Drum roll, please!
The Extra Lift Matching Fund campaign report is: Yes! We’ve been lifted!
Before: There were 51 individuals and 54 churches supporting the mission work we do among immigrants and victims of human trafficking in Italy on a regular basis.
After: There are now 93 individuals and 58 churches supporting our work on a regular basis!
This week’s news:
1) Jim met today with James, a Nigerian pastor whose church in northern Italy is interested in partnering with Italian Baptists. Five immigrant churches joined the Union during last weekend’s Biennial meeting. Pray for us as we have more relationships to maintain.
2) I led the first meeting of the women’s group at the Italian church in Marghera. Ideas expressed for meetings were: “I think we should do projects to help the needy.” “I think we should study women of the Bible.” “I think we should plan a schedule to clean the church.” Mary’s and Martha’s in the form of Maria’s and Marta’s were there, for sure! Pray for this women’s ministry to be a stabilizing force in the church.
3) At last, I have the opportunity to do outreach to women in prostitution in partnership with an organization that offers accompaniment to medical appointments and educational materials to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. Praise God for this open door.
These sisters in Sicily continue to speak out against human trafficking and prostitution after our meeting a year ago.
4) The Italian Prime Minister has been in the news again for his exploitation of young women. At the same time, national budget cuts have closed regional offices of the anti-trafficking hotline and threaten its very existence. Government funds were also cut for the protection and social integration of victims of human trafficking. Without these programs, girls like our friend Gail have no legal possibility of escaping their traffickers and starting a new life in Italy. Their only option is deportation back to the desperate conditions that made them vulnerable to traffickers in the first place. Pray for all Italian groups advocating for the reinstatement of funding to vital programs and addressing the demand side of prostitution.
Your missionaries in Italy,
Debbie… along with Jim, Luke & Ben