Inaugural Sunday (Update from the Johnstons)
Our hearts are brimming with gratitude to our God who always gives us far more than we deserve. Yesterday morning we held our inaugural service in the new building (the one we keep telling you about). It was the culmination of so much preparation that it’s hard to believe it really happened. As you have been so faithful to give towards the project and to pray that the Lord might use it for His glory, we wanted to make sure that you likewise had the opportunity to rejoice with us in all that the Lord did.
The days leading up to the inaugural Sunday were a blur. The building, albeit small, had accumulated an unbelievable quantity of dust after 6 months as a construction site. We began the “final” clean early in the week and were grateful to have the help of some friends who have been regularly attending the Bible study. It was a joy to see that the Lord is already building a sense of community, and that the new building is already providing others with opportunities to serve.
Friday was a day of important deliveries. The carpenter showed up with the pulpit Friday morning and the sign for the building arrived Friday afternoon (see the pictures below). They also installed the last pieces of a railing to make the stairs safe. In between deliveries we put together all the chairs and then Saturday we wrapped up the cleaning.
We were encouraged by all that took place, but I’ll mention four specifics. First, it was a great joy for me to prepare and lead a worship service alongside Massimo. Until now we have met for Bible study in our living room, and, although we are a long way away from being a real church with members, Sunday was more of a worship service then a Bible study. Second, it was a thrill to share the moment with our small group the Lord has assembled over the last year. They were all glad to be there, several of them were already looking for ways to serve. Third, the architect that worked on the building project came to the service with a friend. We’ve had several chances to talk to the architect about the gospel, but his friend said Sunday was his first protestant worship service. Please pray! Fourth, we had no idea how many people would show up, but there were also a few people who are professing believers that seem to be curious and searching for answers on different levels.
The other great encouragement on Sunday was the texts and messages we received from all of you who were so clearly praying and rejoicing with us. We cannot thank you enough for your generous giving and for being such a wonderful source of support. It was so neat to be able to share with the people that your loving sacrifice made our first Sunday possible. Thank you for sharing in our joy and excitement! Please continue to pray that the Lord would build His church here in Genova!