Thank you; it seems like such a little thing to say, to those who have done so much. But we’ll say it anyway. Thank you, grazie — grazie mille, a thousand thanks! That’s the message we send to our home church, Open Door in Suffolk Virginia, today.
We met them 20 years ago, when they took in 3 strangers from Italy, us and our son (our daughter already lived on her own). Based only on the recommendation of great mutual friends. Folks, you have made it possible for us to remain here, serving God and his Italian people. And we owe you all a great debt of gratitude.
Faithfulness — so awesome — and so lacking in today’s culture.
Marriages fall apart at an astonishing rate, leaving confused children and broken hearts. Friends fall out, and often over silly things. Churches split, instead of learning to live as family, in true love, forgiveness, and humility on the part of all. So anymore, when we find faithfulness, it makes us sit up and take note.
We spent 3 months in our pastors’ home on that visit in 1997, getting to know one another. And our mutual heart for serving God and reaching out with his love cemented our relationship together. We love you pastors, though we don’t say it often enough.
And now, 20 years later, they’re still with us!
20 years ago, in January, the church took us under their wing and started supporting us. 20 years of awesome faithfulness. They have proved true to their promises, and stood by us in steadfast allegiance and constant affection. Which makes them awesome, and we are grateful! Knowing that every single month we will have the money to pay our house and living expenses is a huge relief and blessing to us.
But we also try to do our part by living simply.
First, because we want to be good stewards. But also because we owe it to these people — who have given, and continue to give us, so much.
We know times are harder everywhere. There are countless ways to use each dollar. And so we appreciate every penny given over the years.
But we also know that God will bless your generosity. Because generosity always comes with blessings of its own: a merry heart, more compassion for others, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve met someone’s needs. And we also know it because we pray these blessings for you!
But you’ve also given so much more to us through the years.
Your love, friendship, encouragement, and most of all prayer. Know that every time we hear from you, it lifts our hearts and spirits. But it is your prayers that give us courage to go on, and faith that God will complete the work he has begun here. We appreciate those more than we can say, and they are worth more than any amount of money ever could be.
And to our faithful readers here…
Rejoice with us because this example of faithfulness proves that we can still find faithfulness in our times! And please our heartfelt thanks for all for your prayers and constant encouragement. You will never know how many times they have brought joy to our hearts and spurred us to keep on keeping on!
You are all an important and real part of our work here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!