From Nathan Smith, Lead Pastor of Grace Church Bristol, UK, and Ed O’Mara, Lead Pastor of CrossPointe Church in Arnold, MD, USA…
Italy is a country of over 60 million people, with less than 1% evangelical gospel witness. By God’s grace, Sovereign Grace has a growing window of opportunity to serve gospel progress. CrossPointe Church in Arnold, MD has been building relationship with Verità di Grazia (VDG), which means Truth of Grace. VDG is a reformed-continuationist church in Chiavari (a metropolitan area of over 40,000 people near Genoa) that was planted by Lee and Jeanette Walti, Americans who have been living there for over 10 years.
CrossPointe’s lead pastor, Ed O’Mara, has built a friendship with Lee and Jeanette. In 2017 CrossPointe brought the Walti family to Arnold to deepen the relational ties and then to the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference to equip and care for them. This relationship has been a means of grace and refreshment for the Walti’s as they labor in the gospel in a need place. It has also afforded Lee and Jeannette the chance to begin relationship with Nathan Smith, who serves Sovereign Grace by helping coordinate missions in Europe.
In the summer of 2018, CrossPointe sent a team of 17 people (including a couple from Living Hope in Bowie, MD) to serve at VDG’s annual “KidzGames.” Over 140 children heard the gospel clearly proclaimed in a fun environment. Additionally, members of CrossPointe were able to build relationship with members of VDG and encourage them in the faith. During that week, elders from CrossPointe also met a church planter from Sicily who shares Sovereign Grace’s theology and values, and since then Ed has continued to build relationship and support these dear pastors.
Since then, Larry McCall, of the Christ’s Covenant Church in Winona Lake, IN has agreed to lead a marriage equipping context in April 2019 in Chiavari. In addition to serving VDG, this conference will include other Italian pastors who share Sovereign Grace’s values and a love for the gospel of Christ. Then, in the summer of 2019, the Mid-Atlantic Region has joined together to share labor and support of three different missions trips, with KidzGames in Chiavari being one context that members of Mid-Atlantic churches can participate. While these are small beginnings, God is doing a good thing a need place!