So much is happening here in Rome that my head is spinning. We’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, that’s for sure. Let me share some details about our ride.
On Monday morning we excitedly welcomed the arrival Shawn Boonstra and Palmer Halvorson. Within a short while, I received a phone call indicating that our advertising campaign had been so successful that it had rattled some powerful people in the city, and that the usage of our hall was now in jeopardy.
Later we were told that a final decision would be made on Tuesday regarding our usage of the hall. While praising God that our brochures, posters, and radio spots had been noticed by so many, all of our faithful members scattered throughout Rome fell to their knees and prayed for divine intervention regarding the hall. What a rally of prayers!
In addition to them, I know that thousands around the globe also prayed for God’s will to be done. Just thinking about the number of people praying here and abroad gives me chills.
On Tuesday afternoon we heard the verdict: No! The hall would not be available to us at all. I’m going to be very honest with you. Even though I know that God is in control of all things, this was a crushing blow. Tears welled up in my eyes. You have to understand how hard everybody has been working here for months and how much we’ve been anticipating these meetings. We’d just spent $100,000 for advertising that points people to a hall that we no longer could use. Yes, the news made many of us quite emotional.
But then the story of Daniel came to my mind—when things didn’t go as anticipated. Daniel had prayed faithfully and yet he was still thrown in the lions’ den. As a matter of fact, he was thrown in because of his faithful prayers. Now, do you really think Daniel wanted to go in there with those famished flesh-devouring beasts? Not for a moment. Yet that’s exactly where he ended up.
Of course, God could have saved Daniel from the lions’ den. And that would have been great—still a wonderful story to tell children. However, God decided to do better than great. God, thus, saved Daniel from the hungry lions in the lions’ den. And that was fantastic and phenomenal. I love this quote from E.G. White:
“God did not prevent Daniel's enemies from casting him into the lions’ den; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of His servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete.” (PK 543)
Friend, God could have granted us the hall, and that would have been great. However, God didn’t want to settle for great. He wants fantastic and phenomenal. He wants our “deliverance… more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete.” And thus we find ourselves in the lions’ den trusting God to see us through the “night” like Daniel.
We are going forward with much hope. The leadership team met last night to pray and to strategize. It was an absolutely powerful meeting. I have never seen my Italian brother pastors so enthusiastic, so determined, so fired up, and so courageous. Praise God! We all believe that this turn of events will propel our meetings to the forefront of people’s minds all over Rome like nothing else could have.
Right now we are working out the logistics of relocating our meetings to the Romanian Adventist Church, which has a seating capacity of 600 (plus another 300 seats in the fellowship hall if we can set up a video feed). We also are blitzing the city with newspaper and radio advertising to redirect people to the new location.
Since many people will still be headed to the old location, we’re also renting buses to shuttle people to the church. So much has to be done and we have so little time because it all starts in three days. It’s crazy.
Friends, thank you for your prayers. They are having a powerful impact. Don’t stop, please. But in addition to prayer, I have a huge favor to ask. This sudden and unexpected change of venue is costing at least an additional $15,000 that we had not budgeted, and that our church members here cannot afford but have to spend.
Would you consider a small contribution to help us through this? Yes, we are getting our money back from the hall, however, it’s a fraction of what we need to spend to get things redirected. Just click here or use the donate button above to make your tax-deductible gift. Thank you!
Again, thank you for your prayers and your interest in our citywide evangelistic series in Rome. God is good and we know He will watch over us through the night in the lions’ den.
Pastor Yves Monnier