Italy – Covid-19 Update

Final update from Italy: many thanks for all your prayers!

The brother who was in very critical conditions and was kept on medical coma, was awaken and when he opened his eyes he spoke asking for a Bible! He’ll probably be sent at home in the next few days.

He wants to thanks all those who have faithfully prayed for him.

I write this final update with some really good news. I have previously wrote that the Samaritan’s Purse hospital had given a great testimony and was thanked by the local authorities and the people of the town in one of the most affected areas in Italy. What I learned only in these days by Antonio, a brother of an assembly in that area who voluntarily decided to go and help as interpreter, is something of which we need to thank the Lord!

Italy was for many weeks the Covid-19 most affected country and after the few initial weeks received aid from abroad, too. But the first helpers were believers from many countries working in that camp hospital which hosted up to 60 people.

Antonio told two wonderful stories – but there are more – which I’ll briefly summarise.

The first is of a man who had been terribly sick for several days. During the whole period he was shown all the Christian love by a doctor and a nurse, literally day and night. They would keep his hands and say some kind words but they wanted to say more and about the gospel, too. The doctor asked the interpreter to write the words in Italian of some good gospel songs so that she could learn them and sing in Italian. After many hours of hard work she would sit trying to learn by heart these songs. This took some days. While in the following days she was taking care of the man she would take his hand and kindly sing these songs with wonderful words and, together with the nurse, would pray for him.

After few days like this,  one night the man was incredibly suffering and the doctor realised that he would not live for too long. She called the interpreter and he tried to share once again the gospel. The man’s face was horrified but when he heard the gospel being explained, remembering all the love he had been shown, he listened very carefully. Slowly his face changed and when Antonio asked him if he would make the most important decision in his life he was ready to do so and said yes with his head! Suddenly Antonio saw that his face was now radiant and expressed the joy of being saved! The man was suffering in an incredible way but he seemed not. After two long hours in terrible pains he passed away and went to be with the Lord. Both his wife and daughter when they heard all what had happened decided to be in touch with Antonio and pretty soon they’re going to meet.

Being a missionary Antonio was used to visit sick people in his normal ministry. He would do this even if with effort surely recognizing that this was not his main ministry. However he asked the Lord that, in this particular situation, during the time spent in this hospital he would be able not only to translate but also to give comfort and speak about the Lord Jesus Christ’s love. And he did this in many occasions taking all the opportunities. One day he visited a man who was in coma; he prayed for his salvation and physical recovery while the various medical doctors and nurses were around him trying to give some kind of comfort holding his hands.

Then another brother who had pastoral gifts and was exercising his ministry outside of the camp hospital encouraging and presenting the gospel to the ill people’s relative decided to go inside the hospital stopping at the bedside of those who were almost dying. Amongst them there was the man described above. The brother prayed for him too and while he was doing this he opened his eyes so the doctor and the nurse were massaging his hands and feet as he couldn’t move them. Tears were on his face because he realised that he was paralysed but again and again received several times these massages and the brother would constantly pray briefly for him in Italian so that he could understand. The doctor and the nurse would do that too but in English. But nothing happened as he wasn’t responding.

Then suddenly, after what was done for him several times for some days, he started to move his arms, hands and feet and began to speak. He recovered physically but the story ends with the most important thing: he, too, opened his heart to the Lord! And when he went out of the camp hospital was a transformed man!

In spite of the anguish and problems of the virus the Lord has done miracles! Lives have been transformed, hundreds have listened to live programmes broadcasted every evening. And most of the assemblies continue to “gather” through technological means during Sunday mornings and midweek services. Many believers who were not able to be present at the latter participate in prayer’s or Bible studies’ meetings.

The Lord has taught us many lessons but one of them will remain in our minds: He’s in control of all the situations and He’s able to change tragedies into victories for His only glory!