Greetings from the Centro Evangelico!
We had a wonderful Easter celebration with many unbelievers in attendance.
We started with a traditional Umbrian breakfast of cheese bread and eggs.
Then we enjoyed worship led by the choir and children’s choir.
Finally we listened to a wonderful message on Jesus’ words on the cross.
The Gospel was proclaimed, may Jesus Christ be praised!
I don’t often forward notes from others, but I just received a note from my parents, veteran missionaries Fred and Rachel Whitman, that you do not want to miss.
First, they talk about a unique opportunity: an Italian Christian History Tour, led by my Dad.
It is unique in three ways:
1. It may be the last tour my Dad organizes
2. It would be a great opportunity for you to enjoy Italy, learn about our history and have a greater understanding of the need of the country.
3. For a tour of its kind, it is truly a great deal. My Dad never makes any money off it…he loses money every time, but he considers it worth it because of what it does toward raising awareness in the hearts of the participants to the needs of Italy.
The second part is regarding our new deacon! As a church body we were able to vote on a new deacon for our church body.
Soon, we will update you on our furlough plans, but this message is time sensitive, so without further ado, happy reading, and we hope to see many of you here!
(If you subscribe to both letters I apologize for the redundancy!)
Jon and Melodee
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
I’m sure that like most people you started this year reflecting afresh on what really matters to you personally, in your family, in your church ministry.
Why do we do what we do?
There can be many answers to this question, but ultimately the Gospel is quite clear that all we do in this life must be for Christ and point to Christ. In Peter’s words: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
No matter how you approach it, no matter who you are, where you live, eventually we will all have to face the undeniable truth that there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
We need to live for Him, and we need to proclaim Him until he returns.
Sunday, as a church, we said goodbye to a good friend. For the last year, Daniel (Ransom) and I have been preaching through First and Second Peter. This message has been so gripping that I have probably spent more than my fair share of time preparing it.
I have learned a lot through preaching this series. First of all, I have learned that I really love to preach and that God seems to have used me in that area. However, I also learned more about my weaknesses — in particular that I have a hard time managing more than one thing at a time. When this Monday came, a shocking realization took over…in three months we leave for a four-month furlough, and we had only a handful of meetings lined up, no vehicle, no prayer cards, no display and no tickets!
God has been so good to us. We have seen Him work not just through the preaching, but in many areas in our lives. Every time I sit down to write a prayer letter I ask myself, “What should I leave out?”
So here is a quick summary of four areas of praise and desperate need for your prayers: Recent ministry highlights, furlough plans, family and health.
- Recent ministry highlights
- Young Couples Ministry – We have been blessed in seeing God work through our new young couples group that meets every Friday night.
- A five minute cappuccino turned into a two hour conversation about God.
- Melodee’s piano lessons have brought about many spiritual conversations.
- Pretty much everywhere we go, God has been opening doors to evangelistic conversations.
- Preaching has allowed me to invite many unbelievers to embrace the Gospel every week in church as well as on television and on the radio.
- So far we have sown a lot but have not reaped. We look forward to see God’s Word change hearts.
- Our new website! Jonny has grown up. We now have a new domain: www.jonathanwhitman.com! Our old address will redirect to this new one! We love any feedback you might have to make it even better!
- Furlough Praise and Prayer Requests
- Praise: We bought tickets this week! We will be in the States (mostly on the East coast) for a “half” furlough from May 16th through September 5th. Next year we will focus more on the Midwest.
- Prayer Requests:
- We need to fill up our calendar. We are still trying to contact churches to be able to spend time sharing all that God has been doing in Italy since our last visit! Pray for our schedule to fill up! Here is our itinerary. https://jonathanwhitman.com/furlough/
- We need a vehicle for furlough. We are praying for a reliable minivan or similar vehicle for four months.
- Pray that we will be able to give an effective presentation that includes all that God has been doing and what we hope to see accomplished in the near future. We want to be a blessing to as many of you as possible, because you are a blessing to us!!
- Pray for additional support. So many of you already faithfully and generously support our ministry. Unfortunately, we have lost some significant support that leaves us about $350 short a month. We know God provides, so please pray!
- Family Praise and Prayer Requests
- Praise: Thanks to your generous gifts, we were able to buy a piano! I was also able to purchase a travel case for my French horn that will allow me to bring it to the States with us!
- Prayer Requests:
- Melodee has been reaching out by teaching piano lessons to children and adults from our church, as well as unbelievers. She has also just finished writing an excellent e-brouchure about ministry in Italy that will soon be available on the website of Baptist Mid-Missions.
- Noah is enjoying Italian first grade and music classes! This year he is taking an intro to music class, choir, and every month he is sampling a different musical instrument. This month he is learning the French horn!!!
- Eva is enjoying preschool and talking up a storm both in Italian and English. She has blossomed in coloring — from scribbles to trees. We would include a picture of her artwork, but she has also blossomed in her ability to use scissors! Yes, she is feisty — cute, but feisty!
- Pray for us to grow in our parenting skills!
- Health Prayer Requests: It has not been a good period for our health.
- Pray for my cancer. Though my checkup in January went well, I have had a sore throat since December, and there is a spot on my tonsil that does not seem to want to go away. More testing is needed. I have not been able to have my lymph nodes scanned for tumors because of the swelling and infection.
- Both of the children and Melodee have been sick on and off since the beginning of January.
- We feel like this period of physical trials has been a spiritual battle in its own right. Fortunately, God works even through our weakness! Pray for us to be strong, grow in our faith, and Lord willing to be healed!
Isn’t it amazing that God uses us despite our weakness? Sometimes when we feel at our lowest, God does some of his most amazing work.
In the whole scheme of things, how important are your prayers if we serve a sovereign, almighty God?
Your prayers are vital, because through them God accomplishes His plan for His glory!
Thank you for making a difference for eternity!
2 Peter 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
What a privilege to worship our Savior in the day we celebrate His incarnation!
This Christmas season we had a choir of adults and children that led us in our time of worship.
Yesterday was an extraordinary culmination of this month with all of our favorite Christmas carols and a message especially crafted for our children by “Nonno Fred”.
Over twenty children sat on stage with my dad as he shared with us the Christmas story.
We pray that God be exalted in your heart this Christmas season and that you cherish all that Christ’s incarnation means for your salvation.
Love in Christ,
Jon, Melodee, Noah and Eva