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July 10th Update – Hospitality and Healing

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Today was a fever dream. We were graciously invited to the home of a friend of Father Rito for a traditional Italian feast. As we sat amongst lemon trees surrounded by greenery and a garden with the quintessential Italian overlook of the coast, we were served our Primo course of Gnocchi with fresh Parmesan. Secondo was pork and fresh bread and tomatoes. Then we finished off the meal with a cake that came with a story.

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Before we started the meal, one of our mentors was asking us what we were here for. Father Rito abruptly stopped the conversation and ushered us into the kitchen. He said, pointing to a large cake and a pot of simple syrup infused with rum, “This is why you are here, this is your job.”

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Rito further explained that water, sugar, orange, and rum mixed together – this is community. We share our essence (our gifts, dreams, personality, who we are in Christ) into the water, and then with that, you can empower the church – or make the cake even sweeter if you’re following the analogy.

We were taught as the cake was served that Babà was Polish originally. Legend has it that the king of Naples fell in love with a Polish girl. The girl prepared the cake in Naples for him, but it was a dry cake, simple and plain. The Neapolitan people added simple syrup, orange, and rum to it, creating what is still traditionally served here in Naples today. The Polish girl and her dry cake found the sweetness of life right here in Naples. Our team is getting to experience the sweetness of life here in Italy too. La Dolce Vita!

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In this part of our journey, we are here to come alongside Father Rito’s Parish and grow in prayer together. We aren’t here to teach or fix but to continue to be learners with the people here. To keep asking God questions and let our curiosity lead us to a deeper understanding of God and what He’s doing here in Italy and in this world. We are growing and being activated in our prayer lives here. Some are seeing miracles, some are stepping out in boldness in praying for others, and some are learning how important intercession and intentional corporate prayer together is.

We believe that prayer is powerful and a weapon to fight wars against spiritual darkness, and we also know that prayer can bring power, healing, and miracles. When Jesus left this earth, He commissioned the disciples saying you will do even greater things than these you have seen (John 14:12). Do we believe Him? Do we still find those words true?

Our team got to see some of those miracles and healings on display at tonight’s prayer meeting at church. We got to share several stories with the church about the impact prayer has had on our lives. Our lovely Lysen got to share how prayer marked her life and her ability to feel God’s presence in a new way. Our brother Jacob shared how he’s had a breakthrough in praying for others and empowered us to step out and do the same. Chris and Dave Carlson shared their amazing story of supernatural healing after 15 years from a neurological disease often termed “suicide disease” because of the excruciating pain that it entails. Through a prayer meeting several years ago, Chris was healed by the grace of God and hasn’t had any further pain. After these stories, we invited people to receive healing prayers for themselves.

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One student got a breakthrough after several years of skepticism of healing. She knew God healed, and believed it for others but had never experienced someone being healed through her own prayers. When people with shoulder pain were asked to come to receive prayer, two ladies came down the aisle. Our student knew in her spirit which lady to lay hands on and which shoulder to touch. As she began praying, she didn’t know which words to use. Her prayer wasn’t long or elegant; it was hardly audible. But the student saw the lady lifting her arm like a bird wing in her mind. At that point, the person on the mic said, “Test it out, lift your arms.” The student didn’t get to see the face of joy, confusion, and elation as the lady raised her arm and realized she didn’t have pain. The student stayed skeptical until after the service the woman came up to our team smiling and raising her arm, astonished at what God had done.

Our team is overwhelmed with gratitude for this trip of a lifetime. We are blown away at how hospitable, welcoming, and loving the people of Italy are. And it’s been reaffirming our faith to get to see that God is ALIVE and He is still moving!! He is real, and the same yesterday, today, and forever!


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