An update from the Valiquette family and Nuova Vita in Salerno, Italy.
While there are great things going on within the body of Nuova Vita right now, (and I’ll get to that in a minute), the past few months have been really significant for us as a family. Over the years of living here, we have built many friendships and relationships. It has taken a while to really get to know people, either because of language or just the need for time to build trust. This year we have found ourselves very much in the middle of the community, with many, many opportunities to serve, love, and point people to the grace and love of Jesus. We have seen more and more how just by living here, building relationships, loving people, seeking ways to serve, having an open home for our kids friends after school, and being present and active in the community and kids school, has made way for so many opportunities.
Recently, through a class of one of our kids, we have been able to become friends with a family who recently got kicked out of their apartment. We have come alongside of them and helped them with whatever need they have in the moment. Whether it is food, or their kids coming to our house, or helping them move apartments, or find a job. A girl involved in our church who recently graduated from University is helping the 8-year-old son get caught up with his reading and writing. Some friends in the city we have been getting to know for almost 2 years, have recently gone through a really hard, really sad rift in their marriage. Trust has been broken, hearts are hurt; yet we have found ourselves in the middle of the husband and wife, and able to love them and point them to Jesus. On the outside, we are so different from these dear friends. Heart level communication is hard. And some days we feel so out of our league, so insufficient. But we are faced with needing to desperately remember and cling to the promise our sufficiency comes FROM Him, and our part in the story is to remain faithful. To be faithful to the broken, hurting people. The marriages, the children, the families hurting and in need. Sometimes it is overwhelming. But then we look around and see that He has placed us here for a reason. In this city, and in this time. To love these faces. These kids. These husbands and wives, and to point them to something greater, to the One who gives hope and heals.
And while the Lord is using us just by living life here in Salerno, He is also building His church. These past 2 months have been significant in the area of community for our church. We are learning how to love each other well, how to serve where there are needs and gaps, and how to give generously. A man in our church, Antonio, who has been a believer for nearly 20 years, and has had many different church experiences told Justin recently that for the first time in 20 years he is truly understanding the depths of grace. People are growing in their understanding and knowledge of the gospel, and experiencing it more profoundly in their everyday lives. God is doing significant things!
This Spring we have a busy few months. In April, Justin will be taking 6 men to the Acts 29 Europe conference in Rome. Pray for them as they go to this. We also have a few groups coming from America to serve in the city and on the university campus. Pray their time is fruitful. And then in June, John Piper will be speaking at a conference that will be held here in Italy, and we are hoping to take a group to hear him speak as well. It is quite the buzz that he is coming, and will speaking on the subject of missions, especially when his message had such an effect of Justin and I as young college students entering into ministry. For us, it is such a gift and dream to hear him speak on missions while living in Italy!
We are so thankful for your prayer and support. Please write to us and let us know how we can be praying for you as well!
With love in Christ,
Justin and Abbey Valiquette