Tuesday, May 28, 2019
We are still here! Sorry for the long lapse in blog posts. Life has been moving so quickly. Our heads are spinning and we are ready for bed by 8pm each night. Life with two little boys and all of our responsibilities with the church make for rich and full days.
This post will be an update on the many parts of our lives.
As a family we are doing well. Luca is now three years old and is growing into such a fun kid. He does not feel like a toddler anymore, and that is both heartbreaking and really exciting. We know that each day with our boys is a gift and we readily receive it with open hands. Luca loves pretending, dinosaurs, tractors, singing, and books. He is also very much in love with his little brother. Ephraim will be a year old next month which is so hard to believe. This first year with him has flown by. He has an adventurous and daring personality. He's a momma's boy and loves to be in the middle of everything. He can get anywhere he wants to by crawling and climbing and does not seem interested in the least bit about walking.
Our church is growing in knowledge and love for God every week. It is a sweet thing to get to witness and walk with them through. There have been many ups and downs the past few months, but we are definitely seeing God's continual hand in the lives of our people. It is hard work, but so worthy. We are grateful for the way living among our people and being invested in their lives stretches us and grows our faith.
As a couple we are doing well. Justin has just finished his teaching job at the schools for this year. It was another great year full of opportunities for him to share his love of God in word and in deed. His heart to serve our community never ceases to challenge me and push me to get out of my comfort zone. He wears many hats and juggles many tasks. As his wife i could not be more proud of him. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary this month. As with every anniversary it was so sweet to reflect on all the ways the Lord has provided for us and guided us. I am still working hard on the curriculum for our children at church. We have been going through Exodus chapter by chapter and it has been challenging and fun to prepare lessons for our children. My days are full of normal mom jobs, and i have to admit that some days i do feel overwhelmed and burned out. Being part of a church plant means that we are the ones that are pouring out, and i could say the same goes for caring for little ones. We are thankful for the Lord's provision in our mental and spiritual health through churches in the states that journey with us.
Three ways you can pray for us:
1. Pray for us to have discernment and wisdom in all areas of our lives
2. Pray for us to seek God's word for refreshment, grace, and peace
3. Pray for helpers, Italy needs more people willing to jump in and work with the local church.
Thank you for walking with us,
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
The summer has been long and slow for us. We are all really looking forward to some cooler weather. Justin and I have been reflecting and praying through these verses from Ephesians the past few days.
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift."
Being a pastor and a pastor's wife can be hard and discouraging at times. We can feel like we are constantly under a magnifying glass. We can struggle with the need to perform for others in a way they expect us to, instead of be ourselves. The hurt and exhaustion that creeps in can quickly turn to bitterness and resentment towards the ones we are called to love and serve. We are realizing that we have to give all of our hurt over to God. Pray with us as we ask for the Spirit to give us a daily renewal of our minds. We are earnestly seeking to bear with one another and our church body with all humility, gentleness, and patience. We also want to challenge you. If there is someone in your church family that has hurt you, seek out reconciliation and forgiveness. We have seen how the Lord is changing the way we view people. The first step for us was to give those relationships to Him. We know that He is faithful to give us what we need and the words to say. Please also pray for the evangelical churches in Italy. Our hope is that they also would seek out unity in Christ in every aspect of their relationships with one another.
Thank you for praying with us,
Justin, Carli, Luca, and Ephraim
Monday, July 16, 2018
Our son Ephraim Lee Mcghin was born on June 21st. The name Ephraim means fruitful and that is our prayer for his life. That he would bear good fruit for the Lord and bring glory to His name. We chose the middle name Lee because we both have siblings with that as there middle name. We want our children to always remember to be thankful for their family and the love that binds us together no matter where we are in the world. Ephraim was born pretty quickly and was smaller than Luca. Once you have a toddler any baby feels small in your arms, but especially a newborn. I know he won't stay this little long, so we are trying to soak up every moment. We were so grateful for the wonderful medical care we received at the hospital and for the prayers from so many loved ones. We felt so much comfort and peace during those first days and we know that the Lord was with us.
Luca is loving his role of big brother. He loves giving lots of hugs and kisses. He jumps at any opportunity to hold baby brother. He's even been sharing a toy here and there.
Please continue to pray for us as parents to find a healthy balance of ministry and family. We love when the two are intertwined, but sometimes in these early months that doesn't happen so easily. Please pray for spiritual protection over our hearts. We know the enemy is always at work and it's when we are at our weakest (sleep deprived, healing from pregnancy/delivery, heat of summer) that we must really be on guard. Right now we are taking it a day at a time and relying on the Lord to provide our strength and patience.
We will share more soon about how church and ministry are, but we will save that for another day.
Thank you for your prayers,
Justin, Carli, Luca, and Ephraim
Thursday, May 31, 2018
The past few months we have had the opportunity to spend some one on one time eating with some of the families that make up our church. Because they each come from different parts of Italy, we get a different experience culturally with every meal. One thing they all have in common is they are great cooks and they love to feed us lots. Just like with any church body that is made up of very different people/personalities it can take a while for you to get to know each other. We are hoping that the more we are around them, the more we can begin to open up to one another and dig deeper into authentic life giving relationships. Finding and creating those relationships has been a struggle for me (Carli) since the beginning and it continues to be one. Partly it is my timid and sometimes introverted personality and partly it is my lack of availability. Being a mom of young children, married to the pastor does not always leave lots of room for me to be present at the activities that the church does together. Justin on the other hand is full to the brim with opportunities to invest in the lives of our people and foster deeper relationships with them. It has been a huge answer to our prayers how they, especially lately, respond to him with respect and look to him as one of their leaders. So as we both look back over the last few months we are praying that we can continue to be intentional with our conversations however often they happen and that I (Carli) would continue to push myself a little at a time to let people in and seek out friendships with our people.
Some other prayer points:
-Please continue to pray for us as a family that we would have patience and endurance with our people. We long to love them as Christ loves them and we believe that begins with praying for them. -As our second child is coming any day now, please pray for us to have wisdom in setting healthy boundaries with our people, but not closing them out of this exciting time.
-On the subject of the baby coming, please pray for Carli and for the baby. The recovery for Carli when she had Luca was a very difficult time, so please keep her in your prayers.
-Lastly pray for the men of our church, Italy desperately needs humble leaders to serve it's church and we are hoping that this summer Justin and Stefano will be able to invest time in training up two of the men in our church that are showing interest in leading more.
Hopefully our next post will be full of pictures of a new little baby. Until then here are a couple of pictures from this month:
Monday, May 7, 2018
Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to go to a two day conference with nine of our church family members. It was the first time for seven of them to experience something like that. (Special thank you to The Door Church for their financial support, which made it possible for so many from our church to go to the conference) It was also the first Gospel Coalition Conference in Italy. I think it was eye opening and also encouraging for them to see so many others in love with Jesus and following Him. Our hope is that being with other believers will encourage them and give them a renewed boldness in their faith and in how they live out God's love in their daily lives. One thing that really struck them was the dedication to God's word. Wanting to know God's word and applying it to our lives is something that continues to surprise our people that come from a non-practicing Catholic background. Please pray with us that the community they experienced as well as the teaching will spur them on in pursuing God and their walk with Him. It was encouraging for us as a family to hear stories of how the Lord is working through various churches throughout the country. It is easy for us to feel discouraged when we may not see the fruit we want to see in our timing. We are quickly reminded that God's timing is perfect and any fruit that we may experience is grace from Him.
All three of our birthdays are in April so it has been a month of celebrating in our house. It has been good and life giving to look back on all that the Lord brought us through in the last year. We are jumping into May with lots of joy in the Lord. We are thankful for a healthy pregnancy for Carli and the baby. We are just five weeks shy of his due date and we can tell that Luca is really getting excited about meeting his baby brother. He has been learning how to hold babies (by practicing with his animals) and getting diapers for us. Please be in prayer for us as the final preparations are on for becoming a family of four. We know that the Lord is writing our story and our hope is that our faith in Him is displayed in the coming weeks of intense moments like labor/delivery and recovery. Pray that all our interactions with nurses, midwives, and other patients would display our love not only for our new baby, but our love for God and His constant care for us.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Above is a video of the Baptism.
As a family we are doing well. Luca will be turning two years old this week. We daily remind ourselves how blessed we are to have him in our lives. He teaches us so much and gives us lots of laughs. Carli's pregnancy is going well. Lord willing the baby will be here in two more months. We still do not have a name chosen for him yet, but we have a short list that we are working through. We can't wait to have him join our family and experience life as a family of four. Ministry is going well and keeping us busy. Justin is working in the schools on Mondays and working with his private students on Thursdays. His teaching roles continue to open doors and conversations for us. We are thankful for those opportunities. Our church family is doing well. We are looking forward to continually growing more unified as one body and serving our community in the coming months at various events. Please pray that in the midst of busier seasons we would not lose sight of the purpose of us being here and that we would take moments of rest to continue serving.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Just wanted to update you all with some prayer requests from the last week. This Saturday we are having our second meeting in the morning with several from our church family. We call this meet up theology and breakfast. It is a time where our people can dig deeper theologically while applying what we learn to our local context. Please pray for open hearts as the Lord shapes the vision of our church and that His spirit gives us a desire to live out what we learn together. The course is called, "daily theology in mission" and it focuses on applying the theological truth of the Bible into our every day lives.
Please pray for our families who come to this event once a month. Please pray that we as a group and family understand the importance of putting theology into the everyday fabric of our lives and families and that these Saturdays are perfect for our people to serve one another.
Justin and Carli