Italy: It is not always rainbows
The rainbows were everywhere. Rebecca Iacone, a student from GBU Naples, could see them brightening the balcony of each flat on her street. Above the colours, each picture displayed the cheery message – “Andrá tutto bene.” Everything will be okay. Each night the news reported the death toll, sometimes accompanied by disturbing photos of corpses carried away in trucks. Yet the program always finished with a hopeful “Andrá tutto bene.”
But will it really be okay? GBU Naples bravely faced this question during the worst of the lockdown. With every online gathering, students voiced their worries about sick family members, delayed studies, and their limited freedom. As many relied on the hope that life would return to normal after the virus passed, GBU staff Francesco Schiano reminded them that without Jesus, there is no hope.
“Coronavirus offered us tremendous opportunities to remind people around us that death is a constant reality and that forgetting about it is a big mistake (Ecclesiastes 7:2).”
By studying Habakkuk and Revelation, the group looked at suffering through a biblical lens. Students were challenged to put their faith not in temporary solutions, but rather in Jesus, the conqueror of death. Rebecca says that the study allowed students to see their situation through God’s eyes.
“We believe in a God that loves us and is preparing something much greater for all of us. We need to remember that we won’t be in this world forever, that suffering will end, and God’s justice will be established, as we read in Habakkuk. Even if things are bad now, God will make everything right in His own timing.”
Rebecca also says that the movement was able to reach many new students with hope. Under normal circumstances, meeting numbers are low, as many students commute into the city from their hometowns. Yet online ministry has made it possible for more to attend. Pray for GBU Naples as they follow up with the Christian and non-Christian students who have joined them online in the last few months. Let’s also pray for GBU Italy.
- Pray that Christians will remain hopeful in Jesus, even as they deal with an uncertain future.
- Pray for more staff workers in Italy. Currently there are many regions without a staff worker, and some of the staff workers need a full or part time job to support themselves.
- Pray for students as they navigate nominal Catholicism in every part of their life. Pray that their classmates would understand how a relationship with Jesus is different.