Thank you dear friends for your prayer and financial support for our Italy ministry trip to serve the church planting team in Trieste. It was truly a blessed and effective outreach in countless ways. Our ministry was two fold – by day we served at an evangelical English camp for kids and by night we spent time in unbelieving host family’s homes and shared the gospel. We have already heard stories of these contacts bearing fruit as many have visited the church since we have left. Please enjoy these updates Tali wrote while on the field and know that the Lord used your contribution in a mighty way.
Trieste English Camp Report- Day 2
“Wow!!! Everything is going so well and GOD IS GOOD!!! Today we talked to the children at camp about the 99 sheep and the Prodigal son. I can only speak for my group but it was so amazing how much these children understand these stories and somehow just know what God will do next. It just shows that the word of God is written on our hearts
One of my little boys had very interesting answers to the questions that were asked after the stories were read. When asked why the shepherd would go after the 1 sheep when he already had 99, he said, ‘well, the shepherd didn’t want an uneven number of sheep!’. In the story of the prodigal son, when asked what he thought the father should do, he said that if he was the father, he would kick the son out (after he came back). So I asked him, what would he want his father to do if he made a mistake? Should he be kicked out of his house or would he want another chance? At that point he admitted that he would want another chance with his father. It was so cool to see him really think about the stories. Also, listening to the kids reconcile these parables to real life, and talk about how much Jesus loves us and how he cares about us and how every single one of us is so important in his eyes, it really touches your heart.
Another amazing part of this trip that has brought tears to my eyes, is the morning and afternoon singing time. Now let me tell you, all of these songs WILL be stuck in our heads for the rest of time, but watching the kids (most of which have no Christian background and have nobody in their life who has any faith) dance around, singing and shouting about how much God loves us and how he holds us in his hands, getting so excited about this gospel that they hardly understand, is like watching the most amazing thing on earth. I’m sorry I can’t come up with any examples, I just don’t think there is much to compare it too. Watching God start his work in saving these little souls is the most amazing gift I have ever gotten.
Now it is almost midnight and I need to wrap up because we have a big day of camp-day 3 tomorrow and a prayer walk after the camp is over!!! But I just wanted to ask for some prayer requests-
1) There are 2 little girls who just showed up on the first day, who were not signed up and nobody really knew where they came from. Some of the Italian speakers tried to talk to them but they just seemed to be confused. My mom, Andie, my sister, Noel, and I kept hearing familiar words as the girls talked to each other and finally my mom walked up to them and said, ‘Minya-Zavoot Andie’ and both girls absolutely lit up. As most of you know, my family and I have been to Russia quite a few times and have picked up a few words from our trips. Evidently, these girls had just moved here from the Ukraine with their family! Since none of us Davidsons are actually fluent in Russian, Google translate has become our best friend as we try to teach the girls games, tell them the stories, and let them know what is going on. It was found out today that the were supposed to be dropped off at another camp (not done by the church) and when we told the girls and their dad that, the girls were visibly upset at having to leave. As of now, we have gotten permission to keep the girls at our camp, and even got a Russian translator for tomorrow! So please pray that we can keep the girls for these two weeks and pray that they will be able to hear the gospel well and share it with their family
2) Please pray for every child here who is hearing the gospel and pray that even through these language barriers, they would understand and accept the love of our Lord.
3) Please pray for the Sports camp team as they are struggling with the language barriers and the rules that keep them from bringing up any kind of religious talk. Please pray that God will give them the chance and the wisdom in word choice to use with their kids and host families.
4) Please praise God with us for the love and generosity of our host families who have helped in every way they can and who have given up their own comfort for us
5) Finally, please pray that our teams, Sports and English camp, will be able to find the words that will most glorify God and will be able to get over this pesky jet lag in time for our final days!
Thank you all for your love and support and please keep us and all of Trieste in your prayers!!!”
Trieste English Camp Report- Day 4
“Hello wonderful church family! I just want to start off by saying a huge thank you to all of you wonderful people who helped to make this trip possible
This has been a life changing experience for so many and I am so so thrilled that God has allowed me to be a part of it!
Elio, the pastor of the church, is my fellow leader in the best group, and it has been so special to watch him with the kids, he has such a heart for the lost. There is also a picture of him, playing board games with some of the kids.
So the camp has just been incredible the last two days, children asking wonderful questions and relationships are being forged! Getting hugs from these kids and being told that they are so thankful that we are here is the most amazing feeling!
One of the girls in my group, Alida, said something that really made me think today. We had a paper with three thermometers on it, each one empty and with a word beneath it. One was for family, one for friends, and one for failure. The kids were supposed to fill up each one with the amount of worry they have about each subject. Alida asked what the ‘failure’ one meant. When it was explained to her, she shrugged and said, “I will put nothing there, sure you can fail but there it will always get better.”
Part of me felt encouraged by that because it represents the ‘second’ chances we are given throughout our life. Another part of me felt afraid. Someone who does not have God in their life could use that comment through their whole life, ‘I can always fix it later.’
This is why we are doing these camps, we want these children to think about what happens in their life, we want them to know the reason that they get more than two chances when they sin- that someone paid for those second and third and fourth chances when he gave His life for us.
As I watched those kids fill some of their thermometers all the way up, my heart ached, because they don’t have that peace that we can have, they desperately want those worries to be lifted off of them but they just don’t know how quite yet. They have been given the puzzle pieces and they are working on putting them together.
Today, we made some keychains that say, ‘Jesus rescues’ on them and other than these kids being able to spell that all out without any help, it was just really cool watching them do that, even if they don’t know if they believe it yet. By the way, ‘Jesus rescues’ is the theme of the whole camp.
My favorite thing each day, continues to be the singing in the morning and afternoon. Each time, tears come to my eyes as I hear the kids voices and watch them jumping up and down and dancing in the joy that they feel. I now understand this camp to be the effort to bring that joy to every day and every part of their lives.
Another thing that happened in the last few days was an incredible prayer walk. We drove up to a Catholic Church high up on a hill and were able to look down on the city and pray over every single person. While we were up there, Pastor Elio gave us a few prayer requests that I will add at the end.
But while we were up there, we walked through the church and were asked what we noticed about the place of Jesus. We all mentioned how Mary and the Pope were pretty much at the center of all things and Jesus was shown as frail and unable. We prayed over the city and prayed for the the souls and the misinterpretation of Jesus that is on many of those people’s minds.
While we drove up there, we drove through a forest and saw all these beautiful trees that were covered in vines. I asked Simone, someone on our team who helps with the kids, why the vines grew and what they were. He told me that they grow no matter what you do to kill them. They are beautiful, but they are pests and they will kill the trees slowly. We thought that was an incredible example of all of Italy, it is so beautiful with amazing history (that my mom won’t let us go without learning) and a warm culture, but it is being suffocated and murdered by the darkness that is disguised as beauty. Please pray that the true beauty of the Gospel would be known among these people through the church planting team here.”
These are just a few of the stories of God moving while we were there. Please pray for Trieste Evangelica Church there in Italy when the Spirit brings it to mind and read over the specific families that we will continue to have contact with over the next year. Slip this prayer guide into your Bible to pray over during your devotional time. Pray for a mighty move of the Spirit in the post-Christian culture of Italy and thank you for supporting this valuable ministry!