We are humbled and so happy to tell you our glass is MORE than half full! We have officially reached 51% of our goal for monthly financial support! We are over halfway there and God has done it in just over two months! We are so grateful for the team God has put together so far and excited to seeing how He gets us the rest of the way and who He will use. Keep watching that support thermometer and keep praying it keeps rising!

Speaking of heat, we are residing in sultry Michigan for the next 10 days where we are being reminded to enjoy the air conditioning wherever it may be found since next summer, God willing we’re in Italy, we will have none! Our purpose for being here in MI is to reconnect with people from the church Jon grew up in and with other family friends. We will have 3 group meetings at the church over the course of our time here and separate meetings with various families and individuals to present the details about our ministry and how they can be involved. We are grateful for the chance to share with the people here and serve them in any way we can!

Throughout our time raising a team of supporters God has provided several tidbits of encouragement. Here’s a quick story about one person who believes our ministry in Italy is exactly what the people there need:

Last week we had the privilege of meeting with the Lead Pastor at a large church in my hometown where we’ve been attending while in Ohio. He’d never met us until this summer, but when he heard about our call to ministry in Italy he became one of our biggest cheerleaders. He’s Italian and while he’s lived in the U.S. for years, he returns to Italy bi-annually for the summer to visit and do ministry. When we asked what his advice to us would be based on his experience sharing Christ in Italy he responded, “patience.” The Italian people think they know Christ because of their Catholic heritage, but most of them have no idea that you can have a personal relationship with the living God rather than religion on a shelf. So you have to be willing to patiently endure rejection from the Post-Christian society and wade through jaded assumptions until arriving at a place where you can share life-giving truth.

In his estimation, the biggest problem with missions in Italy has been the tendency to miss the richness of the Italian culture and allowing it to shape how ministry is done. He’s thrilled about our ministry because on the contrary, our ministry through the arts is dedicated to honoring the Italian culture (or whatever culture we are ministering in) and doing ministry that organically reflects it. What an encouragement to hear such enthusiasm about the work we will be doing from someone so invested in the people and nation of Italy!

Thanks Lord! May You continue crafting this ministry and preparing those involved to bring others to Yourself. All honor and praise be Yours. We are humbled to be a part of what You are doing.

In His grip,

Erika Tello

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