Dear faithful prayer supporters,

‘For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.’ Jonah 2:3 ‘I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!’ Luke 12:50

You may well be aware from international news that our region in Italy suffered huge downpours in May. Floods surrounded us and waves of water have billowed over into homes, businesses and partly our church! When this natural disaster struck, we could not help but think of how asleep our neighbours were to the greater flood to come. We also recalled how wonderful it is the Lord Jesus suffered a greater distress, the floods of the Father’s wrath, so that we might escape the waves of his righteous judgement. This month we write longing that our initiatives and witness of Forte Torre (FT) may result in Italians understanding Jesus’ ‘baptism’ at the cross.

‘You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.’ Exodus 15:10

25 youngsters, only four of which are FT children, enjoyed a two-week journey through the book of Exodus on our camp in June. This year, we had a mega-tiny, fixed leaders’ team of only five adults but over 35 people at FT contributed to the running of the day, parachuting in to do an hour shift here and there.

  • Praise the Lord for the freedom to proclaim the warrior who has hurled, and will hurl, his hardened enemies into the sea!
  • Praise the Lord for his salvation in freeing a people to serve him; pray these children will have faith in the great I AM who promises freedom from slavery.
  • Thanks for the assistant leaders’ programme, developed in conjunction with Youth For Christ. Thanks for L, G, R, K, A and M who carried great responsibility, and for their studies in Exodus.
  • Give thanks for the two families who saw us in the park, signed up last minute and came to church.

Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.’ Psalm 88:7

Italy is not short of crucifixes and the Roman Catholic culture asserts that Jesus’ death is just an example of suffering for us. Therefore, we’re glad when the people of God have opportunity to counter this thought and proclaim the cross’ power: THE perfect glorious substitution of the Son, placating the Father’s wrath for those who trust in him.

  • Give thanks for JP’s opportunity to tutor R, a student from IBEI, the college in Rome, who did a placement with us in the spring and has just completed his final year thesis on atonement.
  • Give thanks too that R will move to Bologna this autumn to find a job and serve with us at FT. A great encouragement!
  • Give thanks that Sue has been able to publish her second beautifully illustrated children’s book ‘The Substitute’ explaining the great exchange on the cross, through Old Testament narrative.
  • Pray for wisdom in how to market the books better, for creativity in distribution, sales and reading so that the next generation really understand what happened to Jesus at the cross.
  • Pray for wisdom, faithfulness and tenacity, as we both pursue our publishing commitments alongside our ministry at FT.

For they deliberately “overlook this fact, … the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished….. But do not overlook this one fact,” beloved, …The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise … but is patient toward you.’ 2 Peter 3: 6—8.

It’s been fifteen years this July since we arrived in Italy! As years tick by, and friendships with Bolognese people continue, we see how so many ‘overlook the fact’ that the Lord has appointed a day not of floods. but of fire. Our task remains urgent, and we do not want to grow weary or forget that the Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. This past year has honestly been one of the most demanding, with acutely painful pastoral issues at church. However, the Lord enables us to persevere. and we would love you to pray that as FT grows numerically, we and the whole church would also grow in…

  • daily prayer, running to Jesus for grace to forgive, live and intercede for his church locally, nationally and internationally.
  • funding the ministry in and beyond FT. Our personal accommodation costs will decrease this summer, but the church still needs to ‘step up’ to fund fully the pastoral ministry, both in Bologna and especially at the church plant in Modena.
  • initiating ministries that serve a city, not ready for the final day.

Sending you our love. Thanking Jesus for facing the flood of God’s wrath for us.

JP and Sue xx

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Please pray for...

    • Pray for our regional government as they respond and plan after the devastating floods.

    • Praise the Lord for our recent children’s camp where we taught the book of Exodus, regarding the Warrior Lord, who hurls his enemies into the sea.

    • Thanks for recent publications proclaiming the glory of the cross, Jesus facing the floods of the Father’s wrath for us.

    • Pray for growth at FT, not only in number but in prayer, generosity and initiative for new ministries that serve the city.

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