Gospel News · September - December 2017

Carelinks | Italy
t was eight years ago that we baptized
brother Festus in Naples. He is a long term
resident of Italy. He and his wife, like brother
Joseph in Cesena, are deeply grieved at the
appearance of so many desperate African
migrants on the streets of Naples.
All we can do is to offer the hope of the Gospel
and do what we can to alleviate the obvious
material needs. We are really inspired to do
this by these African women who are throwing
themselves upon the Lord. Festus and Rosa
have been teaching some women the Gospel,
and it was a pleasure to help them to baptize
sisters Mary, Endurance, Perpetua, Maria,
Rosemary, Dolly and brother Bright. As with
similar women in Sicily, we helped them to
have white clothes for the baptisms and to do
all we can to give some sense of occasion to
this wonderful moment when they entered the
bride of Christ.
You can imagine what it’s like for the few
women who attempt the journey. We baptized
Blessing, who was first contacted through
street distribution of the NEV New Testaments.
She very much wanted to share her story
publicly, we didn’t ask her to do this, she
wanted to. She described how her husband
had multiple other women in their home and
she had to leave, having to leave their child
with him. She returned to her parental home,
and there her uncle, her father’s brother, pres-
sured her to marry him [he already had several
wives] or at least have children with him. Her
father pressured her to agree, and so she ran
away and joined the exodus to Italy. She was
kidnapped at gunpoint in Libya by the traf-
fickers, and kept for 2 months as a sex slave
and raped most days. Like brother Tony, she
was pressured to call her family and ask them
to send money for her release, but she had
been thrown out of her family and they
wouldn’t, so eventually the traffickers
released her as she was not going to be a
source of income
for them. She
then got to Sicily,
having witnessed
some of her group
drowning on the
way. Right is a still
from the video she
wished to make
about her experi-
ences, which you
can watch at:
Like us all, she had to be brought down and to
total loneliness with God to find Jesus in spirit
and truth. She speaks of how she has forgiven
these people, because we too are all terrible
sinners before God; and of how God’s grace is
so great that she sees Him as a kind and loving
God, despite what she went through. She
speaks quietly and from the heart, with sweat
breaking out on her, and only once wiping
tears away; she has absolute credibility. This
is a profound message absolutely worth
~ continued ...