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Church Planting Europe Field Story

The Broken In My Jerusalem

"God calls us to follow where He leads, trusting in the means and details of how that will happen. We need to obey as God opens doors for us to be a part of being His witness to the ends of the earth. "

     Over 60,000 asylum seekers arrived in Italy by inflatable boats in the first five months of 2017. Of all refugees arriving in Europe 82% arrive via Italy. Italy is experiencing deep economic crisis and having to pay 98% of the cost associated with the refugees doesn’t help. Of the 60,000, nearly 7,000 of these were unaccompanied minors - and many refugees lie about their age, claiming to be older than they are. Unless these refugees are taught necessary life skills, they remain a highly vulnerable population, many involved in prostitution or taken advantage, incapable of finding adequate employment in their host country. The Church can step up and can help to meet these practical and urgent needs.
     I was able to participate in the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) in May. It takes place every few years in order to unite, equip, and empower practitioners and advocates who compassionately challenge injustice and offer freedom to people exploited by prostitution, including sex trafficking.
     One Kenyan pastor there shared that he decided if he was ever to reach the ends of the earth he had to start first by reaching his “Jerusalem” well. His church grew with effective impact until the time came that he could no longer ignore the only area in which his church had zero impact: the red light district. He started by finding one other person to start walking through the area to pray. He cried out to God to show him what - if anything - could be done by their church to reach this part of their “Jerusalem”. So began his church’s education and journey into the reality of human trafficking which led to its impact today.
     His testimony reminded us of our own journey as church planters in Italy. We have never lived in a city which did not have a very visible problem with human trafficking. Our children have grown up praying for these people as they passed them on the way to church. It has been very significant to finally be a part of church ministries organized to acknowledge these people in need. To be able to bring the Good News to this population segment of our “Jerusalem” has not been easy or even approved of by all, but it’s satisfying to obey.
     Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Where is God calling you to? How can you be active in ministry in your “Jerusalem” even today? God calls us to follow where He leads, trusting in the means and details of how that will happen. We need to obey as God opens doors for us to be a part of being His witness to the ends of the earth.

*Statistics from Ansa news articles

 

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