September 2019

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”  - Jeremiah 29:7

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” - Jeremiah 29:7

New Season
With the arrival of September, a new season has begun here in Milan. Everyone has returned from their annual vacations in August, children will begin a new school year in the coming weeks, and we have recommenced our catechism service. Our church was completely full yesterday (Sep 1), with nearly all members in attendance plus some new and regular visitors. This coming Sunday I will conclude my series on the Psalms. It is truly amazing to see the gospel at work, even as it is preached by a minister with an American accent! God is good, and we are encouraged. 

Eating and Talking Together
Janie and I have committed to hosting every week a different family in the church for dinner and conversation. This has proved to be a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know people more intimately and spend quality time with them, especially since fellowship over food is very important in Italian culture! We are making a conscious effort to adapt to Italian customs and cuisine, even taking our passeggiata (evening walk) around 7:00pm and eating dinner at 8:30pm as the locals do. God has given us a love for the people of this city and especially the dear saints of this precious congregation.

Pray for our Neighbors
Over the past six months, we have been developing a good relationship with our next-door neighbors. Like most Italians, they are nominal Roman Catholics, but they have expressed a lot of interest in understanding the differences between Catholicism and Protestant beliefs. We have had them over for dinner and they in turn have hosted us. On both occasions, we ended up talking about the gospel and the nature and authority of Scripture for several hours. They are very disillusioned with what they described as the corruption and hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church, and have many questions for us. Please remember them in your prayers. We would LOVE to see them come to church in the future.

New Families and Visitors
Nearly every week, we have the joy of seeing visitors in our worship service, not just those who are visiting Milan from other countries or other parts of Italy (which is also a blessing!), but local Milanese people. This is a great encouragement to us, as we are able to see God’s Word at work in the lives of the congregation who are inviting their neighbors and loved-ones to hear good news. One family in particular, the Rinaldi family (Eliseo, Cristina, Giovanni, and Giacomo), has been attending Filadelfia every week for nearly five months. They are mature in the faith, love the gospel, and fit in well to the life of the church. They are looking forward to the new members’ class in October and joining the congregation formally. We are grateful to God for the slow growth we are seeing.

Dr. Michael Horton Visiting Milan
The church leadership is planning a Reformation conference during November 1-3, in which Dr. Michael Horton will be our guest speaker. He will speak on the topic of his book Ordinary, which is available in Italian. We are looking forward to this opportunity to invite as many people as possible in the Milan area to learn more about the Reformation and the ordinary means of grace in the life of the believer. Please pray for this event that the Lord may use it for his glory.

Weekly Sermons on Youtube
If you are interested in brushing up on your Italian or have an Italian-speaking friend, be sure to check out our growing sermon archives on the CRF Youtube channel, which you can find here.

Iain Starts 9th Grade
As you may remember, Iain completed 8th grade here in Milan and will begin 9th grade on Sep 3. He attends an international school where he is required to study Italian, English and a third language. We are grateful to God that he did well last year and made a few friends. We pray that the Lord will continue to be gracious to him this school year, always strengthening his faith in Christ and preparing him for a lifetime of service to his neighbor. This is, of course, a massive change for a 13-year old. We are grateful for your prayers for Iain.

Bureaucratic Challenges Continue
Our next appointment at the immigration office is scheduled for September 18. Thus far, we have met every requirement that the Italian government has made of us to obtain our permesso di soggiorno (residency permits), but still do not have them. We pray that this next appointment, in which we must show our marriage certificate and Iain’s birth certificate officially translated into Italian and certified by the State of California and the Italian courts, will be sufficient. We have come to learn, however, that there is always a surprise. We are grateful for your prayers in this regard.

The Gospel Need in the City of Milan
The Milan metropolitan area (also known as Grande Milano) is 13,110 and has a reported 8.2 million people. San Diego county, in comparison, is 11,722 sq. km and has 3.4 million people. The Milan metropolitan area has only 1 confessional Reformed/Presbyterian church that would meet NAPARC standards. San Diego county, on the other hand, has 30.  We only have one life with which to serve the Lord and do our part in the Great Commission. Let's plant churches in places where there are few, and make disciples of Jesus to the end of our days.

Grazie di Cuore
As always, Janie and I want to thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support. There is no way we could do this work without the faithful prayers and encouragement of God’s people. We are simply amazed that this little congregation is growing in numbers, in knowledge, and in love for one another. All glory goes to God and his amazing grace.  May the Lord keep us faithful with the time and opportunity he has given us to make disciples of Jesus in Milan. What a joyous honor!

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.

Michael Brown