When I had it in my heart two years ago to get an apartment in Milan, the idea was to use it as a guesthouse for visiting missionaries and pastors—the first ever (though I am not the only one to have this idea). As I started using my first apartment for hosting, there was a lot of opposition—opposition which had a human face, but was clearly inspired by the enemy that is not flesh and blood. At that time I hadn’t built a team of intercessors for the ministry yet. That was a classic rookie mistake. I am still learning how to do this whole missionary/ministry thing. Anyway, as a result of the opposition, I was led to leave that apartment, go on last summer’s Faith Trip, and spend the past 13 months living out of a suitcase, first here and then in the US.
Upon my return to Italy, I got a green light from God to go look for an apartment. This time around, the guesthouse apartment project has a team of intercessors praying it through to victory. This was the second apartment I looked at—and I really only looked at the other one as a courtesy to a friend.
Besides serving as a missionary guesthouse, this apartment will have a second purpose, as a House of Prayer for Europe—the first House of Prayer specifically for Europe.
I am now in the apartment, but nowhere near ready for hosting. When I moved in two weeks ago, the apartment was empty—even the kitchen was empty, just 4 walls and pipes coming out of one of those walls. The kitchen is still empty, but little by little the rest of the apartment is being filled. Here is a list of things still needed for the apartment:
- Kitchen cabinets, sink
- Oven, stove
- Beds – 4 (I am sleeping on a folding bed donated by a friend)
- Sofas – 1 large, 1 loveseat (one loveseat was donated by a friend)
- Wardrobes – 5 (a friend has two large wardrobes and one small to give me, but we need to figure out how to get them here)
- Tables – 1 small (2-4 seats), 1 large (8+ seats)
- Chairs – 15, plus folding chairs
- Bedside tables – 3
- Light fixtures – 6 ceiling, 1 wall, 1 with mirror for bathroom
- Lamps – 2 desk lamps, 2 bedside, 2 floor lamps
- Dressers – 2
- Desks – 2
- Bookshelves – 3
- Rolling garment racks – 8
You may be wondering about that last item. Why on earth would I need rolling garment racks, and why eight of them? The custodian of the building loaned me a rolling garment rack and it answered a couple of problems for the living room, which will serve as the House of Prayer: how to display the flags of Europe in such a way that they can easily be taken down, prayed over, waved, danced with, etc. The racks with flags on S hooks will also help to divide the living room into living and dining space without such division being permanent.
On Sunday I saw two English-speaking friends at church. One of them expressed a need for fellowship in English. I said, “Why don’t you come over and we’ll have a Bible study?” So we set an appointment for the next evening in my apartment. I contacted the other friend and invited her, too. She eagerly accepted and asked for my address. We had both moved since the last time we had seen each other (over a year ago), but I knew that she still lived in the same neighborhood. When she saw my address she replied, “I live on the same street—girlfriend, we’re neighbors!”
In preparing for the Bible study, I spent time in prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher. I love to teach, but I love even more hearing from God. In introducing these two friends to each other, a lesson flowed effortlessly from the conversation. The Holy Spirit had indeed showed up and taught us from God’s Word. And we each enjoyed an evening of beautiful fellowship.
One friend was looking for work, and the other had a wonderful idea for finding plenty of work.
Although the house is bare, and I only had two small lights, a loveseat, and two folding chairs, I was very happy to see the apartment begin its ministry purpose. This was the first of many such evenings. And it happened through a series of coincidences, though not really coincidences, if you know what I mean.