Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Update



Hello Everyone,

May has been a busy but fun month for us. We had a team from the Netherlands come down and help us with English workshops in the schools and outreach to a group of young refugee men. They were great at interacting with everyone and the kids had fun practicing their English.  There were many opportunities to share how God has changed their lives and we are praying that these seeds of truth take root in the hearts of the young people.  It can be discouraging at times to think of how little truth and light these students hear on a daily basis. Thankfully we serve a BIG God who can move mountains in the hearts of these kids and that is our prayer.  That God's love and grace would be irresistible in the hearts of these young people.  As you are praying with us for those who have already heard the Good News, please also be in prayer for our Summer Camp that is quickly approaching. It will be the last week of June. We already have 35 kids signed up and a team from Bethel Church in Houston is coming to help.  This is our fourth year of camp and we encouraged to have some returning campers. I will share later in June some specific ways to be praying during the week of camp, but in the meantime please pray for all the logistical details to come together and that the hearts of the team and volunteers would be open and ready to serve God.
Team from the Netherlands

Prayer walk for our city


For our church here, please be praying for unity. We have finished going over the confession of faith with each family and we are pushing forward with church membership. We will have a special service on June 11th to recognize Justin and Stefano as the elders of the church. Please pray for the hearts of our group to be unified under the Gospel and to realize the sweetness of being more than just a group of people the have similar beliefs meeting weekly, but to see the goodness of being a family. A family that encourages one another, is committed to God and the Good News reaching our city, but that also speaks truth into each others lives.



 Our family is well. Luca is walking and running everywhere now. He loves being outside and is excited for our city pool to open next week. He's so friendly and loves people. We are thankful that he continues to open conversations with other parents at the park. Justin is finishing up his teaching job at the middle and elementary school. It has been an amazing opportunity for him to learn and get to know some of the students, parents, and teachers there. We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the 19th. God has been so gracious to us in sustaining our marriage. If you have ever prayed for our marriage. Thank you and please continue to pray that the Lord uses our love for one another to display His greater love for the world.

We love you and thank you for praying for us,
Justin, Carli, & Luca

Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Video Update


Hello Everyone,

We hope that you all had a happy Easter. We had a encouraging time Sunday with our church reflecting on the glory of God and the sacrifice He gave. This post will be short and sweet because we have a video to share with you. It was filmed back in January by one of our good friends and brothers Giosue. We hope that it gives you a glimpse into our lives here and how you can continue to pray for us. We know that the Lord is doing a good work here and we are grateful to be a part of it.

The video is to the right.
Thank you for praying for us.

Love,
Justin, Carli, & Luca


Monday, April 3, 2017

His Grace is Sufficient

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:19
Some days we quickly forget that His grace is all we need. Justin and I both have the tendency to be good at giving grace, but it is hard for us to be grace receivers. We are people pleasers and we look to man's approval all too often. I know this blog post is not our typical one, but we are writing it this way so that you know how to pray for us.  We need prayer that from the moment our eyes open in the morning we would begin seeking God. That the frustrations of living in a culture that is different from the one we were raised in would not steal our joy in bringing together God's people for his kingdom. That we would not just receive God's grace as a gift, but that we would bask in the wonder of His grace and make it our daily treasure. That we would let the beauty of it set in deep into our hearts. That our hearts would love with God's love instead of our human attempts at love. That we would selflessly give of our time and energy for the hope of our city knowing Christ as their Savior.

As you pray those things over us we will be praying for them over you. That you would have a passion for your city, coworkers, friends, and families knowing Christ. We love you and thank you for your love and support.

Below is a picture of us taking a walk in a local park. Luca loves being outside and seeing all the new things that spring brings. He reminds us daily how to slow down and take in the gifts God has given us.


With love from Italy,
Justin, Carli, & Luca

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring in Italy



Hello Everyone,

We are experiencing an unusually warm and dry springtime here in Budrio. You aren't hearing any complaints from the Mcghin household. Luca enjoys his daily walks to the park. He loves interacting with the other children and sliding on the slide. We are thankful that we live in a place that has fresh air and green grass for Luca to explore. He's trying to walk and has started pointing and grunting for things that he wants. It is so fun to see how his mind is developing. We are thankful for each day that we have with him, each one is a gift. He will be a year old next month and we can't wait to celebrate the little man.

March has been busy for us. We had the privilege of celebrating the Baptism of one of our brothers Marco. He has been a believer for about a year and it has been an encouragement to our entire church to see his passion for God and his eagerness to grow in his faith. Please continue to pray for his influence with his family, friends, and work colleagues. It is hard to be a light surrounded by so much darkness. The picture above is of Marco praying right before his Baptism.

Last week we had to opportunity to host a team from a high school in Arkansas. This is there fourth year coming to Italy to do a baseball clinic at our middle and high schools. The kids teach our Italian kids the basics of baseball, they play, and then one of the teenagers from Arkansas shares their testimony. They always come well prepared and passionate for sharing God's love.  This year they were also able to help us in a spring festival that we participated in as a church. We had a stall in the festival that offered traditional foods from the people that make up our church as well as the book, "A Meal with Jesus". It was great to see our church body come together and share their faith with people from our community. The pictures above are from the Baseball clinics put on by the Arkansas team and the pictures below are from the Spring festival.

Thank you for your continual prayers and love. We are always so grateful for them.
Love,
Justin, Carli, & Luca

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Merry Christmas & New Year


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

We hope that 2017 has started well. I was studying today and the words that Paul wrote in Philippians really stuck out to me. He was writing to the church in Philippi while he was imprisoned. This is what he wrote, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:3-11)
It is important for all of us to remember that Paul did not pray for his circumstances or their future suffering to end. Instead he prayed for them to be filled up with the love of Christ. He prayed for their hearts to continually be molded into the image of Christ. That is my prayer for myself and for our loved ones reading this. Don't let the world distract you or discourage you with circumstances. Draw your joy and fulfillment from God and remember that serving Him and living for him is an honor. I have struggled in my circumstances (culture, missing loved ones, new roles as mom/missionary) this past year. After reading this prayer from Paul I was encouraged to see things differently.  I need more prayer and I need my heart to daily be transformed into one like God's.  Please pray that we would love people well and that we would consider joy to run this race set before us.

In Christ,
Justin, Carli, & Luca

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Georgia Visit & New Apartment



This September we had the privilege of visiting our family in Georgia for two weeks. It was a sweet time of refreshment and encouragement. We were able to visit two churches and give them a ministry update and ways to be praying for us.  We made many sweet memories of Luca meeting so many loved ones.  It was good for us also to go on a few dates while he stayed with his grandparents.  We are so grateful to have such a supportive family.  On days when ministry is tough and goodbyes are tearful we are so thankful that the Lord has given us family that share our vision that heaven is our home.  That being said please pray for our hearts as well as our family's hearts as "see you laters" are not fun and emotionally tiring. Pray for us in this time to draw closer to God and be grateful for the time we got to spend together.

Justin is currently fixing up our new apartment and we will be moving in on October 1st. We are so excited about the location of this apartment. It is in the city center of Budrio which means we will be right in the middle of everything. Our prayer is that the Lord will use our home for His glory. We have seen God work from the beginning of this apartment buying process all the way through to the end. Thank you for those of you who have prayed for us during this process. Please continue to pray for our hearts, that we would never find our ultimate source of comfort from the roof over our head, but that God would be our first source of peace and comfort.

Love to you all,
The Mcghins

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hope for Italy

One of our colleagues, JD, wrote this today explaining some background and prayer points for Italy during the aftermath of the earthquake. Please join us in praying for our country.

"As news comes through, it appears evident that the earthquake that struck a remote, yet beautiful area of central Italy, is a devastating one. By the hour there are more reports of missing and of deceased. Old people and young children. Seven years ago the nearby city of L’Aquila, 60 kms away, was hit by a similar earthquake. As then, so now, we face the tragedy of lives lost and the anguish of devastated families and communities.

One of my first thoughts early this morning, however, regarded an even greater tragedy.
Recently I have been researching the presence of Evangelical churches throughout Italy. The province of Rieti is one of the least reached areas of Italy. Rieti province has an overall population of 160,000 people; 50,000 people live in the city of Rieti (60kms distant from the earthquake area), the rest of the province’s population live in small towns and villages. In the whole of the province of Rieti there are no more than half a dozen Evangelical churches (of any denomination) and they are almost all in the city of Rieti. A simple conclusion: the area affected by the earthquake has, as far as we can tell, no witness to the gospel! That is a great tragedy.
Two important elements:
- vast areas of Italy still have NO local witness
- the challenge of reaching not only the cities, but the small towns and villages as well, is great; research indicates that over half of the Italian population lives in locations with less than 50,000 inhabitants, 35% with less than 15,000 inhabitants and 15% with less than 5000.
How will they hear?
There is need of the same passion of God for mission.
Please pray for Christians throughout the country: that they might make much of the opportunity to present the gospel of hope in the midst of darkness and desperation and that there might be opportunities to reach into the destroyed communities with hope and light. And that a radically different narrative can be proclaimed about what is happening, with the gospel at the centre that redefines all."

-JD Gilmore