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Buongiorno Tutti! 

Hello everyone, we hope that this newsletter finds you all well. We are doing well here in Italy, despite a health scare with my dad (more on that below). The work in Italy continues to go well and we appreciate you for being a part of that work. I always think about Paul's words in Philippians 4:17 where, when speaking to a congregation that supported his work, he said, "Not that I seek the gift, I seek the fruit that abounds to your account." This is our work in the sense that it is yours and ours, not Scott and Rebecca's. We are so thankful to each one of you. Let us tell you what you've been doing in Italy these last few weeks...

New Bible Class

As you should know already, I have been teaching a Bible class for the Milan congregation over zoom. Other than the fact that the class meets at 9:00 PM, I love teaching this class! It has been a great opportunity for me to practice my Italian, and it has brought me closer to a great group of Christians. 

I am happy to announce this month that I have started a new Bible class with the congregation at Prato. Prato is a community just outside of Florence. The population is around 200,000. Prato is known for having a very high population of Chinese immigrants. One of the members of the church in Prato contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to come to the congregation and preach one Sunday. I did that and was impressed by the friendliness and warmth of the congregation. Michele, the man who contacted me, asked me if I would be willing to teach a Bible class for the congregation as well. I, of course, agreed and we started last week. 

This class meets on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, and our first session was fantastic! We are studying first principles which is the first class I taught in Milan as well. One difference between the Prato congregation and Milan is they asked for an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each class. This is a little intimidating, but I asked the congregation to please make sure they speak slowly and clearly when they ask questions so I can be sure to understand them. After our last class one, in which we discussed the inspiration of the Bible, one of the women asked, "Is the entire Bible inspired by God, or just parts of it?" This was a great question (and I was very happy I managed to understand it!) and I answered by pointing out that, yes I do believe the entire Bible is inspired, and if parts of it weren't how could we know which? In other words, if you could say one verse, chapter or book is not inspired, how could you trust any of them? That answer was well received by the questioner and the congregation. 

I'm looking forward to teaching this class every week. I appreciate your prayers for me as a teacher and my students!
Prato Wednesday night Bible class.

New Student in Milan

Speaking of my class in Milan, this week we started a new series on the book of Acts. We studied for 15 weeks on the subject of first principles. When that class ended I asked what they would like to study next and Acts was the class they were most interested in. 

For our first lesson we had a pleasant surprise. A younger man named Pietro joined the class. Apparently, he visited with the congregation last Sunday and expressed interest in studying the Bible. I kind of wish he had been in the first principles class, but Acts will be a good starting place for him too. He seemed very engaged in the class. I am hopeful that I can start a personal Bible study with him as well. 

Unfortunately, we still cannot travel between regions so we are unable to go to Milan to worship with them and meet him, but we hope to be able to do that in the next few months. 

Please continue to pray for our efforts in Milan.
Tuesday night Bible class with the Milan church of Christ. 

New Personal Bible Study

I am also excited to announce that we have a new personal Bible study. Last week I was contacted and asked if I have space to take on another English through the Bible student. My plate is close to full, but I said, "Sure!" I was then contacted by a member of the church in Southern Italy who told me about a young man named Mario who was interesting in studying. I then contacted Mario and we set up a time to study. 

He is 23 years old and goes to a technical school (if I understood him correctly) in the mornings. He is looking for a job at the moment as well. We are meeting every Thursday at 5 PM. Mario is a nice guy and is interested in learning English, but also learning theology. He asked me if there are any free theology courses he could take. I told him at the moment we do not have a way to offer those to him in Italian, but that I am working on that and hopefully will be able to offer college level theology classes in the next few years. 

Mario's English level is beginner, but since he has an interest in Bible study I decided to take him on. He asked me if I could provide him an English and Italian version of the Bible that he could read together. I will be ordering him those this week. 

He lives in Brindisi, so now we have students in 8 different cities in Italy! We are working with congregations and individuals in ever part of Italy, besides the islands. 

In addition to Mario we still have all of the other students we have reported on recently. We are now studying with multiple students every day. We are so grateful to all of you for your prayers, and of course we are thankful to God for the opportunities. Please continue to pray for our work, and please pray for my new study with Mario.
I failed to get a picture of Mario, so enjoy this picture of Rebecca and Violet at the Egyptian museum. (I'll include a picture of him next month)

Personal Stuff and the Work in Florence

We'll start with the bad. As some, if not all, of you already know, this past Saturday my father, Kevin, woke up in extreme pain and could neither feel nor more his legs. The timing was curious as just a few minutes before my sister called me to tell me about it, I thought, "I really need to call my dad." He thought he had maybe twisted a wrong way in his sleep and hurt himself. It turns out, his prostate cancer had spread up into his spine. When he was at the hospital they gave him a CT scan and found some suspicious nodes on his spine, so they scheduled him for an MRI the next day. Then as they were getting his medical history and he told them that he has had Leukemia, prostate and skin cancer, and that his father died of cancer they decided to do an emergency MRI. Thankfully they made that decision, because they determined he needed to get into surgery as soon as possible. 

Long story short, they got him into surgery where they found and removed a large mass from his spine. That was three days ago and he is slowly, but surely recovering. He is regaining feeling and motor ability in his legs. He will certainly need physical therapy, and probably need chemotherapy in the coming days. 

I want to thank each of you who have prayed for him for those prayers. Please keep them coming.

One positive thing in regards to this emergency is the Christians here in Italy have shown us a great deal of love. They have called and texted to check on me, and they have all been praying for my dad regularly. We feel much closer to the church in Florence lately and are thankful to the other congregations we work with for praying with us and reaching out to us. 

Speaking of the work in Florence, we continue to grow closer to the congregation and have opportunities to speak, I preached this last Sunday and lead in worship most Sundays. The energy in the church is positive and we enjoy seeing our brethren every week.

This past Tuesday was Carnivale, or as we call it in the States, Mardi Gras. In Italy Carnivale is about equivalent to Halloween. From what I have seen it is nothing like what people picture Mardi Gras to be and is really a kids holiday. Violet's school allows them to wear costumes to school that day and she went as Mal from the Descendants (if you have a child in your life between the ages of 7 and 14 ask them about Descendants. They are sure to know about it). She continues to do well in school, but her Italian, which is really very good, is a little behind where it needs to be for 2nd grade. Because of that, we have taken on a tutor twice a week who Violet really likes so far. Hopefully, we won't have to use her for very long. 

We want to thank each of you for your prayers and continued support. We are doing our best to plant and water, and pray that God will give the increase. God bless each one of you as you serve Him. 

Violet as Mal
Violet at School
My dad being contemplative. 
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