The women of five of the world's continents will be represented on Sunday as we celebrate the Women's World Day of Prayer in the Baptist Church of Rovigo. But, the presence of women of five continents is normal in this multi-cultural church. Established before the presence of large numbers of immigrants in its town, the church has made dialogue and growth on the part of both Italians and immigrants a priority. A blending of worship styles has not only made immigrants feel at home, but it has led to a continuing participation of Italian young people in the worship services. It is always great fun to preach in this church!
Several of the women have invited friends of theirs for the special service. After the service, we will have a women's Agape meal (potluck). It goes without saying at Rovigo that a potluck is an international extravaganza! After the potluck, I will lead the women in dialogue and an activity around the theme of "Benevolence"--the theme suggested by our Baptist sisters of the Caribbean. The Caribbean is real to us at Rovigo, because it is not the first time our IM colleague Kihomi has shared about the work among Baptist women in Haiti, and because some of the women of the church were involved in visiting and encouraging a Haitian woman and her two children here at Padova two years ago. The younger child and his mother and sister were brought by the Red Cross to Italy for a heart valve repair shortly after the devastating earthquake two years ago.
It was heartbreaking for us to not be able to help the mother and her two children when they asked to stay in Italy rather than be returned to Haiti. On Sunday, while celebrating the Women's World Day of Prayer--lifting our sisters around the world up in prayer and sharing in the offering for micro-credit projects to help women get on their feet in Haiti--we ask God to keep us in Step with the Spirit and to cause us to bear the fruit of the Spirit in Italy and around the world.
Please pray for: - Sunday's event and the new women who will visit the church for the first time
-Jim's safe return from Vietnam on Saturday
-Next week's Italian Baptist Pastors' Conference and Annual Meeting
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!