“You’re moving to Italy? When can we visit?!” Whenever we share that we’re re-locating to Tuscany, people’s eyes light up. Rolling hills, cypress trees lining winding roads, guaranteed golden sunshine, endless vineyards and olive groves, and of course the world-famous gelato ... who wouldn’t want to live there?
Did you know around half a million Africans study abroad, with about 1 in 5 going to East Asia? International churches are a unique opportunity to equip the African church, since they constitute about 70-80% of their congregation in many East Asian cities.
I remember the day last year when I realised that the ongoing pandemic restrictions would end up scrapping every one of our carefully crafted plans for outreach events in our community, where we have been working for the last three years towards starting a new church.
France, the birthplace of John Calvin, saw a glorious revival in the mid-16th century with Calvin and others in Geneva training and sending thousands of pastors to evangelise and plant churches in France, and hundreds of thousands being converted.
Ireland can be a confusing place: one island, but two jurisdictions (with an invisible border); Irish (Gaelic) is the first official language yet almost no-one speaks it regularly; we are fiercely proud of our native sports (Gaelic football and hurling) but you may see more teenagers wearing Premier League football shirts.
They arrived late, eyes anxious, and fidgeted throughout the study. As Marcelo spoke, he couldn’t help but notice a group of unfamiliar faces. When the Bible study ended, the group sprang up to approach Marcelo.
“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.