Today was a great day, in many ways, a typical day, and I want to walk you through it.
This week I am hosting Lars, the head of Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE), and Daniele of the Expo Bus. Lars came here for a leadership conference, hosted by YWAM Milano. And then tomorrow we will fly out together to Cyprus for the Cyprus and Malta trip with OCE. Daniele operates the Expo Bus, even though the Expo ended. The bus ministry, Missione REM, has obtained a third bus. The first bus is always traveling around Italy, supporting local churches in sharing the Good News. The second bus is the Expo Bus, here in Milan, and this third bus is parked in Rome for 2016, the Year of Jubilee. The third bus is called Fermata per il Perdono, The Forgiveness Bus Stop. Daniele will be dividing his time this year between Milan and Rome.
At breakfast, I found Lars in the kitchen prophesying over Daniele. I entered just in time to translate because Daniele didn’t understand all of it. Lars prophesied that Daniele will need to learn English because he’s got an apostolic calling on his life, and God will take him beyond Italy. It encouraged Daniele to hear this. Daniele is about 30 years old, an ex-drug user, and lives now to serve the Lord as an evangelist. It encouraged me to have these two men of God in my house, and to see them encouraging each other over breakfast was amazing.
After breakfast grabbed a handful of cards and put them in my pocket. We call these io-ti cards because they all start with the words Io ti . . . and they’re signed God. The cards have various phrases:
Io ti perdono, I forgive you.
Io ti conosco, I know you.
Io ti amo, I love you.
Io ti ascolto, I am listening to you.
Io ti cerco, I am looking for you.
And on the back is an explanation of how God really loves the reader, and is interested in his or her life. There is also a website where the person can explore further. I always leave the house with a mix of cards in my pocket. I pray over the cards, asking God to put an angel with each so that the right message gets to the right person, and that the person will really hear the message of God’s love for him or her.
The really great thing about the io-ti cards is that anyone can use them, even if they don’t speak Italian. All they have to do is give them to people. Or they can leave the cards in various strategic places around the city: on a bus seat, in the subway, at the local coffee bar, etc.
So with my pocket loaded, I went to the health department to get my health card. It sounds simple, but it’s not such a quick or easy process. This was my second attempt this year, which is about average. Happily, it didn’t take the whole blessed morning. The bonus is what happened when I went to the Post Office to pay for my health insurance. I took a number and waited to be called. As I waited, I noticed one particular clerk. The sign over his desk announced his name as Antonio. I prayed for Antonio as I waited.
Then when it was my turn, guess which clerk served me. As I paid for my health card, Antonio asked me (as many Italians do) what I am doing in Italy. Now, as far as the government is concerned, I am retired. After all, I was a housewife, I am no longer a housewife, therefore I am retired. But I felt that familiar little push of the Holy Spirit to tell him. God didn’t call me to be a Secret Agent Christian, after all. So I told him that I’m here because of the call of God, and I pulled a card out of my pocket and gave it to him.
Since I carry a mix of cards, I never know which one is coming out. What Antonio got was I forgive you. He glanced at it and said with a wry smile, “OK, but I don’t believe in God.” Then he tried to give the card back to me. I leaned closer to him and said in a quiet voice (not wanting to embarrass him), “Even if you don’t believe in God, He believes in you. Keep the card.” Then he thanked me and slipped the card into his breast pocket, close to his heart.
Obviously from here, I could do nothing more because he had other customers. But I believe that God had made our encounter exactly long enough to touch Antonio’s heart. Since I prayed for an angel to go with the card, he will no doubt continue hearing about God, and will have other divine appointments with believers.
With the health card now in hand, and the morning only about half gone, I needed to do some grocery shopping. I went to the street market. It’s like the Farmer’s Market because what was in the ground yesterday is in the market today. I bought fresh fruits and veggies at the green grocer. I’ve been a loyal customer for years now, so he welcomed me back, and gave me a giant fresh date from Israel. Then I bought cheeses from the cheese wagon. The cheese vendor was so pleased to see me that he kept cutting off little pieces of cheese to taste. Then I bought a turkey leg from the roaster wagon. Usually I buy chicken, but today they had turkey. Then, I bought fresh olives from the olive vendor, and finally fresh flowers from the flower vendor.
I came home, put the flowers in a vase, and put the groceries away. I had the turkey leg for lunch and studied Hebrew. Since I have been traveling for most of the past two weeks, I haven’t had much time to keep up with my studies.
After lunch I took a break and prayed for about an hour. I have been praying for more time to spend in prayer, but often the day gets away from me. After an hour of prayer, I felt like I needed to get back to work, but then came the answer of God. My phone rang, and it was Suki. She said that she was on her way to a Muslim woman’s house, and that she wanted someone to be covering her in prayer while she’s there. She said that the woman’s husband lost his job, so she didn’t know if he would be home, but he’s shown what feels like an unhealthy interest in her. So that sent me back to my knees in prayer—and it was a wonderful time of prayer.
Despite travel preventing me from studying Hebrew as much as I should this week, I did well in my Hebrew lesson. I didn’t make a fool of myself when the teacher called on me, and he ended class a bit early—Thank You, Jesus!
Then I went to the grocery store for stuff I can’t find in the street market: crackers, fabric softener, whole grain cookies, and other stuff. I know all that seems like a lot for one person, but remember, I’ve got house guests to feed.
As I waited for the bus home, I saw that amid the traffic and construction, the sunset had splashed the white building across the street with flaming pink. Nice touch, Lord!
On the bus there were men and women distracted by their phones as we passed schools and massage parlors (which are really brothels). Yes, this city needs Jesus. But I believe that Revival is coming, in fact has already started. Praying for Revival and the Great End Time Harvest is why I want to spend more time in prayer every day. I know that despite the terrible things in this world, God can turn it all around. This is why I do what I do. I am collaborating with God. Jesus is the hope for the world!
Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field, (Zechariah 10:1, KJV, emphasis mine).
We need to pray for Revival, and Revival has in fact begun. Joel 2:28 says that in the Last Days God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. I believe that this is in anticipation of the Great End Times Harvest. God will bless those that are “harvested” into His Kingdom, how much more will He bless those who help do the harvesting? I want to be one of God’s harvesters. I don’t want to passively sit by and watch it all happen around me. What a privilege to be alive in this time! God is good!