René and Sarah share a special report about their ministry with OC Sepal in Italy …
This summer, four years after we arrived in Italy and over two years after we started our church, we had the immense joy of a special worship service and five friends baptized in Christ! It was a beautiful, inspiring day for us, a small foretaste of heaven. Like last year, we met at a lake 30 minutes outside of the city. We had a service, singing, and each person who was being baptized shared a testimony.
Many family members and friends joined us. We had 170 people in total. Some had looked forward to this day for years, like Stefano who helped baptize his mother and father. So far our church has baptized 12 people, all Italians, some younger and some older.
Salsa Dancing and Jesus
To baptize Gabriele had a special meaning for us. He was one of the first people we got to know in Italy. We met him actually in the salsa dancing class that we attended in our first years, in part to meet non-believers and share our faith with them. It was a big effort for us (especially for dancing terrified René!) to attend classes in the evening. We used to walk around the neighborhood until our son slept in the stroller and then bring him back to class. Gabriele became a good friend, began to attend our church when it started, and came to Christ as Savior a year and a half ago. It was such a joy to see him confirm this faith with baptism, too. Please pray that we and our church may continue to move out of our comfort zones to befriend and witness to those around us of our hope in Christ!
Finding Faith at Camp
George grew up in a Christian home, but he drifted away from faith during his teenage years. He recently attended a Christian camp, and its message struck him deeply. He found our church as a place to explore the faith anew and took part in one of our groups for seekers. After months of journeying together, he surrendered his life to Christ and has blossomed beautifully since! He brought 40 family members to his baptism. The counselor who had an impact on him at camp helped baptize him. It was a big celebration for George and his family.
Here is a compilation of photos from this beautiful day:
- Thank God for these five friends who accepted Christ and were baptized.
- Thank God for his presence and continued blessing.
- Pray that other churches in Italy may be encouraged to witness to this needy nation.