Proverbs 16.9 teaches us that “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” As Janie and I wait for the Italian government to grant us visas to enter the country, we are learning more deeply the truth of this proverb. Our sending church, Christ URC, has done their due diligence in making careful plans for this mission. Counsel has been sought, committees have been formed, and funds have been raised. Having received from our elders the green light to go, my family and I have sold our home, shipped our goods and packed our bags. We can’t make our flight on July 9, however, unless we receive our visa. We applied to the Italian Consulate for religious visas, providing a vast array of documentation. The Consulate is holding our passports as they wait on a decision from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We ask everyone everywhere to pray. The Italian government is not generous when it comes to granting religious visas, especially to Protestant ministers from America who want to labor in a church that they (the Italian government) do not officially recognize. If the visa is delayed and/or denied, we will face some new uncertainties and challenges.
Nevertheless, we are confident that if the Lord wants us in Italy to labor for the gospel, he will put us there. Our Lord promised to build his church and that not even the gates of hell would prevail against it (Matt 16). He can easily open wide even the rustiest doors of bureaucracy. Please join us in prayer that the Lord’s will be done in this matter. Pray that his Word will go forth in Italy. And pray that he will supply us with his all-sufficient grace during this time of uncertainty.
~ Mike and Janie