August 2019

In May, we visited Naples as a whole family for four days in preparation for our move this summer to join Chiesa Evangelica Neapolis.

Chiesa Evangelica Neapolis is the small Italian-speaking church we will be serving in as a family to reach Naples with the good news of Christ’s saving love. We loved seeing Mark and Jane Oden and their family again and it was such a pleasure meeting other members of the church.

We fly out to Naples on Tuesday 27 August with time to settle into our new home before Rob starts full-time language study and Barney starts school in September.

We had asked you to pray for us to find a suitable flat. Praise our Father God for providing a flat in just the right place.

The flat couldn’t be better placed; the building where the church meets, Barney’s school, and Rob’s language school are all within walking distance. It is also a stone’s throw from Mark and Jane Oden’s – the Crosslinks mission partners who set up and lead Chiesa Evangelic Neapolis. Thank you for your prayers. We have the flat until February 2020 and then hope to extend our current contract.

Claire and Barney enjoying authentic Neapolitan gelato

In May we enrolled Barney in a school in Naples – the same school Mark and Jane Oden’s children have attended. It is located in Chiaia, a district close to the sea, one or two streets away from the building where the church meets. We’re aware that it will be a big shock for Barney to start attending an Italian-speaking school from September but also a great opportunity to get stuck into acquiring the language from such a young age.

We’re moving to Naples for three years and we’re more and more aware of the vital importance of our Italian being as good as possible to enable genuine relationships and opportunities to speak of Jesus to those who don’t know him as their Lord and Saviour. Rob will be learning Italian full-time until February 2020. After this, he will be working as a language teacher so making a strong start to language learning in the early months, when he’s language learning full-time, will be key, amid the practicalities of setting up our new home.

We praise God that all of the £30,000 we have budgeted for these key first six months has come in. Thank you to all who have prayed for this target and to those who have contributed financially. God has currently provided for just over 80% of our annual budget from February 2020 when Rob will be working: just above £12,000 has been pledged out of £15,000.

One theme we’ve been reflecting on a lot in the past few weeks is that we have lots of changes coming up for us: change of routines, change of culture, change of noise level and climate (!), change of church, change of city (after 13 years in Oxford) - but in all this change, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.’ (Hebrews 13. 8)

Points for prayer:

  • Pray for Chiesa Evangelica Neapolis to grow this year in terms of numbers of members. We’d love to see more and more people in this city turn to Christ and accept the abundant eternal life he offers through his death in our place.
  • We’ll be studying John’s Gospel as a church this academic year. Pray we would all be able to apply what we learn from this book to our lives in Naples – at the school gate, at work, in family life and church life. That in each of these contexts, we would work out how to live out Jesus’ claim that he is ‘the way, the truth and the life’, amid competing claims such as materialism and superstition.
  • Pray for Claire and Rob’s Italian to improve quickly. Pray that Rob’s language classes would be extremely useful and Claire would have wisdom in how to refresh and expand the language knowledge she gained from her French and Italian degree.
  • Pray for Barney (just turned three) to pick up Italian quickly as he goes to his Italian only-speaking school from September. And for Claire and Rob to know how to encourage Barney best when this transition is hard for him.
  • Pray for Toby’s sleep! It has been a challenge in the last few months to be productive in the evenings when Toby (just turned 10 months) has often been up with us until late. Pray that Toby establishes good sleep patterns in the rest of this calendar year in Naples so that Rob and Claire can devote evenings to language learning, the church mid-week fellowship group and getting rest.
  • Pray for our Father God to provide the final sum of just under £3,000 a year to meet our annual budget from February 2020 through financial support from individuals. Pray we’d steward the money which has already been given wisely. Praise God with us for the money raised so far.
  • Pray in light of any impact Brexit may have on us and our plans.
  • Pray that we’d each know deep down the comfort that ‘Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever’ and spend time each day talking to him in prayer and listening to him from the Bible.

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