Highlights from the First 8 Months
It seems amazing that 8 months have passed already since our Wedding Day. As the worldly cliché goes: “the honeymoon is over” … but, with the Lord as the foundation and Chief Cornerstone of our marriage, we are finding that it grows sweeter everyday. We thank God daily for the love that He gives us for one another, for Him and for the Body of Christ. And we are actively seeking to grow in that love (Philippians 1:9-11). Our first 8 months have definitely been busy (as is evidenced by our long lapse in updating this website), but they have also been a fruitful. We wanted to share with you just a few highlights.
Several weekends in July and August we were blessed to be able to minister together with some other brothers at public events, including the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan, and Celebration on the Grand in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Giampaolo preached and they held up Gospel banners, while Jackie was able to pass out tracts and speak on the side to some of those who had questions. Giampaolo felt especially thankful that working together as a team enabled him to direct the women towards Jackie, whereas before it was an awkward situation.
We had one especially lively evening at Celebration on the Grand contending for the Truth of the Gospel with several lesbians. The most vocal lesbian was very annoyed at Giampaolo for condemning her lifestyle. She insisted that she “could not help but be a lesbian” because “she was born that way.” After finding that this argument, loud and obnoxious as she was in giving it, could not move Giampaolo from his stand on the Truth of God’s Word, she converged on Jackie to try to enlighten her about women’s “freedom.” Jackie listened quietly as the lesbian screamed in her face about how naive Jackie was to life, and how “in bondage” she was to be serving a man as her husband. “You’re just a slave!” the girl screamed irately. The Lord gave Jackie insight to respond to this accusation. “A slave,” explained Jackie, “is one who serves under obligation. He has no choice. My husband asked me to marry him, and I said ‘Yes.’ I chose to serve him, and thus I am his servant. You, on the other hand, have openly admitted that you feel you have no choice about your sexual status. You think you were ‘born that way.’ Thus, I believe it is you who are the slave and in bondage—not me. But Jesus can set you free!” While we did not have the joy of witnessing a conversion and rebirth that evening, the girl (along with several of her companions) was definitely sobered by this prospect that they were actually the slaves, and Giampaolo was able to continue preaching without them screaming in his face.
On another occasion, at Cherry Festival, Giampaolo was able to encourage a young boy to “keep the faith.” His dad was busy getting drunk in the beer tent, while this twelve-year-old boy waited outside, listening with delight to the preaching. He shared with Giampaolo that his grandfather (recently deceased) had encouraged him to read the Bible, and he was seeking to do just that. He told us that he played trumpet in band at school, and he was having a very difficult time with his short-tempered band instructor until he came across the verse in the Bible which speaks of the “last trump of God.” “Now,” the young boy exclaimed with enthusiasm, “every time I play the trumpet it makes me think of the time when Christ will return. And I don’t even mind my band teacher at all anymore!”
Summer yielded not only opportunities in the spiritual harvest field, but we also had the joy of harvesting some physical fruit from a small garden that we planted. Jackie thoroughly enjoyed her first season of freezing, drying and canning several fruits and vegetables, and we have been enjoying them during this winter season. The tomatoes were a special favorite and combined with the spicy habenero peppers from our garden (which Jackie ruefully dubbed “hop-eneros” after an unpleasant experience with them undiluted), we are still enjoying spicy home-canned picante sauce.
We have been asked, "Have you decided to start a family yet?" A bit shocked and surprised we have explained that marriage is truly the first step to "starting" a family. Our belief is that when you decide to marry you are also saying that you are in agreement with God that children are a blessing from the Lord. Sex is only lawful inside marriage. Procreation is a part of that relationship and is to be controlled by God and not man. "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." (Ps 127:3) We know that the Lord takes care of our needs as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Therefore, we are certainly eager to have children; however, the Lord has not opened Jackie’s womb yet. We are seeking to rest in the Lord and trust Him in these areas. Our desire is to be faithful with this season God is giving us.
We planned a trip to Taiwan in June 2006. We would also like to travel to Mainland China if the Lord opens that door. Our purpose in traveling to these countries is partly related to business—as Giampaolo purchases many parts for the computer business from these places—but it is also to seek to encourage Christians in these areas and to tell people about our Lord, Jesus...who is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe. We appreciate your prayers as we seek the Lord’s perfect timing.