This Church in Italy Doesn’t See Migrants as a Crisis

The Gospel Coalition | 3/22/2018 | Staff
joyy (Posted by) Level 3
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Here in Italy, the immigration issue dominated our recent national elections. The parties that seemed to garner the most votes were those who had the strongest—and often most negative—responses to the flood of people arriving on our shores. One well-known politician called the refugees a “ticking time bomb” and “promised” to expel the 600,000 newly arrived people. Certain politicians were able to win the populist votes by creating a sense of impending (but imaginary) threat.

The public in Italy has spoken: “These refugees (war-torn or economic) are not human beings to be welcomed. They are a problem to be expelled.”

Winds - Hostility - Gospel - Advances

But into the winds of rising hostility, the gospel advances.

Years ago, our small missional communities asked the Lord to guide and use us for the expected wave of migrants. We had little idea what that would look like. No one knew how this mass migration would change the face of Italy.

Winds - Hostility - Gospel - Advances

Into the winds of rising hostility, the gospel advances.

In early 2016, we were introduced to a tall, young, happy Nigerian man seeking work in our city. He pleaded with us to visit him in the refugee camp, which had been established in a medieval convent on the mountainside. Intrigued, some of our church members visited and found a mix of old dormitories and disaster relief tents housing more than 200 men from a dozen nations. The migration wave had begun.

God - Grace - Friend - Brother - Baptism

By God’s grace, our Nigerian friend later became our Nigerian brother. At his baptism, he testified that one of our Italian believers was the first white man to ever hug him. It wasn’t a rescue or social worker who hugged him after his perilous journey, but an Italian believer demonstrating a true welcome, born from the gospel of grace.

As we continued spending time in the refugee camps, we learned of the seemingly endless...
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