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Buongiorno a Tutti!

Hi evreryone, we hope this newsletter finds you all in the best of health, both spiritually and physically. 

We are doing very well here in Italy. We have had a very busy few weeks so let us tell you all about it. Remember, this is OUR work together, not Scott and Rebecca's work. Everything that you read about in these newsletters is a result of the work that YOU are doing through us (Philippians 4:10-17)

2 New Students and Mario is Back!

This month we are happy to report also that we have picked up 2 new students and that one of my students has returned. 

I have been studying with Stefano in Vicenza for several months now. Stefano is a great student and enjoys discussing the Bible and theology. Earlier this month he asked if his sister, Elisa, could join our lesson. I, of course, said "ABSOLTULEY NOT, WHAT KIND OF MISSIONARY DO YOU THINK I AM!" Just kidding, that is basically the opposite of what I said. Elisa was getting ready for an English certification test and wanted to practice speaking and reading with me. We had a lesson together with Stefano, and then had another lesson the next week just the two of us. Both lessons went well. We have not had a third lesson yet, but I am hopeful that we will schedule a new one soon. 

I have also been studying with Marco for a few months.  You might remember that Marco is the boyfriend of Chiara our Italian tutor who became a student of ours. A few weeks ago Marco told me that his colleague, Salvo, was interested in joining our studies. Marco and Salvo both work as biologists in a hospital labratory where they do a lot of work with studying Covid and other diseases. We usually meet when they finish work. The studies are going well as they are both good students and we are able to communicate well in both Italian and English. 

Also, I am happy to report that Mario, my student in Puglia, has restarted his lessons. You might remember me telling you last month that Mario had to stop studying for a while as he had some other obligations. He has completed those and we are now studying again. 

All of these studies and our others continue to go well. We are so thankful to God for every opportunity we have and we ask you to continue to pray for each lesson. 
Study with Elisa
Study with Marco (top left) and Salvo (bottom). 
Study with Mario

Update on Carlo

Last month I told you about a younger man who reached out to the church stating that he was looking to join a community as he walked his path of faith. I mentioned that Carlo and I had a study online and that I was very impressed with his attitude and desire to learn. 

This month I am happy to tell you that Carlo continues to come to worship each week. Even better, this past Sunday he brought a friend with him! Carlo is quickly ingratiating himself to the congregation and everyone has been very welcoming to him.

Because of Covid regulations we now have to get up and go to the front one at a time to get communion. I usually get one for me and one for Rebecca. The first Sunday Carlo was there he heard me say something to the man serving, and then the person who came up after me, who was also getting communion for himself and his wife, said the same thing. The next week, Carlo asked me, "Scott, am I supposed to say something when I get the communion?" I told him no and asked why he though that. He said he heard me say something when I got mine. I had to wrack my brain to figure out what I might have said then I remembered that I said, "I need two." He must have noticed the next person saying the same thing and was afraid he was doing something wrong. I assured him that there were no formulaic sayings that we have and he did just fine. I thought it was good that he was being that observant and that he wanted to make sure he was doing things correctly. 

Please pray that he continues to attend worship and study with us. 
Carlo, sitting behind Giovanni and Carla at worship

New Contact in Ireland

We haven't worked in Ireland in nearly three years now, but Rebecca still manages a Facebook page for the Galway church of Christ. Every now and then we will get messages for the page. Normally it is an American tourist wondering where to go for worship. 

This past Sunday I received a message that I would like to ask you to pray about. A woman named Deirdre wrote and said, "Hello Scott,
I hope you are well. I gleaned your email from facebook. I'm not sure if you have a website address?
Just to introduce myself, I am a Christian about 5 years.
I was wondering if the church is meeting?
Also I would like to be baptized and wonder if you do baptisms?"

WOW! My heart was simultaneously elated and then broken as I realized there is little I can do to help her. Obviously, she needs to be taught some things about the purpose of baptism and what it means to be a Christian. Unfortunately, there is little hope for that in Galway. There are two members of the church in Galway, but they both have difficult lives and have a hard time finding times for studying. Also, right now because of Covid restrictions churches are not able to meet on Sundays. 

I wrote her back and explained the situation to her and told her I would do everything in my power to help her and if given the chance I would be happy to fly to Galway to help her be baptized (we're not at that point yet, and it probably won't be necessary, but I am willing to do it if that is what is needed).

We have written back and forth a few times and I have been able to answer some questions for her. I am trying to get her in touch with some members of the church in Ireland. Please pray that she receives the truth and has an opportunity to obey it! 

Opening Back Up! 

We're very happy to tell you that Italy is starting to show signs of reopening. Yesterday (which happened to be our anniversary) restaurants were allowed to open, but only for outdoor dining and they opened up travel between regions. We are hopeful that in May we will be able to visit at least one congregation outside of Tuscany. 

Right now I am talking to the congregation in Vicenza about visiting them on the 23rd of May, and I might talk to Milan about visiting them the last week in May or the first week in June. 

One thing we worry about is that we will wind up going back to the more restricted zones in Fall. We ask that you pray we can get as much work done as we can before our reporting trip and we won't be restricted when we get back.  

Upcoming Reporting Trip

Speaking of our reporting trip, we are getting closer and closer to it. We really cannot wait to see our families, friends and co-workers in the States. But, we have a couple of things on our minds:

First, please pray that Rebecca will receive her official permission to remain card before we leave. She has things to prove that she has submitted all of the paperwork and that she is in the process of getting a card, but she doesn't yet have the official card. If we go this summer there is a chance they can give us a hard time about that when we reenter the country. It is unlikely it will be anything more than a hassle, but with at least one horrific immigration experience in Ireland we really don't want to take any chances. Having that card will give us a lot of peace of mind, so we would appreciate your prayers about that.

Second, it is always a challenge to see everyone we need to see and want to see when we are in the States. This year will be particularly challenging as we will go visit my dad, but he can't travel to see us. We want to spend as much time with him as we can, but we are limited in travel time as we have to report almost every Sunday and Wednesday we are in the States and we have no supporters anywhere near where he lives (it's always nice when you can mix a report with a family visit). Please pray that we can work out a schedule that will maximize our time with our families, especially my dad. 

Personal Stuff

On a personal level we are all doing well. This month we celebrate Rebecca as she celebrated her 30th birthday for the 11th time! We were still in the most restricted zone for her birthday so we were not able to do much, but we ordered in one of her favorite meals, gave her presents and ate cake that Violet and I made her. We had a very nice day despite the restrictions. 

April is a big month for us as we also celebrate our anniversary. This year Rebecca and I celebrated 18 years. It's crazy that our marriage is old enough to vote! 

On our anniversary, I was thinking about our wedding day. After we said our "I do's" we walked down the aisle to the song, "Where you lead (I will follow)" by Carole King. Rebecca has certainly lived up to that as she has literally followed me around the world. She has lived in three separate countries, learned three cultures and two foreign languages. The work that we do would be impossible without her. I often think about what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:22, "He who finds a wife finds (a) good (thing), and obtains favor from the Lord." I am so thankful for my good thing! 

In Violet news, Violet is excited for me to report to you that she has FINALLY learned to ride a bike! Because of our life situation she actually never learned to ride a tricycle until she was nearly 6 years old. We got her a bike with training wheels last year, which she rode for a while, but she was very hesitant to learn to ride without them. Thankfully for her, her friend Tahlia was equally hesitant to learn so she was not left behind. The first week in April she had to do school at home online, but she had a two and a half hour break each day. I decided enough was a enough and she was going to learn how to ride that bike. I saw a video where a lady taught a boy to ride a bike by holding his shoulders instead of the seat or handlebars. I did that and Violet learned in about 10 minutes! Now she is an expert and wants to ride all the time! 

She invited her friend Tahlia to the park and asked if she wanted me to help her learn too (Tahlia's dad is back in the States for a few weeks). Tahlia said yes she would, so we put her on the bike and she got it just as fast as Violet. I thought it was sweet that Violet: A. thought her friend would want to learn too, and B. allowed her to use her bike to learn. Tahlia has a bike of her own and now they go to the park most everyday after school and on weekends and ride around together. 

As you can see we were richly blessed this month with lots of opportunities. Please pray that God continues to bless us with open doors to do His work in Italy! (Colossians 4:3)

 
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