaries said they were reflecting on what to do about the future, not least because they needed to decide soon, because of the beginning of Ana Lydia’s classes. It was then that these brothers shared that they were praying for someone who could help them in the church. Since then, these conversations have intensified, until came the invitation to collaborate where this family serves. Praying, reflecting and considering the cost of living in southern Italy, which is considerably lower than living in Rome, Luiz and Sara concluded that accepting the invitation would make it possible to remain in Italy and remain worthily.
New challenges: moving to Bari
Because Chiesa Bethel is still unable to offer financial support to missionaries, new maintainers are and will be needed. Our missionaries remain confident in the Lord’s direction and support and happy to realize the care, direction, and love of Jesus in every detail of this entire transition period.
Let us pray for our brethren that the Lord may continue to direct them and care for this new challenge.
In Rome during the lockdown
In the first half, Italy experienced a period of rigid social isolation in order to contain the advance of coronavirus in the country. During the three months of lockdown, Luiz and Sara helped Ana Lídia with distance studies and developed ministerial activities remotely: recording and editing videos, services through Zoom and Youtube, Bible studies via Skype and advice via WhatsApp. Although the new reality is completely different and mediated by technology, the ministry has not stopped.
– Ana Lydia’s eight-year anniversary;
– Health and daily provision;
– Protection during the pandemic;
– Support through prayers and offers.
– Family in Brazil;
– Financial support;
– New phase and transition;
– School life of Ana Lydia, at this moment so uncertain.