“Let’s get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset and olive groves. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze ... you can go round and round in circles for years.”
With winds up to 280km/h leaving 1.5 million displaced and ruining 711,000 hectares of crops, Cyclone Idai grabbed the headlines earlier this year. It caused an estimated $1bn damage to infrastructure across Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The Wild Atlantic Way is (in the words of the tourist board) an “unforgettable coastal touring route” that takes tourists along the West Coast of Ireland “to enjoy breathtaking scenery and exceptional experiences”.
We arrived in Kurdistan 10 months ago with a commitment to learning the local dialect of Kurdish and understanding the culture. This was with the aim that we might be equipped to share the good news about Jesus Christ, disciple believers and, under God’s hand, see Kurdish churches planted for his glory: churches with mature believers, reaching out with the gospel, discipling new believers and seeking to be a blessing to the wider culture.
After a few years in northern Italy, we have moved ‘home’ to Sicily. Here I grew up, here my parents laboured. Palermo is the 2018 Italian ‘Capital of Culture’. And what a feast of richness in this city, capital of Sicily, with over 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, defined by many as ‘the most conquered’ of world cities.
Imagine a growing town with schools, shops, industries, clubs, sports and everything else a modern town ought to have, except for one thing: a church that faithfully proclaims the gospel. Imagine a town that has in fact never had an evangelical church in it, even though it has a very long history.
In March, which is the month when the temperatures are too hot for people to work in the fields, Fidel took a trip up north, near the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. He joined four pastors in their evangelistic film campaign amongst a strongly Muslim and animistic population.
Whilst most Kenyans identify themselves as Christian, many people do not fully understand the gospel or how the whole Scripture points to Christ. Many remain unchanged by the good news of Jesus Christ, and few are seeking to reach those of other religions.
The fields of the west of Ireland are green for a reason. Clouds roll in most days from the Atlantic and if you leave the house without an umbrella, you usually regret it. Yet spiritually this region has been a desert for 150 years, with religious culture hindering people from finding a living faith in Jesus.