Reaching out in Italy
What do an ex-London theological student, a native of Rome with impeccable English and a butcher from northern Italy have in common? The answer is that they all have a vision to bring the gospel of God’s grace to their fellow Italians. And this is beginning to materialise in a church planting and publishing work in the city of Mantova.
To many of us, Italy is a land of fabulous art, wonderful ancient ruins, and football-mad people, who cook superb pasta and pizza! The sad reality is that like the rest of Western Europe it is enveloped in spiritual darkness and cloaked with visible reminders of the dominance of Roman Catholicism.
However Andrea Artioli, Giacomo Lerici and Gabriele Magliocchi long to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to their fellow countrymen. Andrea trained at LTS in the early 1990s. He is married with two young children. Giacomo runs his own butcher’s shop in downtown Mantova. One of his three children, 12-year-old Gabriele, is physically and mentally disabled.
These two were set aside as elders to lead the ministry of Sola Grazia (Grace Alone) church in Porto Mantovano. They have been joined by Gabriele Magliocchi, a native of Rome whose exceptional English is being used to translate Christian books into Italian.
The twin aims of church planting and publishing are focussed in Coram Deo Ministries. The church in Porto Mantovano is hopefully the first of a number of church plants; and it is hoped to start publishing Christian books very soon.
Sola Grazia was founded in February 2008 and meets in a disused factory on the main street of Porto Mantovano. Its shocking pink front means passers-by can hardly miss it! Nor can they miss the words blazed on its front: ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’. Such words in a city equating Christianity with Roman Catholic tradition are remarkable!
The task they face is daunting, yet they trust in a great God and preach the gospel of sovereign grace.