February 2019

We massively appreciate your support for us as a family as we prepare to move to Naples this September 2019. 

We’re really excited about being in Naples later this year, just daunted by the process of getting to Naples! 

Give thanks for:

New life at Chiesa Evangelica Neapolis! - We’ll be serving in Chiesa Evangelica Neapolis, a church planted by Crosslinks mission partners Mark and Jane Oden in October 2016. We were thrilled to hear from Mark and Jane of two baptisms in the church last year. It really excited us to be reminded that the purpose of our move is that we’ll see more people in Naples come to know and love the Lord Jesus.

Rob’s progress with Italian – Rob will be going to an Italian evening class every Monday evening until the end of March. We’re really thankful for clear progress with Rob’s Italian recently, as evidenced by skyping a friend in Italy and chatting freely in Italian for 40 minutes recently.

More clarity on the budget – As 2019 arrived and Toby passed the three-month milestone, it was a time to lift our heads out of the day to day childcare practicalities and re-engage with the practicalities of uprooting our young family to Naples. Our plan to move to Italy began in earnest at least four years ago but it was a shock when the departure date was a plan to move ‘this year’ for the first time. We’re so thankful to God for more clarity on lots of practical aspects compared to the beginning of the year. We know now that our initial set-up costs are £30,000. This will be to set up our home in Italy and enable Rob to study Italian full-time for the first six months - Rob reaching proficiency in Italian is vital for us partnering with the church in word ministry and evangelism.

Enthusiastic responses – The way some individuals have been so enthusiastic in their desire to support us in this move has been such a positive. It’s been so valuable in a time when we head into a season where we’ll be handing in our resignations and when we’re coming to terms with the reality of leaving Oxford – where we’ve both lived for over 12 years. To see people excited about how our heavenly Father could use us in Naples and get behind our vision helps us focus on what we’re going towards and not focus overly much on what we’re leaving.

A chilli pepper or Christ?

When we were last in Naples, we were given a memorable gift as we left our hotel in the city centre. It was a chilli pepper made out of cotton. The purpose of this gift, we were told, was to bring us ‘health and good fortune in the years to come’. 

It was just a snapshot of where some in Naples look to for ensuring a good future - but what a contrast with our confidence in Jesus. We were reminded recently how Jesus is far above any other power we could look to from Ephesians 1 – whether that’s lucky charms or anything or anyone else.

Please pray for:

Communicating the need – Three years ago now, we asked Crosslinks mission partners in Italy, ‘What’s the need in Italy in terms of gospel work?’ The consistent answer was: faithful church members, modelling every member ministry in building up the church and reaching out with the gospel. Because of this answer, we will not be in full-time gospel ministry in Naples. Rather Rob will work as an English language teacher full-time after his initial period learning the language. As church members, we will engage with front-line evangelism alongside the church through everything from events put on by the church to day-by-day conversations at the school gate. Please pray that both individuals and churches who are considering partnering with us would catch this vision and that we’d be able to communicate clearly what our role will be.

Raising funds – please pray we’d raise £30,000 to cover our set-up costs well before September so that we can have confidence in moving out. We estimate our costs each year after the set-up costs and after Rob’s period of language study will be £39,000 per year. It is not yet clear how much of this annual sum will be covered by Rob’s salary as a teacher in Naples and rental income from our house in Oxford. But it is clear that we will need to raise ongoing funds to raise the remainder after these two sources of income so that Rob doesn’t have to work all day and night but has time to meet people and contribute to the life of the church. Please pray that we’d be clearer about our income from the two areas mentioned above and that we’d raise the ongoing funds we need before we leave.

Far above every name – Please pray that we ourselves would remember Jesus our Lord is far above every other name – that Jesus is in control when we have lots to work out and sort out and when family life makes finding time and headspace for our Naples move hard to come by.