Many thanks for your prayers for all of us in Italy these days! We are about 90 miles from the area hardest-hit by the earthquake and aftershocks. The “big one” early in the morning of Sunday, May 20, woke Jim and the boys but did no obvious damage to structures in our area. (Debbie was in Wisconsin for International Ministries’ World Mission Conference at the time.) The largest aftershocks of the past week were noticeable here at Padua and damaged some structures which were apparently weakened by the earlier quake.
The Veneto, our region, had already made international news for a rash of suicides related to people’s despair at the ongoing economic crisis. Many factories have closed, many family businesses are suffering, and many city, regional, and national entities are unable to pay their bills. Immigrant men who have lost their jobs and whose wives don’t have work are sending their wives and children back to Africa where they can live on less. The men will scrape together whatever work they can find and send money home.
Luca, my favorite grocery clerk, who’s always been cheerful, said to me this morning, “I’m telling you. If you can get out of this country, you should. I’m Italian, and I’m saying it.” I’m not sure what drove his hopelessness: fear of another earthquake hitting closer to home, the economic crisis, or cynicism about the will and power of people in Italy to change things. But, his outlook is very different from that of one of our Nigerian friends who sells socks and tissues and helps people carry their groceries to their cars for change. When I asked that friend his thoughts on the earthquake, he responded, “I am a child of God! I am not worried that an earthquake is going to swallow me up!”
Continue to pray for all of us children of God in Italy as we share the hope which being a child of God gives us! Help us to use our preparations for our return to the US (for a time of visiting you our supporters) as a springboard for conversations about hope and faith.
** From now until July 31st, International Ministries has Matching Funds available for individual donations for our mission support (other than or above consistent contributions). This is a great time to send a gift marked “Ongoing Support-Kelseys in Italy” to Intl. Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851 or give online at www.internationalministries.org. Click on “Give” and then “Kelseys”. With our support underwritten at 72.3% in an average month, your gift is needed to keep us working!
We are thanking God for:
-Luke’s High School Graduation! He starts at Denison University in Ohio in the fall!
-The presence of 35 people at the anti-trafficking conference Debbie helped organize for Protestants in Rome in May
Please pray for:
-Our many moments of saying goodbye over the next 3 weeks, particularly for Luke and Ben as they leave friends they’ve been with for 5 years
-Jim’s mom, who is in rehab undergoing IV antibiotic treatment
-Immigrant pastors whose churches are struggling with the departure of many members