It brings me great joy to report that the gospel ministry here in Milan continues to flourish by God’s grace. Services are well attended, the congregation is learning and memorizing the catechism, and we are regularly blessed with visitors and inquirers.
Good Friday and Easter Services
On Friday, April 19, we had the church’s very first Good Friday service. At 8:00pm, the congregation gathered to hear seven readings from the gospel narratives on Christ’s passion. Seven men from the congregation participated, each taking a different reading. After each reading, we sang a hymn corresponding with the text. After the seventh reading, I preached a short sermon on, “Cosa significa la croce?” “What is the significance of the cross?” Crosses are ubiquitous here in Italy, not only atop churches in every direction, but also as jewelry and tattoos. Sadly, the cross is viewed in Italy as a cultural symbol rather than the place of God reconciling sinners to himself through his Son. It was a joy to proclaim the atoning death of Christ and the forgiveness of sins, and the message was joyfully received. We hope to make a Good Friday service an annual tradition here in Milan.
On Sunday, April 21, we had our Easter service. It was well-attended and we had two new families visit. I departed from my expositional series on the letter to the Ephesians and preached on 1 Corinthians 15.1-9, providing three reasons why we can be confident about the factuality of Christ’s resurrection: “La Tomba vuota, I Testimoni oculari, e la Trasformazione degli apostoli” (The empty tomb, the eyewitnesses, and the transformation of the apostles). I arranged the three evidences so that they each begin with the letter “T” in Italian, making it easier to remember. We pray that the Lord will use this message to encourage Italian Christians in their faith and also give them confidence when speaking about the gospel to others.
Using Technology for the Gospel
Using modern technology for the spread for the spread of the gospel has been part of the Reformation tradition since the early sixteenth century. Without the reformers’ courageous use of the newly invented printing press, the battlecry of Sola Fide and Sola Scripture would not have circulated throughout Europe as widely as it did during the 1500s.
Here in Milan, we are trying to maintain that tradition through the use of different technological sources for reaching people in our area. This includes everything from videotaping sermons each week and posting them on our website and Facebook page to producing Scripture and sermon quotes on Instagram with those pesky little hashtags. We are seeking to be wise and faithful with the resources and opportunity that the Lord has given us so that Christ will become known in this massive city. Most recently, we began utilizing a Facebook live feed on Sunday mornings. Since doing so, the church has been visited by two families that have previously watched the services live. We pray that the Lord will use these simple means for his glory and the good of his people.
A Bittersweet Goodbye
Some of you know that on April 4, the Lord called home Janie’s mother, Ines Nunez, after suffering from cancer for nearly nine months. Janie and her four siblings were very close with their mom, so her departure was emotionally difficult. She was an amazing woman who through a life of hard work, self-sacrifice and thoughtfulness, left a sterling example of how to glorify God through her vocation as a wife, mother, and grandmother. We are thankful that Janie was able to fly to California and be with her mom for the last two weeks of her life. We are even more grateful, though, that Ines is with her faithful Savior Jesus Christ in whom she put her trust. Iain and I flew out to California for two days in order to attend the funeral and be with family.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers, notes of encouragement, and financial support. There is so much work ahead of us, but the Lord continues to encourage us and bless us. Our confidence is not in our gifts or abilities, but in the power of his gospel which is able to save sinners to the uttermost, even in a spiritually dark land like Italy. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers!
~ Rev. Michael Brown
This mission to Milan is only possible with the faithful prayers and generous contributions of people like you. If you would like to help us meet our goal by making a donation, you may send a check to:
Escondido United Reformed Church
1864 N. Broadway
Escondido, CA 92026
Checks should be made out to Escondido United Reformed Church. Please indicate that the support is for Rev. Michael Brown as a missionary to Italy.
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