March 2020

‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.’ Hebrews 2:14-15

What God’s been saying

Ruth is studying Hebrews one-to-one with Sue and Jonny’s studying it alone… (Billy no mates). We’re so grateful that God’s Son took on flesh and blood to deliver us from fearing death. Of course, as sinners, everyone should fear death but God’s Son has made propitiation for our sins, removing death’s sting. So, no matter how severe the temptation to turn away from Jesus, even the threat of death needn’t worry us anymore. Please pray that any brothers and sisters who are tempted to turn away from the gospel would realise the wonder of the salvation we have in God’s Son. Please pray for us to be ready to fearlessly die for Jesus (and continue through any temptation leading up to that). And please pray for our brothers and sisters here not to fear death amidst the spread of the coronavirus, but to speak boldly about the hope we have in Jesus.

What we’ve been doing

Philip really likes ice cream…

We haven’t had public or private church meetings for a week, due to the Coronavirus in our region. So we had an interesting little prayer meeting via WhatsApp video call (someone said they were sure Ruth was falling asleep… she denies it!). But we have been able to continue meeting one-to-one with brothers and sisters to read the Bible and pray. And we’ve had super encouraging conversations over dinner with a few brothers and sisters this week. Highlights from the last month included the baptism of a brother with whom Jonny has been reading the Bible (see picture at top of page), going through Two Ways to Live with a few Italian non-Christians, and a lovely visit from dear friends from Christchurch Durham! Thanks to God’s response to your prayers, we have a few new non-Christian friends with whom we’ve shared the gospel in the last few weeks! Jonny’s started playing tennis weekly with the same two people, both of whom are up for chatting about Jesus and the meaning of life. Ruth has been out for coffee with an Italian lady she met in the swimming pool – and went through TWTL on a napkin! And an Italian girl Ruth met in a café came around for dinner and was very interested in the gospel. Thanks for your prayers – our Father’s been so generous!

But there have also been a few days where Ruth’s felt quite low this month. Please ask our Father to help Ruth when confronting uncertainty about schedules and the devil’s accusations. And pray for wisdom for both of us when deciding how to carry on with the Lord’s work with the issues surrounding the situation with the coronavirus. (And for grace to encourage one another if we’re required to stay in the house most of the time!)

What you could be praying

Preparing crafts for The Gospel Coalition Italia conference

Even though we have moved to Italy for Jesus’ glory in Bologna, Italy and the world (with a particular focus on the Lord raising up Italian gospel-workers as a means to that end), it is easy to lose perspective and forget.  Please pray with us and for us to this end, with a clear focus in light of the Lord’s soon return. 

Please pray:

  • For our recently baptised brother to continue with Jesus for life, free from the fear of death.
  • For continued gospel opportunities with our new Italian friends and for them to repent and worship Jesus for his great salvation.
  • For love, gentleness and graciousness in Jonny’s relating to others.
  • For Ruth to meditate more on Jesus than on her sins and for our Father’s help when she’s struggling with life’s uncertainties.
  • For our brothers and sisters (and us!) to be resolutely focussed on the salvation of many in Italy, especially at the moment with so many fearing death. 
  • For all the students at Christchurch Durham to be spurred on to lifelong, wholehearted service of the advance of God’s kingdom (Lord willing, we’ll join them for their Student Conference towards the end of March). 

With thanks in Christ, 
Jonny and Ruth  

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