View this email in your browser

Buona Primavera a Tutti! 

(Happy spring, everyone!) We hope this newsletter finds you all in the best of physical and spiritual health. I often think about John's words to Gaius in 3rd John 1:1, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." I ask myself, "How healthy would my physical body be, if it were as healthy as my spirit?" I hope that each one of us would be extraordinarily healthy if this were the case.

We have lots of news to share so let's get to it.

New Bible Study in Florence

Last Sunday, Giacomo, one of the members at the Florence congregation, got up and read an email that a man named Carlo sent to a website for another congregation in Italy (they forwarded it to Giacomo since Carlo lives here in Florence). It said, basically, "I have been following my path of faith for about four years and I think it is time to connect myself to a group that I can explore my faith with. I have seen some information on your website and I wanted to ask if someone could write to me and tell me more." I asked the congregation to allow me to write to him. I wrote to him on Monday and he immediately wrote back and asked if we could arrange to meet on zoom. I, of course, agreed and we met on Thursday afternoon. He is 27 years old and has worked in the hospitality industry until recently (both as a tour guide and at a hotel). He speaks impeccable English, but I asked if we could converse in Italian to help me practice, which he agreed to. My first impression is that he is very nice and intelligent, and that he wants to learn more about God. He talked about his religious background. Like most Italians, he was raised Catholic. He received a Bible as a gift a few years ago and decided to try to follow Jesus on his own. He told me he had visited some evangelical churches, but he found they were all pretty much the same as the Catholic church he went to growing up. He watched some videos of the church of Christ and liked what he saw so he decided to reach out to us. We both shared our experiences with church and I told him how I came to be a member of the church of Christ. We studied what Paul wrote in Philippians 3 which conclude with, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." I talked about how this is such a comfort to me because I know I am far from perfect. If Paul can say that he was still a work in progress after many years as arguably the hardest working missionary in the history of Christianity, then it was okay that I still have things to work on. He said he had not read that and it was comforting to him as well. We also talked a lot about prayer and how you don't have to just repeat the same prayers over and over again, but that you can speak from your heart. 

We had a great conversation and I hope to have more opportunities to study with him. He said he would try to come to worship this past Sunday, but then he didn't. However, he did text me apologizing for not coming. Lord willing, we will study again this week and he will come to worship next week. 

Please keep him and me in your prayers!
Study with Carlo. 

Bible studies and Classes Continue

In addition to the new study with Carlo we still have all of our regular studies and I am still teaching Bible class for the congregations in Milan and Prato. All of these lessons continue to go well. We are studying with multiple students every day and are so thankful for these opportunities. 

One of the studies that I am most excited about is my study with Mario in Brindisi. He is just 21, but is very interested in learning the Bible, not just English through the Bible. Unfortunately, our study has been interrupted by his schedule so please pray that we will be able to get back on track soon. 

My studies with the Milan and Prato congregations are going well too. I am teaching Acts to the Milan congregation, and First Principles to the Prato congregation. I am doing the classes a bit differently. In Milan I usually send them the notes for the class and then go over them, but with Prato I am doing Powerpoint lessons that I share with them during the class. I am not sure that one method is necessarily better than the other, but in any case both classes are going well. The brethren are very encouraging and patient. At the end of the Prato class there is an opportunity for them to ask questions. So far there has just been one question I couldn't understand well enough to answer (I still have no idea what the student was asking, even after I asked him to text me the question. He said it wasn't important enough to go to all that trouble). Last week we studied about the organization of the church and I was asked, " Based on Matthew 16:18, is Peter the rock that Jesus built the church on?" and "I know most congregations in America have elders, but here only one or two have elders? Why is this and how can we fix it?" I did my best to answer both questions as well as I could. The second one was a little harder to answer since it is mostly opinion, but everyone seemed to appreciate my answer. 

Your prayers for all of our studies continue to be appreciated! 

Study with Mario.
Powerpoint slide for Prato class. Can you guess the subject?

Reporting Trip

We are planning our reporting trip now. If we have not yet reached out to your congregation we will soon. We arrive in the states mid-June and will stay through August. We're excited to see everyone, especially family. The only family member we've seen for the last 2 years is my dad (it will be 2.5 years since we've seen anyone by the time we arrive). To put this in perspective we will see Rebecca's parents just one month before Violet's 8th birthday, the last time we saw them she was 5. If you have grandkids you know how hard it is to go that long without being with them, I am sure.  

HAPPY DAY - I wrote this part of the newsletter yesterday and just deleted a section in which I asked if we could borrow someone's vehicle while we are in the States. This morning Rebecca woke up to find a message from a fellow missionary family offering us use of their car! We are so thankful to the Gaines family in Bowling Green, Kentucky for their generous offer! 

Also, we do have a few free Sundays and Wednesdays in our schedule, and we are in need of more support. If you know of a congregation that might like to support the work, or if you are a member of a congregation that might like to support us, please let me know and we will get in touch with the leadership to schedule a time to come and tell you about the work. 

We look forward to seeing all of our supporting congregations and appreciate your prayers for safe travels as we get closer to June! 


Personal Stuff

(I miswrote that originally as "Personal Studd" I came very close to leaving it that way). 

We are all doing well. Life continues in Italy despite the fact that we keep getting closer to a full lockdown. Fortunately, in Florence we are still in the orange zone and basically free. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most of the country, and is unlikely to continue for us. We've been at this a while now so it is not that difficult, but we would like to be able to move on from it. We know for sure we will be locked down Easter weekend. The only thing we're not certain of is whether we will be able to go to in person worship or not. The last time we were in the red zone we were able to go to worship, but this time they may not allow it. In any case, we are hopeful that all of this will be behind us at least before Violet graduates from high school. 

Speaking of Violet she is doing well. As I mentioned before she has a new tutor that we had to hire to bring her Italian level up a little. Listening to her speak with her tutor I find it hard to believe she is deficient at all in Italian. In fact, the other day she and I were walking to school (Violet, not her tutor, that would be weird) and met one of her classmates (again, Violet not her tutor. Just assume I mean Violet unless I say otherwise) on the road. Violet had a conversation with her friend's dad that I couldn't understand! So I'd say she is doing just fine. Hopefully we will only have to use the tutor for a few more weeks, but we will also ask her (this time I mean the tutor, not Violet) to do online lessons with Violet (I just went ahead and used her name rather than the pronoun here. That was probably easier for all of us) while we are reporting so she doesn't lose anything while we are gone. 

My dad is doing okay. He transferred yesterday from the rehab facility to another facility closer to the hospital where he will have his radiation treatments. He is now able to take some baby steps with a walker so he is still heading in the right direction, just not as quickly as he would like. What he wants most of all is to be able to go home, but that is still at least a few weeks away. Thank you for your prayers on his behalf! 

Dad has received some cards, and I am sure he would appreciate more. If you can send him a card the address is:

South Dennis Healthcare
C/O Edward Kevin Shanahan
1 Love Lane
South Dennis MA 02660-3445

We love and appreciate each one of you, may God continue to bless each of you! 

The Shanahans 

Rebecca was working on some Italian lessons and Violet offered to help her. She actually was pretty helpful! 
Violet working with her tutor. 
Violet's tutor has organized a couple of scavenger hunts in the center of town lately. The kids have to find certain paintings, sculptures or historical artifacts that the tutor then explains. 
Violet is going to miss her BFF Tahlia when we are in the States, but thankfully she gets to see her BFFIA (Best Friend Forever in America) Paislee! 
Copyright © 2021 Mission Italy, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp