As another page in my journey is ready to turn I am overcome with thoughts I want to share with you about this life I have been lead to.
First I want all of you to know how deeply grateful I am for your prayers, love and financial support. Day after day, month after month and year after year you are there holding me up and allowing me to serve. Genesis 12:1 …“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” In my heart it can only be classified as a miracle (Webster: an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God) that you my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ would so faithfully hold me up.
I said when I started that my objective was to go and be a “willing available servant to God.” I have held true to that and as a result God has taught me some very humbling lessons. And He has blessed me beyond reason. I know my service may look different than some expected, but it is being directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, ” And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Unconditional love for others, that is where God has lead me. The geography and the forum for teaching me I am sure were chosen by God, I am just His humble servant.
I will limit my stories to just two, so as not to lose you.
First up my dear friend Nasim. I have written in the past about Nasim so I will get right to the point. I now realize that the bureaucratic process to get him to America is monumental. I am by no means giving up, however I believe it will only be accomplished through God. So I am asking everyone I know to join me in daily prayer for Nasim. Remember Acts 12:5 ” So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” That is the kind of prayer I am asking for. The kind that freed Peter from prison. We can do it.
Next is a story about David. David is from Barcelona, Spain. This is a difficult story to relate through my feeble writing skills. I wish I could sit and tell this to each of you in person. It has many layers that will go unnoticed in this account. I am guessing he is in his thirties and he lives on the streets of Rome. Last spring he started coming to Il Soggiorno. At first he would just come in and sit at the closest table to the door. That’s also where I sit, next to the tea table and a good spot for welcoming quest. He would not speak, we communicated via gestures and body language. He would have tea and eat many cookies and I would give him some to take with him. Then he would simply walk out. I have to tell you at this point, David was your stereotype homeless person. He was in need of love and care. This went on for months. Fast forward to September; he was still coming to Il Soggiorno still keeping very much to himself. Giovanni and I started mentioning Jesus to him and there was a twinkle in his eyes. We began putting cash in his coat pocket with a notes that simply read Jesus.
Each week he stayed a little longer and even started using the bathroom facilities (even waving good bye, WOW). This was major. This past Saturday he showed up with a fresh haircut and shave. Giovanni had given him some clothing as well and he had on a new sweater. None of the volunteers were fluent in Spanish, but we were able to get him to open up and we learned that he was from Barcelona and his name was David. He said he know who Jesus was from his youth. It was truly a breakthrough event, the Holy Spirit was with us. I have never felt more blessed then when David opened up and trusted us. Never.
This is what your prayers, love and support allows me to do. There are no words adequate to thank you for this privilege. It was your money going in David’s pockets and your love and prayers that lifted him up.
Please know how important it is to me to be able to continue being a willing and available servant.
I know as I transition to Atlanta and my efforts focus more on human trafficking, God will be leading me and blessing me.
Thank you and may God bless you,
Your brother in Christ, Mark
Here is a picture of David in the middle. That is Steven on the left, he is from Ghana and was baptized recently at Rome Baptist Church. I do look happy don’t I.