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"Email Garlic Press" from Mario Bruno

Started by Pat, October 01, 2003, 06:12:22 PM

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Pat

From time to time, I'll put Mario's very interesting Prayer Letter in here so that we can remember him in prayer as he labours for his Lord and Saviour in Italy.  

I was putting it in regularly on the old CP but haven't on this one so will try to remember from now on.

Please pray for Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

Email Garlic Press~Sept. 1, 2003


Hello,



I hope this email finds you all well.  As I write you I have been back in Rome for 3 days and already have made several visits and had 1 Bible study.  I had a very busy time in Canada on Home Assignment.  Busier than I expected and thank the Lord for it. Many I spoke to encouraged my heart in the Lord.  Thank you to all who gave us Sunday School material for our new church.  I brought back a suitcase and a backpack full of material.



I was speaking at a prayer meeting in one of the churches in Toronto.  After the meeting one of the ladies who lives in the area of the church ask if I wouldn't mind going over to pay a visit to one of her Italian neighbours because someone in that family was ill and wanted to meet me to talk about the Lord.  Both the man and his mother came to the door and I was able to share the gospel with them and encouraged them to read the Bible they had.  Since I was to return to Italy within the week I referred them to the pastor of the church I was speaking in and the pastor of the Italian church in Toronto.



Twice this summer it was my privilege and joy to do something that God did on an equally happy occasion. After creating Eve, the Lord God, as "the father of the Bride," walked his daughter down the aisle, as it were, for we read: "Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man,"(Gen.2:22). God presented her to Adam and then He Himself united them and pronounced them man and wife and they become one flesh.  At Andrea's and Andy's , and Rebecca's  and George's wedding I was the officiating minister since I am licensed to perform marriages in the Province of Ontario.



I can tell you that Rebecca and George's wedding went well.  The marriage ceremony was a very good witness to the goodness of God and the sanctity of marriage as instituted by the Lord.  We live in troubled times evidenced by the fact that Canada is considering a bill in Parliament to legalize same-sex marriages and another bill to declare the Bible as "hate literature".  May the Lord have mercy upon us.



I must also tell you that our grandson is a joy to his parents and us.  He was born long and skinny and only in the last week did he start of look "round" the way babies do.  We don't know when the next time will be that we will be able to see him.



It is incredibly hot here. The news has reported that the heat wave in Europe has killed over 11,000(!) in France alone and they expect the toll to go much higher. We sweat here just thinking let alone doing any work.



I was encouraged about the new church at my arrival.  The summer went well for them.  They were able to have services every Sunday except for 3 when 90% of the congregation was away on holidays. Our task now is to build up these believers so that as they mature in their faith they can take over the leadership of the church.  At the same time evangelism and making new contacts will take up a lot of our time.  These are the 2 main thrusts of our work for at least the next year.  We will continue to hold services in our apartment until the Lord provides us with a room or 2 we can use for Sunday mornings only.  As our attendance increases the need for a location will become more pressing.



I must also mention 1 more prayer request.  It has been years since I have asked you to pray for my support.  In the past 3 years it has been decreasing and for the first time in many years Rose and I are about $200 per month under-supported.  Would you please make this a matter of prayer.



May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose.


"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

Email Garlic Press~September 28, 2003


Hello,

I hope you can read the joy I feel as I write to you some of the good things God has done for us.  Rose and I have been very thankful for the upcoming baptismal service.  Two ladies that we have been working with for the past 2 years will give their public testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ.  Their joy and enthusiasm is contagious.  The service will be Oct. 19th with many of their relatives and friends being invited.  We pray that this will be an opportunity for evangelism as well.


As for the newly established church God has given two families that are deeply committed to serving Him and they have already shown much spiritual maturity. One of them was in charge of the church while I was on Home Assignment this past summer and so they have already demonstrated pastoral skills and the qualities of an elder. Because of their spiritual gifts, their desire to serve and commitment to the Lord I am planning that they be the elders and pastors of the church and I, for now, will be one of the elders (the teaching elder). It would mean that I would work alongside them. This way the church would being at a much earlier stage to be transferred over to the Italian believers.  We are still meeting in my living room and are asking the Lord for a place where we can meet.



One of the men I have been working with for the past 8 months has a zeal for evangelism.  He lives about 500 meters from the Vatican and has a real burden to evangelize his community. In order to train him I have been going with him to a local open market near his apartment with the book table.  The response there has been much the same as all the other areas of Rome where I have done evangelism except that there are many, many more priests and nuns that walk by. Thus far none have stopped to talk but some have taken some of the literature we have offered while others have made fun of us. (Whether it is just coincidence or not so far there hasn't been a single JW come by.)  I rejoice every time the Lord gives me an opportunity to share Christ with someone. It's sad to see some look over the "pearl of great price" and then abandon Him because they either love the praise of men more the praise of God (John 12:43) or are fearful of being put out of the "synagogue" (John 9: 22-23).  



May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose.



"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat


Email Garlic Press~October 11


A NEW CHURCH IS BORN

As in New Testament times this new church is meeting in a home—my living room to be specific. We are now six families meeting on a regular basis with occasional visits from others. There is a wonderful spirit of joy and fellowship. The meetings are less formal with everyone able to participate in the services. Sunday school is held around the kitchen table.

God has provided two men that have proven to be very faithful, teachable and committed to the work. While Rose and I were on Home Assignment this past summer one of them already has proven capable of pastoring the church because he responsibly led the services while the preaching was done by local Italian pastors and a few missionaries. Rose and I kept in contact with the church from Canada by phone and email every week. These two men already demonstrate the qualities required for elders.

In order to turn the church over to them sooner we are making all our decisions together. For now, I will be one of the elders (the teaching elder). It means that I would work alongside them.

Together they make an excellent team. One knows his spiritual gift-mix. He is not a preacher. He never was a good student. What he lacks in this area he makes up for in dedication and care of the congregation members. He has such a love for the Lord. He is always calling the church families on the phone and often invites them to his apartment for a meal. The other is more gifted in studying and speaking.

We will hold our first baptismal service this month with two ladies giving testimony. In both cases their husbands are not converted. One does come to the Sunday morning services. The other husband we have never met even though he is not contrary to his wife or children following the Lord and being part of the church. He has promised to attend his wife's baptism. Rose has Bible studies with these two ladies in their homes. This has given Rose the opportunity to meet and speak to other family members.

The Lord has given me excellent opportunities to share the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ every time I go to the market with the book table. Recently, one of the men I am discipling expressed his burden to reach the neighbourhood where he lives (which is 500 meters from the Vatican). He has done all the legwork to get the necessary documents for us to set up the book table in the market closest to his apartment. We have been going out together once a week to evangelize. This has the double advantage of being able to reach a new area as well as to train him how to present the gospel to all kinds of people. He is an eager learner. He wants to be competent in his witness so that he will be able to carry on by himself.

We praise and thank God for these demonstrations of His grace and power. We thank you all for your prayers and love. Special thanks to all who gave, mailed, or contributed the Sunday School material we asked for. May the Lord richly bless and reward you all. His grace be upon you.


Mario and Rose





"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

karmat

Thank you for posting these, Pat.  I had forgotten about Mario  ::) but am glad to be "reunited" with him.

Pat

Email Garlic Press~October 22


Hello,

I had hoped to sent this email out yesterday to give you all the details of the baptismal service for 2 ladies but we had to make a number of visits afterwards and it got too late.  Being able to write to you now gives me the advantage of being able tell you of the ways both ladies were able to share their faith with their family members as a result of the word of their baptism spreading through their respective clans.



First, the baptism itself.  It was such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Lord and His goodness to us.  Since we are meeting in our apartment for services we joined with a sister church to use their baptistery.  Between their congregation and ours and the friends and relatives that came there was standing room only in the church (in all more than 100 were present).  Rose and I counted at least 9 relatives we had never met before that came to the service.



The 2 ladies gave such clear and simple testimonies of the grace of God in their lives, of how they came to understand their need for Christ, which verses in the Bible especially touched them, and how Christ had changed their lives.  I preached on what baptism means and why we practice it as adults explaining the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. After the service about 80 remained for a meal of fellowship and brotherly love concluding with the Lord's table.



When the 2 ladies got home that evening and during the next day they received phone calls from their relatives asking questions like: "why did you have to get baptized again?  Wasn't the first one done as a baby valid for you?  Are you saying your parents made a mistake...etc."  Their answers went basically along this line: "I don't remember anything of my baptism as a baby.  I did not choose to get baptized then. I got baptized now because I want to live for the Lord.  I understand now what salvation means and I want to follow Jesus. This is what I read in scripture to do."  They were so glad they could talk about their faith in Christ to their relatives as a result of the questions their baptism caused among their relatives.



I was told that this answer satisfied some of the relatives but others seem to have kept their distance.  This is part and parcel of anyone wanting to live for the Lord.  Please, pray that their faith will grow and their testimony will remain strong and that their relatives will, in time, accept Christ's free gift of salvation. For me to live is Christ and to die is to gain Christ.



May God's grace be upon you.

Mario.



"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

Email Garlic Press~October 29



Hello,



The accumulative effect of your prayers was very evident last week at the book table. On the two occasions I was not rained out it seemed as if people were lined up to take material or speak to me. For the first time the passers-by took the initiative to come up and ask for material to take away and read. It doesn't normally happen.



At the market near the Vatican a nun first and later on a priest stopped to look over my books and tracts. After a brief conversion with each of them I gave them both the printed testimony of an Italian priest/missionary to the Philippines who was converted there and now serves as an evangelical missionary in that country. Needless to say, I was very excited.



Last Sunday, through a number of different circumstances, only one family came to the service. Needless to say, I was discouraged. I guess the Lord was making sure that I remembered that all depends on His grace and working and that I would not exalt in myself. Jesus said He will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. This is still true today and that truth keeps us working at church planting in Rome even though the process is long and hard.



May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.


"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat


Email Garlic Press~November 11


Hello,

It had rained all night.  When I looked out my apartment window early Saturday morning I saw that the sky was still dark with clouds.  "Should I go to the open market near the Vatican today with the book table?" I wondered to myself.  After breakfast I took another look at the sky and saw that the sun appeared to be burning off the cloud cover so I decided to go and stay as long as possible.



I bring an Italian believer with me to this market every Saturday so that I can train him until he feels confident enough to evangelize in an open market on his own.  We pray and commit our day into the Lord's hands when we set up the table and put out the material I bring to give away.



Either because of the rain and the overcast skies or because it is November, this particular Saturday very few people were stopping. The truth is no one was stopping.  So we prayed together asking the Lord to bring people by that we could talk to.  In my prayer I quoted the promise of Jesus: "ask and it shall be given to you".  For quite a while we still had not given out a single tract or spoken to one person so the Italian believer asked me, "Mario, why doesn't God answer our prayer since we are doing what He has commanded us to do and we are basing our request on His promise." "Good question", I thought.



I told him that Jesus had warned His disciples when he sent them out (Mt.10) that they were going to come to places where no one would listen and they were to shake the dust from their feet as a testimony against them.  I told the Italian believer with me that our task is to be faithful to the Lord and to leave the results in His hands.  I was glad that about 5 minutes after our discussion on the prayer and lack of response the first person stopped by to take a copy of the Gospel according to Luke.  The Lord was starting to answer our prayer.



About an hour and half before we normally close for lunch break—you guessed it—the one dark cloud overhead opened up and wet our table before we were able to put everything away.  We waited under a shelter for a while and then decided to call it quits for the day.  We had been rained out.  So the Italian believer asked me: "Mario, why didn't God hold back the rain for another 90 minutes so we could finish?" "Good question", I thought.



I told him it is not always easy to do the Lord's work.  Jesus and the apostles faced opposition and difficulties along the way.  I told the Italian believer with me again "that our task is to be faithful to the Lord and to leave the results in His hands.  Let us rejoice in the few we did speak to today.  I don't know why the Lord sent us home early."



Thank you for your prayers and interest.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.


"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

Email Garlic Press~January 20


Hello,

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy telling him to do the work of an evangelist.  I don't know if I have the gift of evangelism or not because far fewer than I would like to see come to salvation have actually done so through my labours but I can honestly say I enjoy sharing the good news of salvation by His grace through the shed blood of Jesus that God offers sinners to any who will listen.  I pray always, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, that God would send me out to talk to new people.

The city Rome has a volunteer organization started by our mayor about 4 years ago called "The Time Bank".  People who have time to help others are like bank-account holders who deposit their "time" into "The Bank" by helping others and make "withdrawals" from "The Bank" when they receive help. All kinds of helps are offered from ironing clothes to shopping, etc.
I thought this might be a good way to make new contacts so I signed up just before Christmas. I offered to give spiritual comfort and encouragement from the Bible to any in need and would, in turn, receive corrections in grammar on any legal documents I or our church would have to present to the government agencies.

On Tuesday, Jan. 27 I will be presenting a 1 and 1/2 hour "seminar" on what evangelicals believe and how that differs from the Roman church's beliefs.  This was organized by the "Time Bank". They have sought me out and have done all the publicity and are making sure that many will be present.  Afterwards, all are invited to continue the evening together by going to have a pizza.  This is God's doing and to Him be the glory.  Please pray for my presentation that evening and the eventual questions that will come up during the discussion period at the end of the meeting.

So far through the "Time Bank" I have meet and shared the faith with at least 5 people.  The discussions have been open and frank.  The seed has been planted. The Holy Spirit now has to cause it to grow.

Thank you for your prayers and partnership in the gospel.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Ruthie


Great to hear from Mario Bruno and how God is using him in His vineyard.

God's Richest Blessings


Ruthie
The Lord is my light and my salvation Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  
Ps. 27:1



Pat

Email Garlic Press~January 28



Hello,
Several things happened yesterday at the encounter organized by the "Time Bank" on the subject of "the differences between the evangelical faith and the Roman Church", that I did not expect.  

First, more came than I was told to expect--17 in all showed up.  

Secondly, 75% were men.

Third, after I introduced myself, I told them that I would share what I believed the Bible to teach and they, while listening, could compare that to their own ideas and afterwards we would discuss any questions that may have come to them.  It was not like Paul on Mars Hill who seems to have been able to get through most of his sermon without interruption. The group didn't listen patiently.   It was so typically Italian with questions and comments right from the start.

At times there were 2 or 3 people talking to me at once. It was interesting that towards the end of the meeting some instinctively addressed me as "Father".

I decided to use the Catholic Bible and read only from it.  That was all I had in my hand the whole evening.  From the Scriptures I addressed 4 questions:
  • 1) where did man come from (creation);
  • 2) how did he get into the mess that we are in (sin and judgment);
  • 3) how can be get out of this mess (sacrifice and substitution of Jesus Christ)  
  • 4) where are we going after this life is over (heaven).
Between questions and comments it took me almost an hour to get through these 4 points and the discussions continued for another 40 minutes afterwards and in the restaurant where the organizers arranged for all to eat a pizza together.

The "Time Bank" organizers were so pleased for the evening.  They told me they had never had so high a turn-out for an evening meeting and expressed their appreciation for the subject matter. Some asked if another meeting could be organized for the next month.

A number of people took the gospel booklets and tracts I brought with me and took my phone number.  They said they want to talk to me privately about some of the questions they have.  The man that was the most vocal and tried the hardest to disrupt the meeting sat across from me in the restaurant.  He told me then that he envies me because I have faith in God and am so at peace. He then told me that he would like me to meet with him because he is hoping I can answer the questions he has about God so that he can believe as well.  His most burning question is "Why does God let children be born with a handicap if He is so loving?".

Thank you for praying for us and this meeting.  Both Rose and I feel that a good witness was given.  We both feel that the Lord will continue to use us to spread the gospel among those who are "account holders" in the "Time Bank".

May God's grace be with you.

Mario.


"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

#11
Email Garlic Press~February 1



Hello,

How beautiful is the invitation from God in the parable of Jesus "son, go work in my vineyard".  That has been one of my favorite verses and prayer requests along with "here am I, Lord, send me".  It always thrills me when he does.

I can testify that God does answer prayer and that by God's grace alone--to Him be all the glory--are we able to do anything. I'm writing to ask for prayer for a meeting that is scheduled (through absolutely nothing I did to arrange) for Sat. Feb. 7 at 11:00 am with a very popular and well-known author and philosopher who has made many appearances on TV and radio talk-shows.  He recently published a book entitled "Dubbio" (Doubt).  He said he has many doubts about God's existence but is open to discuss any evidence that would remove that doubt.  Please pray that the meeting will happen, that the Holy Spirit will prepare us both for the meeting and that the "good seed" of the gospel will find "good soil" to grow in. In reading the book of Acts I noticed that the gospel touched all levels of society in every city where Paul preached.  The same would have to happen for Italy to be seriously impacted by the gospel.  Since Rome is the capitol of Italy a strong gospel presence here in this city would effect the entire country.

Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose.

PS.  Today, Rose and I received what I consider one of the best compliments we could ever get.  Rose shares the Sunday School teaching with 2 other ladies of the church.  The children range in age from 3 to 12 years old.  The older ones are all girls in middle school so Rose has been teaching them on a Saturday mornings as well, going to one of their homes and doing fun things
with them besides the Bible lessons.  One of the mothers told Rose that her daughter would like to be a pastor's wife when she grows up because she respects Rose and me so much and then she thanked us for being such good models and examples for her daughter.  

I thought of what Paul tells us in his letters:
"I am what I am by the grace of God" (1Cor.15:10).  We really are just jars of clay in which is the treasure that God has put in (2Cor.4:7). Jesus in us
is more than our hope of glory (Col.1:27), He is the beautiful sweet fragrance that attracts people (2 Cor.2:14).  All the glory goes to the Lord.  We are just His unprofitable servants doing what is required of us.  How privileged we are to know Him and to be known by Him.  Serving the Lord is the greatest joy in life.




"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

#12
Email Garlic Press~Feb. 8/04


Hello,

In the last Garlic Press I sent out I asked prayer for the meeting I was to have with a very well-known and popular author/philosopher who had made many TV and radio appearances and, as I found out today, was in a Sophia Loren movie acting next to her.  Many of you wrote encouraging emails that you would pray each day for this meeting.  Some of you also asked if I could write a detailed account of our conversion-questions asked and answers given.  So as not to tax your patience I will write the details in a PS. at the bottom of this email so that only those interested can read.  Thank you for your prayers and your partnership in the work of the gospel here in Rome.

The man who comes with me to the open market 500 meters from the Vatican works for the RAI, Italy's national TV and radio corporation (equivalent to  the CBC in Canada and the ??? in the USA). He made all the arrangements for our meeting.  The three of us first went to a local coffee shop where we introduced ourselves and established a basis for friendship and dialogue over a cappuccino.  The author/philosopher of the book entitled "Doubt" told us of some interesting questions he was asked about his doubts on God on various TV and radio show.  He said, on one occasion, he lied in his answer because even though he didn't believe in God he did not want to put a stumbling block in anyone's path who may believe in God. He also said that he noticed that people who have faith are more at peace and live better than those who don't have faith in God. The last thing he added was that for him Jesus was the world's greatest teacher but not the Son of God.

Afterwards, we went to his office and talked about the existence of God, Jesus coming in the flesh and what salvation means.  I explained all the various proofs the greatest minds in history have used to show that a God
must exist.  There is no absolute proof for God's existence except in the person of the Lord Jesus because even as I write this email to you I'm not trying to prove I exist. It is a given fact accepted by me, the writer, and you, the reader.  So I told him God exists. He doesn't need to prove it because everywhere we look there is evidence of His fingerprints.  The one illustration that impressed the philosopher the most was when I said that if I feel hungry it doesn't necessarily mean I have food in the kitchen but it does prove food exists.  If it didn't, I wouldn't feel hungry but since I am hungry and made for food, food must exist.  In the same way the fact that you don't believe in God but feel a need to believe in a god is proof that a Creator God does exist.

I told the philosopher that I could tell a lot about him just from his office. He had the cover of the 130 books he had written all framed in exactly the same way and hung behind his desk in perfect, neat rows and columns.  From their titles I could understand a lot about his thinking and so on.  So it is with God and His creation.  I can tell God is a masterful artist from the beauty in nature, that He is a God of order because of the laws of science and mathematics, that He is powerful and majestic from the size and power in the universe, that he is outside of time because the sun,
moon and stars measure time, that He is good by the fact that he makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall (which gives us our food) on the just and on the unjust, that God is moral law giver and right and wrong can be know from the fact that we have a conscience which tells us a right and wrong exist, that He has personality because I am a person, that He thinks, acts, wills, loves, etc. because I do and so on.

We ended our meeting by his promising me to read the New Testament I gave him.  I told him to read it not as a skeptic but as a critic of the most reliable and proven historical document, to read it to understand the person of Jesus Christ and the eyewitnesses of his life and resurrection. In my dedication to him, which I wrote on the flyleaf, I quoted the verse that "man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God".  He, in turn, gave me a copy of his book "Doubt" and I told him that I would read it and then call him to discuss its content.  In his dedication to me he wrote, "hoping to be able to believe."  Please continue to pray for him and that we can meet again.

May God's grace be upon you.
Mario and Rose.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

#13
Bruno's "P.S" to the above report...


PS...

We opened our conversation (that lasted for more than an hour) with the philosopher trying to explain why he doubted the existence of God.  In short it was a summary of his book. He admitted that the universe was finite and had a beginning.  He asked what is outside of the universe?  I answered the God who created it.  He asked if time began what was before time began? How can anyone talk of anything before time because there are only 4 dimensions, length, width, height and time?

I opened my Bible and read Genesis 1:1. I told him here in this chapter is the answer to all 3 of his questions.   Everything we see around us had a beginning both in time and materially.  We would think anyone a fool if they said about any object in this office, "No, it just came into being by itself or it always existed." If that is true for any single object we see in this room it is also true for the entire universe. God created everything-the heavens and the earth.  Every bit of matter and space was created by Him, length, width and height.  The sun, moon and stars are more than just sources of light, they are God's clocks for us.  They measure the time God created (the 4th dimension).  God also created the family-man and women, as sexual beings, to be united in permanent union, being one flesh, with the command to bear children (the first blessing recorded in the Bible) and to rule over God's creation which gives us purpose and meaning.

He said that what was written in Genesis was all a pack of lies, just a myth for the uneducated, the simple-minded or children. Science and Darwin have proven evolution is true and we are descended from monkeys.  I told him that there is not one single scientific fact discovered that disproves God but on the contrary shows God exists. I told him that both his belief in Darwin and evolution and my belief in the creation account, as written in the Bible, were a matter of faith and not science because neither one of us was present
when the universe began.  He said I was right, that it is a matter of faith or belief in what we consider the origin of the universe to be.  In fact, (don't laugh, it was a serious conversion) he told me that, in reality, he has very strong doubts about what Darwin taught.

After that he came out with what really was the  ubstance of his doubt.  All of a sudden, with no warning at all he started yelling at the top of his lungs. His face went beet red and he was pounding his desk so hard that his hat, on the statue on the corner of his, desk fell off the statue.  He said, "a god probably does exist but he is not good!!!  He doesn't act rightly!!!  He makes too many mistakes!!!".  He then began to explain that his son at 25 years of age contracted multiple sclerosis and he describe in detail how his son died at age 40. I will spare you the details. They are not edifying.  Then he said, "Why was I such a coward and not end the suffering my son went through? It would have been so easy.  All I had to do put a pillow over his face and suffocate him. Why did my son, WHO WAS INNOCENT, have to die so early and in so horrible a manner AND NOT HITLER WHO DESERVED IT!?!".  My heart went out to that suffering father. That is why he did not believe in God. He is still suffering so much.

There is no satisfying answer anyone can give. Job  struggled with those very questions and God's presence was his answer.  Jesus said, "come to me.learn of me...my yoke is easy...and you will find rest for your souls."  When we don't know why someone has done something, we can accept it  if we know that person and trust him/her as a child does with his/her parents.  I tried to explain about God who, in justice and righteousness, had to punish the sin of Adam and Eve.

I wanted to go on to talk about how our loving God sacrificed Himself in the person of His only Son for our sins, taking on Himself the wrath of God by dieing on the cross so that the effects of sin could be removed but the philosopher did let me get that far.  He interrupted me saying, How could we be made to suffer for the sin of Adam and Eve (if they ever existed)?

I gave this illustration, "if I drive a car with my wife and 4 daughters in the car, totally drunk, and have an accident and one or more of them die or get injured 'innocent' as they are, we don't question that scenario.  We don't ask why the innocent suffer. We know they suffered because I got drunk not that they were bad and deserved it. I told him God made us in His image we have choice, the statue on your desk does not. We want God to punish the other person the very moment they do something wrong, no matter how big or
small, but we don't want God to punish us when we do something wrong.  God hasn't given us all the answers to life's questions but He has told us about Himself that He, the just judge of all the earth, will do right so that we can trust Him.

We continued to talk about this for a while.  By this time he had calmed down and we parted with the promise to meet again after I read his book and he the New Testament.  May God have mercy on him.  May the word of the gospel sown in his heart find good soil to grow in.


"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat


Email Garlic Press~June 12


Hello,

For almost one year I have been meeting every Wednesday for two hours with a group called the "Union of Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists". Three men have attended almost every meeting with others coming for one, two or more meetings. Why do they allow an evangelical missionary to discuss with them the claims of Christ from the Word of God? Some because they just enjoy taking part in this kind of debate to "hurl rocks" at God. Others come, as they have told me, because I give an honest expression of my faith which they admire and wish they had. That is what I think the real reason is.

They are searching for a personal faith in God, for Him to be their anchor in life but are like the fly hitting the window because it sees the 'paradise' outside but can't see the invisible barrier stopping it.

When ultimately they see God's love and grace in Christ they retreat into their defensive shell: "How can you be sure the Bible is accurate in what it says? It is just another book written by men!" And so we start all over again from the evidence of God's handiwork, seen in creation, and the knowledge of good and evil as testified to by their consciences. The meetings have concluded for this year and I'm not sure they will invite me back in September. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation and I pray the Holy Spirit to "hound" them until they accept Christ as Lord.

The Lord allowed me to see a bit of what He has been doing in the life of a fifty-three year old man, who has been coming to see me for the past few months at the market near the Vatican. The first time he stopped by, he looked as if he could have stepped on his chin his face was so long. It was little wonder. He lost his job two years ago and was divorced from his wife last year. They have two adult sons suffering through this change as well.  At our first meeting I spent about a half hour talking to him and he took some booklets to read. He came back several weeks later and from then on was a "regular" most Saturdays.

He told me that the discussions about Jesus Christ and the gospel have had a very good effect on him and that he "devours" all the literature I give him.  He is now reading the New Testament. I will not being seeing him at the book table very often any longer because he has taken a job in a restaurant that gives him only Wednesdays off. I told him he can call me and we can still meet and talk on his day off. Pray that conversions will come less slowly here in Rome.

Thank you for your partnership in the work through prayer.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.




"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~July 7


Hello,

The new church plant in Rome took a significant step forward on the road to being established and independent of missionaries last week.  I have been meeting with 2 men for about a year on a weekly basis with a view for them to be presented to the church as elders.  They both have demonstrated the moral and spiritual qualifications as well as the abilities need that are listed in 1 Tim.3:1-7 and Tit.1:5-9.  For the first time last week I spoke directly to the question of them being presented to the congregation as elders. One of the 2 did not feel he was ready but in time I believe the Holy Spirit will call him to that service. The other will begin preaching starting next month. His family has proven to be an excellent model of the Christian faith for the entire congregation, Rose and me included. It is his wife that presently is sharing the Sunday School teaching with Rose.

Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth John 4:23-24) and we would like to have more of these worshippers exalt the work of Christ in communion with the others that compose our church family. This is one of the motivating forces for my "casting a net" into the "sea of humanity" in order to be a "fisher of men". In my witnessing the Lord has given me different opportunities to witness to those that are in the sect called "Jehovah's Witnesses".  Recently, at the open market book table the wife of one of the elders of their congregation stopped to talk to me.  We had a discussion of about 45 minutes.  Her husband came by and listened to the last 15 minutes but didn't say much.  I believe this woman is seriously searching for the truth.  It is the third time we have spoken like this (always at the book table) in the past year.  She is the one that said to her JW colleague that every time she talks to me she leaves "very confused". I invite them to my home at every meeting but thus far her husband has refused the invitation.  May the Holy Spirit open her heart.

I am still communicating by email with another JW on a weekly basis.  He in the 8 months that we have been in contact has refused to meet me on a face to face basis but desire to do so only via emails.  His questions are serious and his answers have no biblical basis.  I know the Holy Spirit is working in his heart because on one occasion he wrote that my emails make him feel that "his shoulders are being pinned to a wall".  It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment and effects the new birth.

The final good news I want to share in this email is the congregation is still seriously looking for a facility we can use for our church.  The Lord in His time, I know,  will provide the right place.  To Him be all the praise and glory.

Thank you for your partnership in the work through prayer.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat


EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~August 31


Hello,

As I write this Garlic Press I'm reminded how much hotter Rome is than Toronto.

Officially December 31st  is New Year's Eve but, for Rome at least, the "new year" begins around October 1st when schools re-open.  Rome is pretty much a ghost town in August except for the tourist areas and essential services.  Almost all stores and business close down for their holidays during this month.

Let me tell you that our newest granddaughters, Daniela and Mikayla, were born 5 days ago and weighed in at just over 6 pounds each (approx. 2.75 kg).  Mother, babies and grandmother are doing well - sleepless - but doing well.  Newborns are the 30 centimeters that change your life!

The 2 men I am mentoring to be elders looked after all the needs in new church plant while we were in Toronto for the births of our 2nd and 3rd grandchildren.  They even divided the preaching between them.  We thank the Lord for their proven spiritual maturity.

We kept in contact with each family by phone while in Canada.  One of the ladies in the church told us about her father who is seriously ill.  When she went over to see him she talked about her hope in the Lord and her heavenly citizenship just as she has done at other times.  For the first time, probably because of his illness, her father was open to talk about His position before God. He told her that he does not think God will allow him into heaven because he is to "evil" (his word).  I was glad to hear all the Bible verses and details of the gospel she was able to explain to her father.  At the end of their time together she asked if he would like to pray after her a prayer that would ask God for forgiveness and salvation. You can imagine the joy that was in her voice as she told me that her father wanted to pray along with her.  We trust the Holy Spirit will bring him to a saving relation with God.

One other brief note of joy I can share with you is 2 middle-school aged girls in our Sunday School went on holidays together with one of the families.  They told us they took their Bibles with them so that they could read and discuss it together everyday.  How thankful we are to God for the work of His grace in their lives.

Thank you for your partnership in the work of church planting in Rome through prayer.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat



EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~September 21


Hello,

Our new church plant has taken one more step along the road to becoming capable of being on its own.  Last week one of the elders began looking for suitable facilities we could rent for our church and this week found one.

At present we are still meeting in my apartment. There are 6 family units that attend.  Our very small kitchen, which doubles for the Sunday School classroom, is quite full with the 7 children.  Although using the home, as in New Testament times, adds a lot to the family aspect of Christ's church new people we meet in our evangelism do not feel free enough to come to our services.

The elder found a storefront location of 40 sq. mt. (400 sq. ft.) for rent.  They were asking 600 euro per month ($730 US or $950 CDN) plus utilities.  Both of our elders went to see it and wanted to present it to the church family for their approval so that we then could submit a proposal to the owner. It would have been tight but with some creativity we could have made it work.  At least the price was within our reach.  Unfortunately, churches operate slower than businesses and someone else gave the owner an offer the next day before we could meet as a church.

Everyone's reaction was, "the Lord will provide a place for us in His time and even better since He is the owner of all of Rome and we are His  children".  I was so thankful to the Lord that the Italians are looking to the Lord to provide a place.  In His time He will provide.

For about and month before going to Canada this summer and since I have returned to Italy I have been sharing the gospel with a baker.  Fresh bread that is sold a 8 am has to prepared at 4 am and so I go to the bakery from 4am to 7 am. We talk while the dough is rising. While he kneads the yeast into the flour I "knead" the gospel into his heart.  Getting up a 4 am does make for a long day.  We pray the Lord bring him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat

EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~October 18


Hello,

The new church plant in Rome took a significant step forward on the road to being established and independent of missionaries last week.  I have been meeting with 2 men for about a year on a weekly basis with a view for them to be presented to the church as elders.  They both have demonstrated the moral and spiritual qualifications as well as the abilities need that are listed in 1 Tim.3:1-7 and Tit.1:5-9.  For the first time last week I spoke directly to the question of them being presented to the congregation as elders. One of the 2 did not feel he was ready but in time I believe the Holy Spirit will call him to that service. The other will begin preaching starting next month. His family has proven to be an excellent model of the Christian faith for the entire congregation, Rose and me included. It is his wife that presently is sharing the Sunday School teaching with Rose.

Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth John 4:23-24) and we would like to have more of these worshippers exalt the work of Christ in communion with the others that compose our church family. This is one of the motivating forces for my "casting a net" into the "sea of humanity" in order to be a "fisher of men". In my witnessing the Lord has given me different opportunities to witness to those that are in the sect called "Jehovah's Witnesses".  Recently, at the open market book table the wife of one of the elders of their congregation stopped to talk to me.  We had a discussion of about 45 minutes.  Her husband came by and listened to the last 15 minutes but didn't say much.  I believe this woman is seriously searching for the truth.  It is the third time we have spoken like this (always at the book table) in the past year.  She is the one that said to her JW colleague that every time she talks to me she leaves "very confused". I invite them to my home at every meeting but thus far her husband has refused the invitation.  May the Holy Spirit open her heart.

I am still communicating by email with another JW on a weekly basis.  He in the 8 months that we have been in contact has refused to meet me on a face to face basis but desire to do so only via emails.  His questions are serious and his answers have no biblical basis.  I know the Holy Spirit is working in his heart because on one occasion he wrote that my emails make him feel that "his shoulders are being pinned to a wall".  It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment and effects the new birth.

The final good news I want to share in this email is the congregation is still seriously looking for a facility we can use for our church.  The Lord in His time, I know,  will provide the right place.  To Him be all the praise and glory.

Thank you for your partnership in the work through prayer.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Judy McKenna

I have been reading along with you about the need for this Pastor and congregation to find a suitable place to meet for their church services.

I trust that many of us will fervently pray for this,.....this Pastor really has a burden for the Italian people, and how they need to hear about the Lord Jesus, the RISEN Christ....and not just learn about His mother, as many of them do.
"I am too blessed to be stressed".

Pat


EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~November 30


Hello,

We understand what God reveals to us because He communicates to us according to our humanness.  God became man, clothed in human flesh in Jesus Christ.  His Word is written in our language. We can understand His heartbeat by the images He uses for Himself; father, bridegroom, shepherd, etc. and by the experiences of His servants recorded for us in the Bible.  Which parent does not agonize with Abraham when he was asked to sacrificed his only son, Isaac, whom he loved?  This episode in the patriarch's life helps us to understand, as the hymn writer put it: "love and sorrow followed mingled down" when God offered His Son as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

As a missionary in a city non-receptive to the gospel I can sense the pain God feels for the condition of the lost and their rejection of His good news contained in the gospel.  Jonah was angry because the worm destroyed a vine he did not plant nor tend, but whose shade he enjoyed.  And God used that as a parallel to show him how much He was concerned for the men, women and children in Nineveh that He had created and one day His Son would die for.

(Mario, that's a lot of introduction, isn't it?! Get on with it!)

About 18 months ago a church member in one of the churches in Rome exchanged his email address with a so-called "Jehovah's Witness"(JW) he stumbled across. The JW began to write him long emails trying to destroy his faith.  The church member asked his pastor for help. The pastor passed on the email to another pastor who passed the email on to someone who knows me, who forwarded the email to me.  That chain of events began what has been almost a weekly exchange of emails (at times 8 to 10 pages long) between the JW and myself.

In all of these months I have asked umpteen times that we could meet and talk face to face but he has always refused to meet with me.  Now, after all this communication via email we have decided to discontinue our discussions this way because we have gone over the same ground and verses many times and in many different ways.

How do I feel, you ask?  I feel sad that his mind is still veiled to the truth, that He has rejected God's offer of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and that he has cut himself off from a source of spiritual light that was available to him.  I can understand better Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem or Paul's desire to be cut off from Christ for the sake of Israel.  I think I can sense what God feels when He abandons lost men and women to their own sins. I also understand the truth that the parable of the 4 soils teaches:  the same seed in all 4 scatterings is good seed.  The lack of reception is not a reflection on the seed nor the scattering/farmer but the hardness of the soil.  As it says of Nazareth that Jesus could not do many mighty miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Yes, I did feel at times that I failed the JW.  Maybe, if I had explained more or used other passages he might have understood but then I reminded myself that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment.  Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ. It is His work to open eyes that we may behold the wonders of His love and grace in the face of Jesus Christ, the Saviour.

I pray that God has used me as one small link in the chain that will eventually lead this JW to Himself so that he may worship God in spirit and in truth. One plants and another waters but God gives the increase so that He may receive all the honour and glory.  What a privilege is ours to serve the true and living God.

Thank you for your partnership in the work through prayer.  May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat



EMAIL GARLIC PRESS~December 13


Hello,

There are many unexplainable mysteries all around us. What is gravity or magnetism and why do objects pull on each other with a measurable force? How does a green leaf, in the presence of sunlight, produce food? How do birds and butterflies migrate or bees make a honeycomb? Then there is "the way of an eagle in the sky, ...a ship on the high seas and ...a man with a maiden" of Prov.30:18-19.

But I think the most unfathomable mystery of all is that "Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11) became "the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). God dressed Himself in human flesh and as a servant, dwelt among us for thirty-three years. Those who were with Him beheld His glory and wrote about it, for us, in the Gospel.

As man Christ was not less than God but more than God, if that were possible to conceive, because now and evermore He is both God and man.  Christ the Lord is the Lord's Christ. While the seemingly helpless babe was in the manger He was "sustaining all things by His powerful word" (Heb.1:3).  "By Him and for Him were all things created. In Him all things hold  together" (Col.1:16-17).

How can we ever measure so great a love that constrained God Himself to give Himself as the sacrificial lamb to save us from Himself in holy wrath?  His love is so great that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. This is what we celebrate at Christmas time.

I wrote this poem to express some of the wonder that is our God.

God of Wonders

God's fingerprints are everywhere,
His majesty revealed,
His works of glory, of beauty rare
With praise and wonder sealed.

And to our reason it's so odd,
('Twas His eternal plan,)
That God the Son be more than God,
He's now both God and man.

To save a world of sinners lost
And under holy wrath
God sent His Son to pay the cost,
The cross was on His path.

For love so great is God adored
That He should die for me,
For "the Lord's Christ" is "Christ the Lord."
His death has set me free.

We thank you all for your prayers. May the Lord richly bless and reward you all especially at this time of the year when we celebrate the incarnation of God, the Son. A warm, heartfelt "Merry Christmas" to you all.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you all.

Mario & Rose Bruno

Ps. This will be the last edition of "The Garlic Press" until the New Year.  I want to include one note of praise to God.  Last week, the new church plant took a significant step forward.  We appointed Alfredo Albanesi as elder. The entire congregation rejoiced and thanked God for this because both he and his wife, Doretta, are models of the Christian faith and demonstrate faithfulness to the Lord in their family and in their relation to others.  Alfredo is a servant-leader. May the Lord be pleased to add many to His church in the new year and provide us with our own facility to use as a church building.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat



The Garlic Press~January 12


Missionary work, as all other Christian work, is by the sheer grace of God and under His total control.  No matter how hard a missionary works we all say with Paul: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV).  And Jesus was so right when He said, "when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" (Luke 17:10 NKJV).  But to be God's servant is our greatest joy and one of the reasons we exalt our great and loving Lord.

Rose and I had just walked in the door after being away for a short holiday over Christmas. I mean we just barely put down our suitcase when the phone started ringing.  The call was from a man with whom I had had Bible studies for about 8 months last year.  He never accepted Christ as Lord. (I need to add one more detail to the story so you will understand how God worked out the events. Every Christmas we give out calendars that have 1 page for each day and each day's page has a Bible verse on the front. On back of the page is a brief meditation based on the Bible verse on the front.)  His call was to ask if I would bring this year's calendar to 2 of his relatives.  Last year he gave them each a calendar and they wanted another one this year. He didn't want to bring it them because he was no longer reading his Bible.

I had never met his mother-in-law and father-in-law before.  His father-in-law was so thankful for the calendar. He told me that the first thing he did each morning was to read the Bible verse and then the mediation.  I told them that I was available any time if they wanted to talk more about Jesus or what they read on the calendar.  They didn't seem opened to that but just asked me to pray for them.

The second calendar was for his sister-in-law. I had spoken to her on the phone only once last year. She and her husband are very devout Roman Catholics and she is a catechism teacher at their parish. I went over to the sister-in-law's home expecting much the same response as I got from the father-in-law.  Instead, they invited me in and we had a 90-minute discussion about the authority of Scripture, the mediatory work of Jesus and what it means to be a child of God.  Before I left they made me promise to return to continue our discussion.  This was an answer to so many prayers.

I have been out with the book table in the open market for hours without even one person stopping to talk. Now the Lord gives me a family very hungry to know Him and about the gospel without doing any of the "legwork" to find them. This is how God works and the glory belongs to Him.

May His grace be upon you.

Mario.




"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat



The Garlic Press~January 25


Hello,

In 2 Kings 6:15-17 we read this encouraging account of the Lord watching over both creation and history to bring about His will and purpose:  "And when the servant of the man of God [Elisha] arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

The Lord Jesus Christ is building His church as He said He would in Mt.16:18.  It is wonderful when He lets us see what He is doing.  Following is a brief sampling of evidence of the Holy Spirit active role in the church.

One of the ladies that was baptized two years ago last week told Rose that she had just finished reading through the Bible for the second time. She explained that even though there was so much she needs to learn she was happy to see that she could remember some of the Bible stories.  As she is starting her third time to read the entire Bible in one year she is eager to learn more.

Last December the church appointed Alfredo to be its first Italian elder.  He has already preached a number of times since then.  Alfredo and Doretta have two boys in elementary school and have made friends with one of the families had have children in the same school.  Last fall they were invited to that family's home for a discussion on what the Bible teaches about life-after-death, the devil, purgatory, etc.  It was a very good meeting.  Now Doretta has arranged to have weekly Bible studies with the wife every Wednesday morning studying the Gospel according to John.

After months of going to the bakery at a very, very early hour to speak to the bakers one of them has expressed an interest in reading and studying the book of Revelation with me.  Because of their demanding work schedule a suitable time needs to be found.  It is one thing to talk in the bakery with the dough is rising or baking it is another to sit down an open Bible in hand.

Rome sits nestled at the foot of the Apennine Mountains.  During the winter months the air is often stagnant and the pollution level goes above the safety limit. Last year Italy recorded about 9,000 deaths related to high air pollution. So, in a desperate move to bring the pollution level down, the mayor of Rome banned all traffic in the city on Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. It may have been a bicycler's dream but it did cause us to cancel our morning worship service.  The mayor has promised that he will do so again, even with little warning, so the church family came up with four alternate plans ready for the next time this happens.  The church family did not want to be forced to miss another Sunday morning worship service.

This is all God's doing and marvelous in our eyes.  May His grace be upon you all.

Mario and Rose Bruno.





"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat


It's been a long time since I posted one of Mario's Prayer Letters but thought I'd do it today...


Email Garlic Press--December 4, 2005


Hello,

A traveler engaged a guide to take him across a desert area. When the two men arrived at the edge of the desert, the traveler, looking ahead saw before him trackless sands without a single footprint, path or marker of any kind. Turning to his guide, he asked in a tone of surprise, "Where is the road?" With a reproving glance, the guide replied, "I am the road". So, too, is our Lord in all unfamiliar territory. It is the Lord who provides us with opportunities to share the gospel if we want to be used. In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John were used to preach to the crowds without preparing an evangelistic campaign. They were simply going up to the temple to pray when asked for alms by the lame man.



Last week the Lord gave me an unexpected opportunity to explain what I believe the Bible to teach on creation, Jesus Christ and the gospel to a grade 5 class for one and half hours. They are studying the Protestant reformation in their history class and the teacher felt it would be very good for the class to hear someone who held that view. I was the "expert" on the subject invited.



It is wonderful how God opens doors. The teacher asked one of the mother's of one of his pupils, whose grandfather was Lutheran, to speak to the class. Since she was raised a Roman Catholic she did not feel qualified to speak. She spoke to a friend who then called me to see if I would be willing. I was happy to see that both the children and the teacher took notes on why it is easier to believe in creation than evolution and how and why God can forgive sins because of the death of His Son on the cross. I gave each child a booklet in cartoon format that explained the life of Christ and the plan of salvation.



This week I received a second such opportunity. The president of the municipality of Rome where I live has invited the representatives of the various faiths and religions in Rome to dialogue with each other and those in public life. He has done so because he believes that all faiths and religions teach moral and spiritual values and in some way contribute to peace. I have been asked to represent the Evangelical Church. These weekly meetings are scheduled to begin in January 2006. We each will speak for the entire time at one meeting and then come together as a panel for the final meeting. I'm not sure yet who will be present nor how many they expect to attend. God's way to get the gospel into the highest reaches of ancient Roman society was to have the apostle Paul arrested and the gospel put on trial. Pray with me that God will use this forum to have the gospel reach the highest levels of Rome's municipal government.



My invitation to speak to a group at the "Time Bank" has been postponed until the spring because of scheduling conflicts in their limited space.



May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"

Pat




Thought I'd share with you a "Garlic Press" received from Mario and Rose today....




Jesus revealed that He came on a mission when He said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Mt 5:17).

In declaring that we are "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Mt.5:13-16), He has allowed us to be part of and share in that mission. It is mind staggering to think
that a so small a number of believers would have so far reaching an impact and influence. We are the salt of the EARTH and the light of the WORLD! I  am so thankful that His call has reached as far down as me. We conform to Him in grace now and will forever commune with Him in glory then.

The man I wrote about previously who has come to the church several times to pick up a copy of the evangelistic flyer I give out every morning at the Metro (subway) stations came again last Sunday, just as we were concluding the morning worship service with prayer. This time he stayed and talked for about 20 minutes. One of the men of our congregation spoke with him.

Just before leaving, He said he would come again to attend the whole service. I  was glad that a member of our church immediately went to him and was able to give him an appropriate answer from the Bible for all his questions.  This spiritual growth is work of the Holy Spirit.

A man from our church had minor surgery this past week. While his wife was there in the hospital helping her husband the patient in the next bed noticed that our church member was calm. He made some remark about it and they both explained about the sustaining presence of the Lord. The other man then made a derogatory remark about religion in general and that gave them the opportunity to share their testimonies and explain why Jesus died for them. The man listening gave his phone number to them to keep in touch.

One of our sister churches, at the last minute, asked Rose to play piano for their baptismal service. Their pianist had been involved in an auto accident that afternoon. The testimony which encouraged me the most was of a lady who was born Roman Catholic and then became a Jehovah's Witnesses. In 1978 the church held a tent campaign and she and five other Witnesses stood outside the tent entrance trying to give out their literature. The pastor went out and spoke to them. She was the only one that eventually had regular Bible studies with him and then attended some of their worship services.

After 30 years, the Lord brought her to salvation to which she gave witness in her baptism. The pastor's faithfulness in witnessing for all those years greatly encouraged me.

Rose will be giving a piano concert of classical and sacred music on June 8 and I will give a brief gospel address before she plays. J. S. Bach wrote "S.D.G." (Soli Deo Gloria) on all his scores because he dedicated them to His glory. These letters represent one of the five "alone"s of the reformation: salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as written in the Scriptures alone, and so to God alone be the glory (S.D.G.).

Thank you for your partnership in the cause of Christ through prayer. May God's grace and blessings be upon you.

Mario and Rose Bruno





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Pat



Email Garlic Press~Oct. 18/08

Hello,

"You're a fool for what you are doing. Why don't you just quit and go home!" Those words and many more a man with a severe limp hurled at me over a year ago. Apparently, he had taken one of my evangelistic flyers the week earlier. He started speaking as soon as he came out of the Metro (subway) station and continued to speak negatively with insulting remarks until he was out of sight. This continued every Wednesday morning. Each time he passed I tried to have him stop long enough to respond but He never would. Last Monday (as only God can arrange) I met him by chance on a street corner and he was not in a hurry. As I suspected he was angry with God because of his inability to walk well. We spoke for almost 30 minutes. His last question to me was: "What is life?" The answer Christ gave seemed to touch his heart: "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom [He has] sent," because he then said: "I admire you. I wish I had your faith." We parted shaking hands with my offer to have a coffee together the next time we meet.



Our evangelistic campaign of 3 days went very well. An Italian pastor spoke on the topic: «Why Believe?» What encouraged to me was the 10 new people who came over the weekend were individually invited by the members of the church and came because of a personal relation with them. Though none made any kind of a public profession of faith they all remained after the meetings for the refreshments to ask questions about the message with the speaker and their friends. These meetings are another link in the chain that we pray will lead them to salvation.



I had a similar experience to that of the apostle Paul found in Acts 28:14,15. "And so we came to Rome. The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged". While I was out very early one morning a young man introduced himself as a fellow believer. He was in Rome to seek for a job. He told me of his conversion 3 years earlier and of his home church in Catania, Sicily. He then said: "Here, let me help you give out these evangelistic flyers. My train doesn't leave for half an hour." With that he took a large stack and began to give them out. He told me, as he was leaving, how happy he was that he could do something to help spread the kingdom of God. I thanked the Lord for the encouragement he was to me to keep strong in the Lord.



"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ...The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Romans 8:16-21. Let me share with you an illustration on this text that came to me while writing my latest flyer. My Italian is excellent but I must have the flyer proofread by an expert in Italian before I publish it. When I sent my copy to the lady who does the correcting I told her that if my flyer could talk it would say something similar to the text I quoted above. It is filled with mistakes and is eagerly waiting for her "perfecting and correcting" touch to make it polished and beautiful. Our hope is one day when the Lord returns He will do just that. We shall be like the Lord Jesus for we shall see Him as He is.

Thank you for your partnership with us in the cause of Christ. May God's grace be upon you.

Mario and Rose.
By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation –Psalm 65:5 (NASB)




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