From 20th to 22nd May 2016 it was held in Turin, in the church via Spalato 9/B, the 1st National Mission Congress of the Italian Assemblies of God.
For the occasion two servants of the Lord were invited, involved for decades in missions: Greg MUNDIS, missionary since 1978 and now executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions, already known and appreciated within our Churches and Rick CUNNINGHAM, missionary since 1983 of the Assemblies of God USA, in Spain and Romania, teacher, pastor and educator.
This First National Mission Congress has been characterized by a strong desire to recover the lost time and the continuous encouragement to work in missions for the Glory of God and the salvation of souls. From all the brothers responsible and missionary guests has risen a sincere prayer to the Lord that He might touch the hearts of believers because: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
During the services, there were projected video-greetings and updates of the 11 missionaries from Italy already supported: Emmanuel and Patricia Mango in Albania in Durres, Michele and Elena Mango in Albania in Tirana, Davide and Sara Valentino in Niger, Egidio and Sarah Gabriele in Montenegro, Fabio and Francesca Paolucci in Niger and sister Francesca Barbera in Niger. We thank God as He is working through these servants and we rejoice how He cares for them. We also prayed for the seven candidates who have applied to leave for a mission field. We rejoice as Italian people is responding to the divine call!
During the first evening service, brother Mundis has preached on the verse in Romans 10: 14-15: “Now as they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear if there is no one to preach? And how they will proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news! ‘“
Brother Mundis, with the help of the Lord, reminded us of the mission commitment that every Pentecostal believer should have: an urgent task, because many people have not yet heard the Gospel, an effort led by the Holy Spirit , a universal commitment and a supreme effort. The Lord has encouraged every believers to be ready to “go” in the mission field or “to send” missionaries all around the world. Many young people responded to the call and decided to devote their lives to the Lord.
The biblical studies, held by brother Rick Cunningham, have ranged from “dare to dream”, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to the biblical mandate to proclaim the gospel to every creature, to the 7 steps that Jesus used as a “plan of attack” to see lives changed through His disciples.
Brother Cunningham, clearly and with a divine guidance, urged all presents to realize that Italy is like a “giant” that needs to be awaken and send missionaries around the world. And this 1st congress is probably the starting point! We are neither too few nor too weak nor too poor to send workers in the field of the Lord! We were also encouraged to not listen the lies of the enemy, but to use our faith to demolish them and expect great things from the Lord.
“… Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God …” [cit. William Carey]
God seeks people who see the world through His eyes and, with courage and determination, will be able to dream higher things with Him. Through the biblical studies, the Italian people has been encouraged, in many ways, to surrender totally in God’s hands, with the knowledge that there is a huge need for workers. The real key is to have this “vision”, so that it can take place a change that opens the door to miracles. Church history proves it: men and women have changed history, because they have caught a fresh vision of what God could do through them. “Lord, help us to dream and to dare to dream big!”
In details, the biblical studies have indicated that in order to fulfill the divine mandate, it is necessary to organize, individually and as a local church. Individually, by looking at how you are involved in missions, both financially and spiritually; as a local church, with targeted programs and constant support to mission families, supported by periodic commitments of faith and considering the missionaries as part of your local church family. Obviously, this organization must also be at national level, through the Mission Department, to foster partnerships with other organizations and world missions to be able to take the strengths of each other.
Through the evening services, brother Mundis has reminded us how important it is to listen to the will of God and, therefore, talk about the Lord ANYWHERE and at ANY PRICE. While in the first evening service there was a call to consecration and going to missions, in the second evening service it has been made a call to parents and grandparents of those young people who want to go into the mission field, but they face obstacles from their own family. God is good because many believers have consecrated their children and grandchildren to the Lord.
During the last service with the presidence of by brother Loria, president of the Assemblies of God in Italy, the Lord comforted us through the verses of Psalm 139. Brother Mundis stressed, through the Word of God and his personal experience, that knowledge that the Lord have of us is wonderful. He has unexplained and perfect plans for our lives and has formed us for His purposes, prepared in heaven, as we were formed in our mother womb. Satan will try to interpose obstacles, but we have to make a decision and be obedient and walk in the light, as He is in the light. God can use us whoever we are and whatever our history, because the cross of Jesus covers all sins. We have to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, to obey to Him and trust in Him and He will guide us in the paths He has prepared for us. No matter what the world has done to us, Jesus can wipe out everything. The final appeal was aimed at those who have been psychologically, spiritually and sexually abused, so that they could forgive and be delivered from all anger and resentment. Many responded to the altar call and God has certainly started a healing process in these hearts.
Here are our pastors in charge of the Mission Department (brothers Gargano, Fragnito, Mortelliti, Perugini, Tilenni) along with our missionary guests of this conference and brother Loria.
We thank God for His faithfulness and conclude by encouraging all to take part in this wonderful service knowing that the missions are made by … FEET of those ranging, KNEES of those who pray, and HANDS of those who gives.”
To God be the glory forever.