Monday, March 21, 2011

from ryan: "...a great door for effective work has been opened." (1 Cor. 16:9)

i don't really spend a lot of time 'adding' things to this blog (other than pictures), but i wanted to share some specific things that have been going on in my life over the last few months. in 1 corinthians 16:9, Paul is talking to the church in corinth and he is debating over how/when he will see them again. it appears that he struggles with this decision (v. 7), but he can not deny the opportunity that has been presented (v. 9) in Ephesus. personally, i have felt these same feelings living here in florence. i think about the opportunities that are awaiting in memphis (or wherever else) and i can't help but think about the great door that has been opened here in florence. two people have made me think about this more over the past month and i would like to talk to you about these two guys that have already begun to make a huge impact on my life.

first, this is arnold packler. i had the privilege of meeting arnold at the university of florence's "festival of nations". Arnold is 26 years old and was born near Salzburg, Austria. He is participating in the erasmus program in florence until the end of July and is working towards completing his masters in chemical engineering. i invited him to our friday night activities at the bible school in scandicci & also the thursday night italian bible study at the church and he has not missed an opportunity to meet with us since. honestly, all i did was offer. he is a outstanding person and is always the first to try and help. he has a wonderful attitude and outlook on life and has offered a fresh perspective to our group. i'm looking forward to getting to know him better as we develop our friendship. also, arnold is a runner & he has persuaded me to start running with him in hopes of maybe participating in a half marathon in april here in florence. oh boy...i'll keep you posted on that
second, this is moses (or mose). moses was invited to our italian thursday night bible study by an italian member of the church almost a month ago. he is from china and he is in his thirties. ever since coming to the first devotional, he has become a staple of our monday evening men's bible study at the bible school in scandicci. he is not fluent in italian or english but communicates incredibly well. somehow, every week he manages to impress upon us a different perspective and i firmly believe its the work of the holy spirit in his life. he, also, has a wonderful heart and has been given an incredible ability to paint. the reason he is in florence is to study art because the government in china has apparently decided to begin allowing christianity AND has decided to FUND IT! according to moses, the chinese government has spent millions of dollars building christian churches throughout the major cities in china in hopes of building christianity in the country. incredible. the government has sent him to florence to study art because they have commissioned him to do several works for some of the new churches they are building. also, this has become an awesome addition to my notes section in my bible:
(this is john 1:1-2 written in chinese by moses at our men's bible study on monday nights)

so, i came to italy to serve italians and two men from austria & china are making an impact on my life on a daily basis. i don't think i comprehend how truly awesome the God i serve is nor do i understand how powerful the life & message of His Son was/is. i ask that you continue to pray for us as we attempt to simply follow Jesus everyday.

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