I would like to begin by asking for prayers for all of our brothers and sisters who have been afflicted with the Delta variant of COVID-19. As mentioned last week, a number of staff and campers returned from Camp Pinecrest with this illness. Some have suffered fevers lasting for days.
Our camp staff members have been on the front lines of selfless service for our youth. I want to thank all who put their whole heart into providing an unforgettable camp experience including both Christian education and recreation for our young people.
We also know of many around the world who have been infected, including those in other Church of God groups. We pray earnestly that they recover quickly from this highly contagious illness.
Trip to Rome, Georgia last Sabbath
Last Sabbath on the way home from Camp Woodland in Georgia, Beverly and I stopped to visit our congregation and ministry in Rome, Georgia. Friday evening, we had dinner with the newly arrived assistant pastor Nick Lamoureux along with his wife, Megan, and eight-month-old daughter, Maddie. We have valued our relationship for the past nearly two years, starting with their year-long assignment in Malawi, then more training and study at the home office, and now ordination and service in our field ministry.
On the Sabbath, we visited the Rome congregation. It is a very engaging church and we thoroughly enjoyed being with them. Afterward, we went to the home of pastor Rick Beam and his wife, Angela, where we spent the afternoon visiting. Please pray for Angela, who is recovering slowly from colon cancer surgery. Please pray for all others who we come to know who have serious health matters.
I am ever grateful for our ministry—veterans and young alike—who are driven with a pure mission to serve the people whom God has called.
God’s Work in Italy
Carmelo Anastasi, the director of our Italian work, wrote this encouraging report to me which I will share with you.
“I am pleased to inform you that on July 25, 2021, our Lord has added ten more new members to His Church in Italy. Last year, we had nine baptisms. These new members were aided by Facebook and more than 120 video sermons published on our YouTube channel LaBuonaNotiziaTV.
“The video sermons on YouTube deal with biblical themes aimed at awakening our audience (that is predominantly Catholic) from spiritual numbness. Our channel has over 20,000 subscribers and we have had over a million views of the video ‘Evident Signs That Christ’s Return Is Near.’
“All of our video sermons on YouTube include a link to the UCG.org website. Many viewers contact us and want to know more. We invite them to follow our Bible studies every Tuesday evening, where they can ask questions and receive our answers live. This method has proved to be very effective over the past two years. It has, in fact, produced nearly 100 new people who regularly return to connect with us via video conference and participate in our Sabbath services.
“It is really true that faith comes from hearing the Word, but also from reading it. We have recently been able to produce an Italian version of the brochures on clean and unclean meats, biblical Holy Days, marriage and family, the Ten Commandments and the time of the end. These are some of the topics that most highlight our doctrinal identity to the Italian public.
“Over the past two years, we have shipped over 1,500 pieces of each booklet. We plan to translate and print more brochures gradually as funds permit.
“The coronavirus pandemic has awakened the consciences of many towards biblical prophecy. It seems that the Church in Italy has finally begun to experience significant numerical as well as spiritual growth.
“The Feast of Tabernacles in Italy this year will see about 120 participants, of which 50% are from the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries. We hope everyone can travel and participate. We will be providing more information soon. God’s work in Italy would not be able to progress and grow if not for the help of the Church at the international level, towards which our gratitude, loyalty and sincere Christian love always go.”