“Piano, piano” means slowly in Italian. After nearly four months of living in Rome it seems to me that this small phrase encapsu- lates learning the Italian language, ministering to Italians, dealings with the government, as well as the ebb and flow of life here in Italy.
I will soon complete my third month of Italian language studies. Although I’m making good progress I must confess that at times it seems overwhelming; especially as I consider all that there is to learn and the added pressure I feel to learn it quickly in order to effectively reach Italians souls for Christ. Week after week brings a new wave of verb tenses and conjugations, a mountain of vocabulary words, elusive direct and indirect pronouns, and the often illogical use of preposi- tions. In spite of all of this, learning Italian has never seemed like a chore. I love it! But standing where I’m at in the process it’s hard to conceive of the day when the words just flow out of my mouth effortlessly. I expressed this one day to my teacher and with two words she helped calm my nerves… “piano, piano.” In essence she said that little by little I’ll make progress. Each day I’ll learn a little more. Slowly the mistakes will be corrected and the words will come more freely. Then one day I will find myself casually speaking Italian among Italians. Please pray that we will all learn the Italian language quickly and effectively communicate the gospel to the people of Italy.
My class size for Italian ranges between 4 to 7 students from a variety of countries. Although I will take classes for a year most of the students only attend for approximately a month. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to share the gospel not only in class but also individually. As I continue to share the gospel with my classmates and instruc- tors please pray their hearts will be receptive to the word of God.
With the ushering in of warmer weather here in Italy more of our neighbors congregate at the outdoor recreation area in the center of our apartment complex. Not only has it been a good opportunity for Isaiah and Pearl to play with other children and make friends but Sandy and I hope to build relationships that can lead to sharing the gospel as we learn the language. The 200+ residents in our complex have all received gospel tracts in their mail boxes and we are system- atically reaching out to our neighborhood in the same manner since it is legal to place gospel literature in mailboxes here in Italy. We also pass out several hundred tracts at the metro stops through the week. Please pray that the eyes of the Italian people would be opened to the liberat- ing truth of salvation by grace through faith.
Our first week in Italy we applied for our “permit to stay” and were thus thrust into the labyrinth which is Italian bureau- cracy. In March we were required to be fingerprinted and turn in more documents. We are now waiting for word on our permission to stay. Please pray that all of our family will be approved for residency and receive permis- sion to stay.
Today we celebrated Pearl’s third birth- day. She is such a sweet, happy, and healthy little girl. We praise the Lord for entrusting us with her and Isaiah. They bring such joy to our lives. Thank you to those that have sent birthday cards.
Finally brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you2 Thes. 3:1.
Yours in Christ,
Stetson, Sandy, Isaiah, and Pearl Planck