Permitted

17 March

Here I am at the photo booth, getting my passport photos for the renewal

As I was putting my papers together for renewing my Permit to Stay in Italy, I came across some old Permit papers.  I mean really old papers—the papers I found dated back to the first time I lived in Italy (2001 to 2007).

I’ve told the story many times, how one day in 1999 I was having my usual Bible and prayer time when God spoke audibly.  He said, “Ask Me for it.”  I said, “Um, ask You for what?”  And instantly I remembered Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I realized that God was inviting me to ask Him for the desire of my heart.  Without missing a beat, I said, “I want to live in Europe.”

As I asked for the desire of my heart, I knew two things: 1) that it was going to take some prayer—after all, I was a housewife, a stay-at-home mom with a ten year old son, how would I ever move from a small town in rural Connecticut to Europe?  So I knew it would take some prayer.  At the same time, I knew that 2) if God was inviting me to ask for it, then He had every intention of making it happen.  So I prayed those prayers, knowing that I was collaborating with God, Himself.  Nothing could stand in our way.  And two years later, my husband was offered a job in Italy, in a small town just outside of Milan.

So as I was looking through these old papers yesterday, I realized that God had made many individuals (my husband, his boss, in fact the whole company, and the Italian government) come together for one purpose: to bring me to Italy.  None of them were aware of it, only God and I knew.

I didn’t even realize the significance of moving to Italy at the time.  Like most people, I didn’t know that Italy (and indeed Europe) was a mission field.  I quickly learned that it is, and my heart yearned for the salvation of the people of Italy.  These people were so disconnected from God that they either slavishly attended mass daily, parroting prayers that begged God to hear their pleas or they walked away from church and sought spiritual significance in witchcraft, fortunetelling, New Age/paganism, pseudo-Christianity (Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormonism), Buddhism, hedonism, even satanism.

Once again, I was struck by God’s purpose and His power in all this, moving individuals, a big company, and the Italian government just so that I could be a missionary here.  To those who have missionary dreams, I say: partner with God.  Pray big, scary prayers.  Pray with assurance, seeing what you want to happen, and don’t ever give up!  If God wants you here, He will move Heaven and earth to get you here.  Nothing, no issue (financial, health, or legal) can stand against His purposes.  God is good!

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