Fields • Europe • Italy

 

 NOW is the time for church planting in key Italian cities,
but time may soon be running out.

IS ITALY REALLY A "MISSION FIELD"?
  From the past and to the present, very few Christians have seemed to consider Italy in need of the True Gospel. After all, it has been and remains the home to the Roman Catholic Church and can appear to be a very religious country. It may come as a surprise to many, however, that the last pope himself when considering Italy's spiritual passivity and modern secularism declared Italy in "need of evangelism." For many centuries the Bible has remained a closed book for most of its people. During Medieval times up until the end of World War II, personal Bible reading was actually prohibited and the freedom to preach the True Gospel did not exist. Biblical ignorance led to superstition, false teachings, idolatry, and religious hypocrisy. That, in turn, fostered materialism, humanism, spiritual indifference, and even atheism. Most Italians today feel they are "good people." They are generally well-off materialistically, so they feel self-sufficient. But just in case there really is a God, they already have a religion (whether practicing it or not) as their "back-up plan" that their parents chose for them as babies.Click to enlarge map

That is why BMW missionaries Dick and Laura Paul came to Florence, Italy in 1962. Dick began preparing Bible teaching radio programs in Italian to be aired on Radio Montecarlo into Italy. Local contacts were made and eventually a church was established as well as a local Christian radio station maintained for several years. In time, other missionary couples came to work in planting churches not only in Florence, but also in Trieste. These missionaries have now all either retired or left Italy for other reasons, except for Frank & Kathy King, who arrived in 1975.

 In the mid-1980s, the Kings moved to the Province of Venice to began a church-planting ministry in Northeast Italy. The heavily populated Veneto Region around the Kings is dotted with cities, towns, and little villages. Within an hour travel time around them are probably  1,000 communities without a Gospel-preaching church. Though seeing only meager fruit for years, they continued to evangelize and plant the "seed of the Gospel" through a variety of methods. In particular, Bible studies resulting from establishing friendships have led to saving faith. Now, not only is there a church established for the Italian population, but one for Filipino immigrants, and another for the ethnic Rom, better known as Gypsies.

Italian Church
Filipino Church
Gypsy Church

THE STAGE HAS BEEN SET!
The Kings praise the Lord for the many open doors and opportunities God is giving them, though it is almost overwhelming to not be able to take advantage of all of them. Currently, they assist the (Italian) Mirano and the Gypsy churches in a limited way. At present, Frank is the main leader of the Filipino church at Venice, and he has 3 additional weekly Bible Study groups as initial church-planting endeavors in Castelfranco, Montegrotto, and among Arabs. They are also assisting "long-distance" church planting near Lecce in southern Italy. Please pray for each of the vital areas of evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training that they are very involved in. Please also pray for more "laborers for the harvest" here in Italy! Pray for the nationals already leading and others being trained.

BMW'S FUTURE VISION  
  As God enables, BMW missionaries desire in the next 15 years to see at least 7 new churches established within a one-hour radius of the Italian church located at Mirano near the center of the Venice Province. This would be in addition to the Filipino and Rom (Gypsy) churches and the church-planting efforts near Lecce in southern Italy. Obviously, this is too much for the current missionaries alone to accomplish. They estimate they need the help of another 8-10 missionary couples and/or singles. (Read the Italy Vision [PDF])

While Italy is a democracy and currently enjoys much freedom, missionaries most recently are experiencing a lot of difficulties in getting visas. Could time be running out for new missionaries to come?

LEARN MORE...

Go to
Read Luca's Testimony
 
WE CHOSE CHRIST
(Nuns' Testimony)
HE BROUGHT ME OUT
(Luca's Testimony)
[PDF]
 

 



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For more information on the Italy ministry, please contact Dale Fries, BMW's Area Director for Europe.

 

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