Stefano & Jennifer Mariotti

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church-planting in Budrio, Italy

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Friday, 28 March 2014

Sunday Service in Chiesa Evangelica Montespertoli

On Sunday morning we'll be with our friends from the Chiesa Evangelica in Montespertoli a lovely Brethren Chapel by the
Christian Centre of Poggio Ubertini
in the beautiful hills surrounding Florence.

Stefano will preach from Philippians 1:1-11 engaging the church to understand in our everyday life Paul's challenge to grow and
to bear fruit in Christ.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

YfC National Conference

Tomorrow Stefano will join the other members
of the National Board of Youth for Christ Italia,
at the National Conference in Florence.

Scott Alan Hansen, pastor of The Bridge Church in Fresno (USA) will preach a series of studies on:
Elijah in 3D.

Neil O'Boyle, Vice-president of YfC International,
will lead a session on Business in Mission and the main talk of Saturday evening. 

Martin Ainsworth, director of media development of YfC International will lead a series of meetings on media, social networks and web TVs.

As board we'll meet to discuss about important issues concerning the future of YfC in Italy, 
so please pray for us and that God will give us 
His wisdom & vision.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

"Praying with Paul" - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5 - A prayer so that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored!

Tomorrow Stefano will continue in San Lazzaro church the series: "Praying with Paul", in which we are interacting with Paul's prayers in his letters.
For this sermon: "A prayer so that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored!", we'll engage with  2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5.

To introduce this sermon, we'll ask ourselves: 
How do we encourage someone is down?
How does encouragement relates to mission?
These will be the headings of the sermon:
1. A prayer to stand firm and hold to the apostolic tradition
2. A prayer so that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored
"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you...
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:1, 5 (ESV)

To dig deeper with the themes  
we are engaging with in this series,
Stefano is encouraging the church 
to read and interact with the book of  
D. A. Carson:  

A Call to Spiritual Reformation:
Priorities from Paul and His Prayers.  

This book is also available in Italian

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Arkansas Baptist School @ Budrio - Thanks ever so much!!!

This morning we had another amazing proof of our Father's sovereign love and wisdom.
We were due to have 2 hours baseball clinic with kids in the local high-school, but on the same day there was also a school-assembly.
So we were offered the possibility to have kids from "another" school.

We found out that the same school building is used to guest for this year kids from the high-school in the next village, which is not safe after the earth-quake of two years ago.

In this way we had 2 classes of amazing kids for 2 hours each.
Quite a few of them were from Muslim countries and they were very receptive to what their American peers shared about their faith in Jesus.

We realised that these were the kids we were called to serve today in showing in practice Jesus' love!

Now the team from Arkansas Baptist School is gone to serve for another week in Florence and Chiavari! We already miss each one of them so much!
Their servant spirit and their passion for the Lord is so challenging and enriching for us as family, for our church-plant and for the community we are serving.
Thanks ever so much friends!!!

Arkansas Baptist School @ Budrio Day 4

Yesterday morning we've been with the team from Arkansas Baptist School at the biggest high-school in Bologna where everyday there are 2.000 + students.

In this school we have a long term friendship with one of the English teachers that always give us opportunities with her classes.
Yet this year more teachers came for the baseball clinic, so we had 3 classes and the team from Arkansas was able to present their drama and to share their testimonies.

In the afternoon we had a trip to Ferrara a mediaeval town about 1h from Bologna.
The team was challenged to think about the need for church-planting in Italy since in all the towns and villages between Bologna and Ferrara there are about 150.000 people living and no more than 4 churches.

In Ferrara we visited the mediaeval castle where lived Renee of France an 18yo Christian French lady married to the Catholic Duke a vassal of the Pope. The court of Renee became a safe place for Christians persecuted in Italy and Europe. In 1536, she gave refuge to the young John Calvin, who had just published his Institutes. Calvin helped Renee to grow in her faith and understanding of Scripture. She asked him to preach in the castle’s chapel (where we took this group picture), increasingly gathering many Italians hungry for the Word of God.

This caused a reaction from the Duke.  Calvin's presence became known to the Inquisition and he was arrested.   
Calvin was freed by Renee’s army in disguise and was somehow able to make his way to Switzerland. Renee was condemned to being confined in Este’s Castle and to formally abjure her faith. However, throughout her lifetime she maintained a close correspondence with Calvin who helped her in keeping her faith.

Today we are in Budrio's High School from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. Please pray for many opportunities for kids to share their faith!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Arkansas Baptist School @ Budrio Day 3

Yesterday morning we've been with the team from Arkansas Baptist School at the middle-school in Budrio.
This is a new door the Lord has opened.
We've approached a few times this school and the doors always seemed closed, till recently through a teacher we got to know from a different school, we were able to be invited by one of the English teachers working there.
Yesterday we had an hour with a class of 13 years-old kids and after playing baseball, Maddie shared with them her faith in Jesus.

After a picnic in the park, we had the incredible opportunity to play baseball with a group of people in their 20s onward who have learning disabilities or recovering from addictions followed by the social services.
One of them was really scared in the beginning to have to play this "strange" sport with people speaking in a "strange language", but at the end he said: "Can we play more? Will you be here next Tuesday?
We felt really blessed by this opportunity, and Todd was really good in sharing his faith with them.

Later we had at the sport centre of Budrio the Baseball clinic organized for local kids.
Initially we were a bit discouraged by the little number of kids that came, but later we realized these were the one that really wanted to come and we were able to talk to two parents who were very interested to know more about what we do and the summer camp.
We were moved by the appreciation of Silvia, the director of the sport centre, who in a very difficult family time, was there to help us, enjoying the ways in which the whole team was living their faith in serving Italian kid and the Budrio community!

Today we'll be at the biggest high-school in Bologna to have 3 hours of baseball with 3 classes.
We have a long term friendship with the English teacher that always give us opportunities to interact with her classes.

In the afternoon we'll have a trip to Ferrara!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Arkansas Baptist School @ Budrio Day 2

The team from Arkansas Baptist School arrived in Budrio yesterday afternoon.

We were received in the town-hall by Giulio Pierini major of Budrio. Giulio gave an historical and cultural perspective of Budrio and then asked Coach Billy to tell about their school and mission.

Billy said that the goal of this visit is to
serve the community to follow the example of Jesus and to show in practical ways
His love to Italy.

He also said that this mission trip has been planned since last October and from that time they were praying for Budrio. The Major was really appreciative and said, please continue to pray for us.

Later we were interviewed by a journalist of a magazine which is widespread locally.
We were able to present the events of today, the work of Youth for Chrsit Italy and of our Impatto A Budrio church-plant.
(Link for the article in Italian)

This morning from 11.00 to 12.30 am we'll be at the middle-school of Budrio for a Baseball clinic with kids aged 12-14 years old.
A lady attending our church-plant works in this school so it'll be an opportunity for her to share the Jesus she's beginning to know.

In the afternoon we'll be at the sport centre of Budrio.
From 1.30 to 3.00 pm we'll play baseball with a group of difficult youths followed by the social service.
From 3.00 to 5.00 pm we'll have a Baseball Clinic with the local basketball and volleyball teams.
It will also be an opportunity for us to present the Exch@nge summer camp we'll organize in July.
Please pray for today because it's the very first time we are invited in the middle-school and in the sport centre.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Sunday Service 16/03/2014 - Reflections

Yesterday we had our monthly Sunday service in Budrio.
We were 14 adults and 3 kids.

We were very encouraged by
the amazing way the Lord is blessing us.
Last time we were praying to have more men, and yesterday we had 5 more. 

We started the service with a challenging time of prayer for Budrio where Giovanni gave a report of our involvement in the food-bank collection organized by the Town-Hall.
We had a time to cast the vision for our church-plant and to gain a missional mentality for Italy and the work of Acts29 in Europe and beyond.
Then we prayed for the team from Arkansas Baptist School coming today to do sport outreach events in Budrio.

We interacted together with Acts 1:12-26.
We were challenged by God's Word to see how the church is characterized by being a family of  brethren in Jesus that with one mind (Acts 1:14) is guided by the Word
and the Spirit.

We noted also how Jesus' is keeping His promise to continuing to do and teach
(Acts 1:1) by guiding Peter to lead the church towards the Word.

We had also the opportunity to see Judas' figure in the light of Peter's, in understanding
how Jesus dealt with both of them; how both of them failed; but whereas Judas run to death,
Peter run to Jesus' life and redemption.
For this part we interacted with this clip from the Jesus Christ Superstar movie which present everything under Judas's "point of view".

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Arkansas Baptist School @ Budrio!

From Monday to Thursday we'll have
with us a team of teenagers from the
Arkansas Baptist School.

They came last year too for a day to teach baseball and to share the gospel to kids from the local high-school in Budrio

They'll arrive on Monday afternoon when we'll meet the Major of Budrio in the historical Town-hall.
Later we'll be interviewed by a local magazine.

On Tuesday morning we'll be at the local Middle-School,
in the afternoon we'll be at Budrio Sport Centre playing baseball with youths with social needs.
Later we'll have a baseball clinic with the Basketball and Volleyball youth teams of Budrio.

On Wednesday we'll be in the biggest High-School of Bologna, then we'll have a trip to Ferrara.

On Thursday we'll have a baseball clinic in the High-School of Budrio with 4 classes.

Please pray for the team in all these commitments and that the Lord will guide each one of us in faithfully and joyfully sharing Jesus.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Sunday Service in Budrio - Acts 1:12-25

Tomorrow morning we'll have our monthly service to worship God and to proclaim His Word in Budrio.
The community is gathering around
Impatto A Budrio is made by friends from both Nuova Vita and San Lazzaro churches who are living in the area together with local friends we are getting to know from Budrio.

We really enjoy the Lord's provision of a room in the café of
Le Torri dell'Acqua, the theatre and modern art-gallery right
at the centre of Budrio well known as a cultural meeting point.

Together with Nuova Vita we'll interact in these months with the Book of Acts.
At 10.00 am we'll have a family time with coffee & cakes
and at 10.30 am we'll look together at Acts 1:12-25.

"All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women..." Acts 1:14 (ESV)

Tomorrow we'll begin our service with a time of prayer following the pattern of Acts 1:8:
Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

We'll have a time of prayer
for "our home".

We'll thank the Lord for the way in which He gave us the opportunity to serve our community at the food-bank collection where about 2.500 Kg of goods were collected for the needy families of Budrio.

We'll have a time of prayer
for our "neighbours".
Stefano will give a report of the Acts29 Conference.
This will be a time of envisioning for God's mission in Europe.

Then we'll have a time of prayer for "the end of the earth".
Even if this time it's "the end of the earth" that is coming to us!

We'll pray for the team from Arkansas Baptist School coming next week to do sport outreach events in Budrio.
(More to follow)

Porterbrook - Campus Bologna plenary session

Tomorrow from 3.30 to 7.00 pm
we'll have the plenary session for
students of foundation and advanced years of Porterbrook - Campus Bologna.

This meeting will be held in
San Lazzaro Church and we expect about
15 students for the foundation years and
15 for the advanced years.

The Foundation Year 1 students will interact with this module:Understanding God's Story,
led by Gianpaolo Aranzulla, pastor of Forte Torre.

In this session, students will interact with these units:
4. What is the structure?
5. Why say it this way?
6. Why say it here?
7. How should they have responded then?
8. How should we respond now?
9. Why should we respond?

God has spoken to his people through the story of his Son, Jesus. As Christians, we find our identity and purpose as we engage with the stories, letters, poems, prophecies, histories etc., contained within the Bible’s bigger story. You will learn to understand texts in the context of the bigger story and the immediate context of the book of the Bible they appear in. Then you will learn how to apply the words of the Bible today.

The Advanced Year 2 students will interact with these modules:

The first module is Union with Christ,
led by Gian Luca Derudas, co-pastor of Nuova Vita.

In this session, students will interact with these units:
4. Sanctification
5. The Benefits Of Our Union
6. Union With Christ And One Another

Union with Christ is the centre of the gospel. It’s been called the central doctrine of salvation. This course will teach you how the profound truth of a Christian's union and identity with Christ drives us to mission and joy in him.

The second module is The Holy Spirit,
led by Stefano.

In this session, students will interact with these units:
4. The sending Spirit: part one
5. The sending Spirit: part two
6. The sanctifying Spirit

Discover the Holy Spirit from a gospel perspective.
Learn to discern and enjoy the work of the Holy Spirit in everyday discipleship and mission.
The Holy Spirit is often the forgotten member of the Trinity or His work is emphasised apart from the gospel. This course helps us see the central role of the Holy Spirit in creation and redemption. Understanding the work of the Holy Spirit empowers and shapes gospel mission and discipleship in the local church.

Friday, 7 March 2014

2014 Acts 29 Europe Conference: feedback

Yesterday Stefano got back
from the 2014 Acts29 Europe Conference in London.
It has been a good time of full-immersion in the Acts29 family environment.
There were 20 countries represented and church-planters and pastors from everywhere in Europe and beyond.

We've been very encouraged by the Italian presence at this conference: we were 40 adults plus 10 kids.

We've been challenged by the 4 talks of the main speakers:
Matt Chandler on Motivation,
Tim Chester on Movement,
Steve Timmis on Moment and
Reuben Hunter on Method.
Stefano attended two helpful seminars:
Big church, Little church
with Matt Chandler,
and Planting from scratch
with Hugo Charteris

It was helpful to be reminded of the real priorities in church-planting:
our personal walk with the Lord
and a diligent preparation to faithfully preach God's Word.
It was nice also to see how many
church-plants had their first services with similar numbers and family members like us in Budrio.

Monday, 3 March 2014

2014 Acts 29 Europe Conference: Multiplying Churches - Exploring God's Mission Strategy

Today Stefano will travel to London with other pastors and church-planters from
Italy to attend the 2014 Acts 29 Europe Conference: Multiplying Churches - Exploring God's Mission Strategy.

Church planting is no longer the new thing,
but when it comes to reaching people with the gospel and discipling believers in the gospel, it is still the best thing, because it is God’s thing! The local church is his primary mission strategy.
The 2014 Acts 29 Europe Conference will focus upon the essentials of scattering churches around the world, also known as church planting. Attention will be given to unpacking the biblical mandate and theological foundation of this vital strategy. It will help equip us to plant explicitly gospel centred churches that thrive and reproduce even in a hostile environment such as Europe – the most secular continent in the world.

Conference Speakers:

Matt Chandler, Pastor of The Village Church, Dallas and President of Acts 29. He is the author of The Explicit Gospel and To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain.

Steve Timmis, Global Director of Acts 29. He has written Gospel Centred Leadership and I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said That.

Tim Chester is a pastor in The Crowded House, Sheffield, and associate director of Porterbrook Seminary. He is the author of Unreached and co-author of Everyday Church.

Reuben Hunter is Pastor of Trinity West Church in West London and Board Member of Acts 29 Europe.

Watch the video about the conference.