Population: 58 million.
Main religion: Roman Catholic.
Link man Simon Phillips
CBM activities There has been preaching in Italy since the 1920s, with regular visits starting in 1984, mainly centred on Bologna, Brescia, Milan, Rome and Verona. Correspondence and regular visits provide fellowship with brethren and sisters in isolation, discussions with existing contacts, and attempts are made to reach new contacts. Preaching is through personal contact, fly-billing and special talks. Most brethren and sisters and contacts have English, so language is not a barrier.
Web site www.italianocristadelfiani.org
Ecclesias None. 6 members live in isolation.
A flying visit to Italy
Piazza Bra in Verona
We tend to think of Italy as an affluent country, but for the non-Catholic non-Italians this is not the case - and this group includes the majority of our brethren and sisters and contacts. Visiting Italy on CBM work is to see a completely different side of the country than the usual luxurious holiday destination.
This was probably our busiest trip yet. We started at 6 a.m. at Luton airport and travelled to Milan. We spent the morning fly-billing around Milan's main station beefore travelling south to meet Brother Foster, who was very glad to see us and to break bread and sing hymns from his new hymn book. We then took Foster with us to visit Michael, his friend and contact, and spent two very animated hours discussing the Word of God. Afterwards we headed back through the fog to the hotel in Verona.
The next day, while half the team remained at the hotel to meet Pier Luca, an interested friend, some of us made a quick visit to the supermarket to get lunch to take to Sister Betty's house and fly-billed the area around Piazza Bra in Verona. Betty is getting older and frailer, but still enjoys meeting new brethren and sisters and breaking bread together.
On the Saturday morning we visited Prince, who is going through the correspondence course with Brother James. We were joined by several of his friends for readings and a deluge of questions. Prince is shortly to be married back in his home country of Nigeria and then plans to bring his new wife over to Italy, where, we hope, he will continue in his interest.
In the afternoon we were back in Verona in order to meet Isaiah, another African contact, who brought an English friend and spent a profitable few hours discussing the return of Christ. This was followed by a Breaking of Bread in Brother Roshan's flat after he finished work.
Our final day was spent travelling to Bologna to see Brother Naizghi and our new Sister Asmait. Leaving them after what felt like too short a time, we returned to Bergamo for our flight home.
Simon and Anna Phillips
from The Bible Missionary No. 179 (January 2006)
"You must bear witness also at Rome"
Near the Colosseum in Rome
In June, six of us flew out to Italy to visit the members and contacts there.
In Verona half of the group did some fly billing, while the other half went to break bread with Sister Betty, who was in good health and very happy to meet us. During the evening we met with two contacts, Pierluca and Isaiah, and on Friday, we went to see Brother Foster.
Then we went to Rome. We were pleased to meet Brother Naizghi and over the course of the day, shared four studies on the theme "We preach Christ crucified". We were within sight of the Colosseum, which made reading from the Letter to the Romans very powerful. We also met with Sister Asmait and broke bread with her. Asmait’s English is limited and Naizghi translated the whole service into Amharic for her (they are Ethiopian in origin).
It was wonderful to share fellowship with our brothers and sisters, some of them meeting each other for the first time, and to be uplifted by the hope we share. We pray God will continue to bless our brothers and sisters, and our contacts searching for the truth.
A whistle-stop tour
Naizghi and Asmait, Simon and Anna
It is a privilege to be part of the Italy team, as we spend time with some great people – and this brief pastoral visit was no exception. With just 2 days and over 800 miles to drive, it was always going to be a whistle-stop tour.
A highlight of previous Italy trips was the time we spent in Vangadizza with Sister Betty Buselli. It was therefore sad to be making our first visit since her death in July. Baptised in 1939 in Birmingham, she had lived in Italy since 1947. She was always enthusiastic for visits, opening her home and sharing her hospitality. We were pleased, though, to see Betty's daughter, Teresa, and her husband Alberto.
Late Saturday afternoon we set off to Mantova to meet Brother Foster Ankrah-Pambour. Foster has worked in Italy for 4 years and his family is in Ghana. The focus for our breaking of bread together was based around the Acts reading for the day, where we considered some of the practicalities of discipleship.
Sunday was to be spent with Brother Naizghi Tewelde and Sister Asmait, which meant a long drive to Rome. Naizghi and Asmait got engaged in the summer. As always in Italy, the legal paperwork for non-nationals is never simple. Still, we wish them every blessing in the future.
Then it was back to Bologna, ready for an early flight home. We thank our Heavenly Father for our safe and positive visit.
If you have any Italian language skills and can lend a hand, please contact the link man Simon Phillips.