Debbie and Jim Kelsey, Italy
Debbie and Jim assist the Evangelical Christian Baptist Union of Italy in ministry to English-speaking immigrant, particularly African, congregations. This includes local church ministry and theological and ministerial training of leaders. Also involved in urban mission, Debbie helps the Union to develop ministry among women trafficked for work in the sex industry.
They write: The Union of Christian Evangelical Baptists in Italy, our partnering group here, held a conference last week to study the work and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You may wonder why Italian Baptists are particularly interested in the work of Dr. King at this moment. As we have written before, immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa are streaming into Italy looking for a better life for themselves and a means of support for the extended family they left behind in their homelands. These immigrants sometimes encounter prejudice and discrimination in Italy. Their lives are often hard and their status in Italy insecure. Italian Baptists feel a deep calling under God to care for and advocate on behalf of these people. They feel that the teachings of Dr. King can guide them as they fulfill this calling. They invited to their conference guests from America who participated in the civil rights movement, hoping to learn from their experiences as well. The program committee juxtaposed images of the American civil rights movement and immigrants in Italy to help people make the connection between the two.
They invited Dr. Henry Mugabe, president of the Baptist seminary in Zimbabwe, to participate in the program as well. (Italian Baptists have a partnership agreement with the Baptist convention in Zimbabwe. In particular, Italian Baptists help support and supply a medical clinic there.) Dr. Mugabe shared about being faithful to the Gospel in his very troubled homeland.
Please remember the following concerns as you pray:
- Dr. Mugabe and his wife Hermenia as they minister under difficult circumstances in their native Zimbabwe.
- Italian Baptists are they reach out to immigrants and show to them the love of Jesus Christ and the power of faith in him.
- Ben (11) and Luke (13) as they attend their school, make friends, and find their places in this new life.
- Jim’s mother as she has hip replacement surgery at the end of the year