Evangelistic meetings are not just about baptisms (although we love to see lots of them). Evangelistic meetings are also about instilling in our church members the belief that people can indeed be won to Jesus. And that's exactly what is happening in Rome right now.
When I first arrived in Rome last October, there were a lot of reservations and doubt about our Road to Rome evangelistic series. Here are some of the things I heard:
• "People here are not interested in the Bible and prophecy."
• "Public evangelism doesn't work in skeptical Italy."
• "This style of preaching and way of presenting messages will not be appreciated by the folks here. We're too intellectual for this kind of stuff."
After 20 meetings, the following questions came to mind in response: Why was there so much fear about us conducting our meetings at the other hall if people here are not interested in the Bible? Why was there such a concerted effort to shut us down? Why is the church full every night? Why are people literally sitting on their edge of their seats at every presentation--soaking in every word Shawn is preaching from the Bible?
I arrived here on October amidst disbelief, but let me tell you I will leave Rome next week with pastors and members believing again--believing that people can be won to Jesus, believing that public evangelism works, believing that a message preached with passion and joy makes a difference. My brothers and sisters in Rome believe again. AMEN. In a way, this is the greatest victory because if they believe, then they will get to work for Jesus like never before.
This week has been quite exciting. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights we had stop smoking classes right after the meetings. Now keep in mind that the nightly meetings start at 8:00 p.m. and end around 9:30 p.m. This means that our stop smoking classes start at 9:45 and end past 10:00 p.m. We were worried that only three or four people would attend because it was so late. Wrong. More than 40 people stuck around to learn how to quit smoking. We believe.
On Wednesday night we started a nightly baptismal class at 7:00 p.m. Over 50 people in attendance for that. We believe.
Tomorrow, Sabbath, 14 people are being baptized just as others have been throughout this series. Oh yes, we believe. The church pastors and church members are excited because they believe... again.
Even though I will be so happy to see my family, friends, and church family again soon (I've been here now for now five months), I will be sad to leave Rome. It's not about the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and all other magnificent sights, but it's about the people. I've made so many friends here. There's Daniele, Gian Franco, Body (yes, that's his name), Betty, Florin, and Dorian just to name a few.
When I leave Rome, I will leave a part of my heart here. What an amazing experience I've had. I came to give, but to be honest I'm the one who has received. I will leave believing without a shadow of a doubt that God is the God of the impossible.
Thank you all for all your prayers and messages. They have sustained and encouraged me through the difficult times here in Rome.
One last time, "Ciao" from Rome,
Pastor Yves Monnier
P.S. Just because the meetings end Saturday evening doesn't mean the work in Rome is going to stop! To support the Road to Rome follow-up efforts, please click here: https://store.itiswritten.com/road-to-rome.html
Thanks again for your faithful support!