THE CORONA CURSE IN ITALY

March 22, 2020

For over 1,000 years we have had the “corona curse” in Italy, ever since a friar copied the Muslim prayer beads and developed them into a means for counting the prayers to Mary and the “Our Fathers”, with a ratio of 10 to one.  These prayer beads or the “Rosary” (called “corona” in Italian) have been used as a form of penance for people who have confessed their sins to their priest and need to do some retribution of some sort. This is one of many reasons why the Whitmans have given their lives to get the Gospel of Salvation only by the Grace of God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died in our place on the cross!
 
We are very concerned for Italy, where the death toll has passed that of China, which has 23 times the population, with no end in sight.  Daniel and Jonathan are doing a great job of leading the church at Perugia, with studies and worship services online but they need our prayers for wisdom as they both (as well as Joshua at Imola) needed to come to the States this summer.
 
We had a good flight to the States on February 26, before Italy went in lock-down. We got out of Southern California, before they went on lock-down and we are now in the east, where many localities are already on lock-down.
 
This week-end’s services are cancelled as well as next week’s. Thank you for your prayers for our safety and ministry during this important time in the States. Our plans are to do the first half of our tenth furlough this year and the second half next summer. Our cancellations this year can be rescheduled for 2021.
 
Joshua with his family and Elizabeth with her family were all to be in the States for furlough this summer and Jonathan is to be here during the month of July to lead worship as Baptist Mid Missions celebrates 100 years of world-wide ministry. God knows if that can happen or not.
 
It is frightening to see what is happening in Italy. Our family remains safe in their homes with it’s challenges of leading their ministries by internet and helping their children finish the school year on line.  We are not sure how the Ransoms remodeling of their new apartment is going to proceed. They hoped to get our of their rental place before furlough.
 
We hope to see many of you in the next months ahead, the Lord-willing.  Psalm 91:1 was a tremendous blessing to us today, ”He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Prayer:
1. For the safety of our children in Italy and our fourteen grandchildren. Pray the parents will not be driven crazy as they try to continue ministry, have little ones underfoot, help the children do all their home work plus lessons on line and be house quarantined for weeks now.
2. Italy has lost so many to corona virus - over 4000. Each day the numbers are higher. Today over 700 died.
3. For Daniel and Liz who were to be on furlough this summer. They were hoping to get out of their rental apartment by the middle of May since they have bought an apartment but things are becoming difficult to move around with quarantines.
4. Pray that God would supply an Italian pastor for Centro Evangelico Battista. Danilo, a young Italian man, is spending a year in our church on an internship with Dann and Jonathan.
5. Myra, one of our church members, has been exposed to the virus by her father in law where her family lives. Pray for her husband, Michele, to come to faith in this crisis time.
6. Pray for Jeremy and Francesca as they await the birth of their third child, our 15th grandchild!

Praise:
1. We had a safe flight from Italy and Rachel had no problems flying after her recent major surgery.
2. We had wonderful times with our churches and supporters in California before the churches had to close because of the virus.
3. Fred was able to attend the Shepherd's conference. He never tires of learning and getting more books!
4. Praise the Lord for a safe place with friends in Ohio to sit out the quarantine complete with internet to stay connected as well as to be blessed by the continued ministry of the church in Italy. Many unchurched are being reached. 
5. Praise God that HE IS IN CONTROL!