Having all worked hard to raise funds for the trip, we were Sicily-bound…..
After being let in on the heart and vision that drive Jesus Generation and the lives of Josh and Marco and their families and church, we were on board and ready to put our all in to serving these families, the people of Sicily and each other.
The week consisted of various outings and tasks, for example:
A large derelict building close to the city centre has been purchased by Jesus Generation and other churches in the area as a safe place for the homeless and refugees to eat, wash, hang out, play basketball and be seen by a dentist or doctor if necessary. We worked in and around this building and got a lot done in the hours that we spent there during the week. I particularly enjoyed the vigorous, if somewhat aggressive assertion that went in to winning a fight against lino glued down since the 70s. “Leave that flooring, it will be hard work” was the advice, “no no, we’ve got this” was our response.
We know that the power of prayer is real, so of course it took a front seat during the week. We were out on the streets blessing the city and the people who live and move through it. One morning we followed a prayer map that the Stanhopes and Louise had created. We spoke prosperity, possibility and provision over a huge piece of God-given land. This will one day be a place of peace, refuge and hope for immigrants and refugees coming in to Italy from countries South and East of the island. What is impossible with man is possible with God.
Whether behind the scenes putting together an Ikea home to house future intern teams, out and about getting to know a mixture of immigrants and locals in and around the city, or going to spend time with families in the Roma camp nearby, we found it a privilege to get to serve and partner with what these guys are doing, and seeing firsthand how they are being led and blessed by an almighty God and loving Father.
Although a lot can be squeezed in to a week, it was only really a small glimpse in to the heartbreak and hope, separation and restoration and suffering and provision that seem to be ebbing and flowing side by side as God’s spirit and kingdom collide with the world.
We were struck by the hunger, sacrifice and selfless love that oozed out of Josh and Marco and we’ve been left encouraged and empowered to continue asking, seeking and knocking, running further in to the depths of God’s heart and advancing the kingdom of heaven on Earth.
With all the mission-trip boxes ticked off (a few cold showers, plenty of minibus-bonding time, the odd mosquito bite and let’s be honest, some “wees in the wild”) we returned home not only with a lovely glow and a few extra pounds, but of course plenty to process and celebrate as we get to step out in greater freedom and power as children of God.
by Steph Hilton-Turvey