Monday, October 14, 2013

Italy Part 2

Italy Part 2

JOB 31:15 "Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?"

We are now into the 4th month of our stay here in Italy. Our biggest news was that we are expecting baby no. 4, Lord willing in January 2014 - a Boy!! :). It was a rough ride the first months here of extreme nausia, exhaustion, battling the heat etc etc. I personally found it one of the toughest times... having to walk everywhere - many comforts stripped away and having to home school, clean house - on top of feeling like death (seriously) but God is faithful and helped me through.

It was stressful not finding a home that we felt we could live in! We finally narrowed it down to 2 choices - only to be told:" Sorry we will now not rent to you as we want to sell and the other  puzzles us, but we had to just surrender to and trust God who is 100% in control. He wanted us in a 2 bedroom apartment in the centre of town. We really love the location and admit that God knew the best as usual (Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways are higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts"). I can actually say that I never thought it possible for our family to live in an apartment.... but it is actually fine! We have many blessings of a lovely town square here with fountain (which the girls have loved since the beginning of our time in Montebelluna) the park is nearby and it is just very convenient actually. So we have this apartment for 3 months on a short term rental till we leave, Lord willing, on 2 December back to SA for a period.

Much of our first months were spent going to and fro from governmental/municipal offices to get our visa / residence cards. We were given 2 years permission to stay ,and it is quite a process in Italy, with a lot of red tape. Then you get mistakes made on the cards and you have to wait another month and so what can I say... patience gets tested and you just have to rely on the Lord and keep the faith through it all and trust that He who has called and brought you has a plan and will bring it to completion in His timing. As you wait for documents,other things which you thought you could get just can't happen as you need the awaiting documents to come through before you can apply for other things. So I can say the challenge of not having a vehicle from when we planned ie: month 3 has been interesting. You freak out - you loose it - then you get over it and accept it and then the rains come and you start all over again wanting the freedom of your wheels. But it is not God's will for you for now, so you submit to it and you realise you can survive and when you get some bicycles it becomes a Major blessing to you!

We had a blessed 3 weeks in Austria in August. We attended our church Conference, then had a week break in between. We were blessed to stay in Salzburg and meet special fellow missionary people there who let us stay with them for 2 nights. We had some needed family time in Tirol/Alps area and then went back for the Calvary Chapel Europe Missions Conference, held at Millstat. What a great blessing and time of fellowship and the Word. We were refreshed by having friends from SA there.Walter and Melanie were an encouragement to us. We also celebrated 16 years of marriage and my birthday while at the Castle in Austria - what a treat!

We arrived back for the last week of August to get settled and move into our rental apartment and can just testify how faithfully God provides. Just as we had some basics we needed to buy for the apartment, the Lord provided for us the funds that covered the exact amount I spent at Ikea! Amazing really when you see the miracles God does along the way.

The students of the Bible College here in Montebelluna arrived in early September for the Fall semester. We have an apartment right next door to one of the girls apartments which has 8 students in it. It is nice to know they are next door and to just see them around the town etc. Tuesday morning I get to sit in on the Daniel class, while Mike home schools during this time. I do home schooling on the other days. We try to take the girls on a field trip once a week or every second week so that they can experience places.  Mike is now doing Italian lessons two nights a week. He goes to a Church History class on a Thursday, as well as men's discipleship classes. Fridays he goes to a missions team prayer meeting in the morning and then sits in on a part of the Revelation class. Sundays is church. Mike enjoyed teaching a session at the students Men's Discipleship class on the man Job. He looks forward to teaching another on Barnabus and Phillip.

The girls are progressing in their home schooling and enjoying doing ballet twice a week now. I also enjoy being able to mix with Italians this way. Their teacher speaks English and often asks me questions saying "excuse me I am very curious but...." I love it and enjoy answering her questions. I had to go for a regulatory blood test they do here for pregnancy. Its a diabetes test which involved 2 hours of sitting in between having blood drawn 3 times. God works in amazing ways as I was given a Divine appointment during this time. He gave me a great opportunity to chat with a lady from Cameroon and hear her amazing life story and just share with her and invite her to church. I was also very excited once at the park as the girls made friends with 3 Italian girls and really got on so well and the mom wanted us to meet again. These are the things that excite me to make friends and be a light in the community here. Melissah enjoys catching lizards and butterflies in the park and Sienah is an interesting 2 year old going on 6.... Kiarah really misses home and her friends but also has many blessings here and loves reading and just playing imaginative games with her sisters.

Our church here in Italy, Calvary Chapel Montebelluna, had wonderful outreach opportunities through summer concerts in the squares. These were really amazing opportunities with lots of Italians hearing  worship, testimonies and The Word/Gospel. The church also had a picnic and it was great to see the baptism of believers at the river. What a joyful occasion to see the Lord blessing the work here after many years of ploughing and sowing.

Pray for us as we continue to seek to be a blessing for the next 7 weeks here. Pray for our health and a smooth  transition/ travel back to Cape Town (that I would be given the go ahead by my doctor to be able to fly back). It is not easy being tentmakers, having to come and go between two worlds.We will be back in SA longer than we had originally planned due to the unexpected arrival of baby. We commit ourselves to the Lord and His will and continue to seek  the Lord's guidance for us. Thank you for reading and thank you for your prayers and support. We pray the following Psalm for all of you.

Psalm 67:1-3 "God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us, That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among the nations. Let the peoples praise You O God; Let all the peoples praise You".


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First month in Italy

First Month in Italy 

 Cant believe a month has gone and yet it has seemed quite a long month too. The weather changed drastically from quite chilly for a few days to Scorching heat! We have had 2 cooler days again with many thunder and lightning storms and boy when it rains it can certainly come down!

Our time has been spent with many days house hunting - still trying to find a place we would like to call home. Apartments are a big change for us, but if we dont find a freestanding house we have seen a loft apartment that we would choose for now. So keep this in prayer please. With no vehicle we have been walking quite alot and Mike has done alot more than me - he has even been doing our grocery shopping mostly. This in itself is a learning curve as we adjust to what is affordable for us to eat here - meat has gone off the menu (maybe mince once a week) and chicken once a week. Pasta and pizza feature... etc. As Mike says alot of things like cheese etc just taste so much nicer here - so we adjusting to the change in that area. Some ice cream is cheap so we have a treat of that when it is hot.

Siesta is a reality of life here. Sienah never had her normal 1400 to 1700ish sleep yesterday and by 1730 she fell asleep at the table eating a carrot! I think the heat and long days make it necessary to have a nap. The kids are then awake till about 10pm as then it is dark... So a different day schedule from SA. Homeschooling is going albeit slowly.... I love how my daughters now mock and scruitinise my handwriting telling me how wrong my letters are.... hmmm oh well I was not brought up in the Letterland days and I have always had a terrible handwriting, but thankfully Kiarah has not inheritted this by the looks of her work. It is fun and games but we will get there! I have been amazed to see how the kids have calmed down over this month and will quite happily wake up and start drawing or entertain themselves for hours playing lego friend imaginative games.. Slow paced life for now.

We have had an outing to Venice Kiarah and I which was wonderful and we also took a train towards the Dolomite mountains to a town called Belluno which was very beautiful. This area up North is very scenic and I look forward to discovering more pretty places around here. If we find a car Lord willing, it will be more easy to get out as a family and explore more.

Physically we have all had some challenges over this month, new diet, Sienah has a cough and temps for a few days, Melissah had a bad rash on her chest last week, etc but we doing good. Prayers for continued health and strength when it is so hot would be appreciated.

The team this side has been very helpful and welcoming. A lovely couple Caryn and Donovan have helped us so much to go to agents and see accommodation options etc. We look forward to getting to know everyone more. The pastor and the head of  the Bible College went to Murietta to the pastor's conference and other members of the team are also away at the moment. Our pastor here is actually in hospital as he has had an infection and so we pray he recovers quick and is back to full health.

We were blessed with two couches, a comfy chair, desk, fridge, toys, some kids bedding, cupboard and someone offered us a bed! It was a very humbling amazing thing to experience! A big help for us when we furnish a place - especially if we dont find a furnished home. Very thankful!

We are very excited as they are having music concerts in the summer at night in the town at various piazza's (squares). The church worship team has a slot Thurs eve this week and next week too, so we will be going to support and pray and Mike will help set up etc. Apparently last week there were thousands of people so I am excited for this opportunity. Please keep it in prayer. The summer evenings kick off at 9pm here so it will be a late night.

Mike has helped two families move since we here and done a little painting etc so he is just helping where he can and getting to know people. On Fridays there is a team prayer meeting in the morning, Sundays is church and there is also a Wednesday night midweek study at the church. The girls have been joining in Sunday school and were invited to their first Italian kids party which was so special.

Thats all for now, hope it gives you an idea of what we up to here. I must share that the Lord has ministered alot to me in the Psalms etc since being here and the main message that I got 3 times now is Ps 27:14 "Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage. And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Ps 31:24 "Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart. All you who hope in the Lord." Our pastor also after that sent us this from where he is teaching back in SA: Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Is it not amazing - I get the message Lord and now I must choose to obey and wait on Him and be of good courage and know He is going to strengthen my heart.

God bless you and we enjoy hearing from you all and you in our hearts and prayers.
We will send more news soon.

Cindy and family XxxxX

Address in Italy for now: Styles family, Via Piave 156, Montebelluna, Italy, 31044

Missions Financial Support: Absa Bank, branch: Bellville, Account Name: MM Styles, Account Number: 120303309, Account Type: Savings, Reference: Styles Family (missions support)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Styles Italian Chapter

November 2011 to April 2013

Genesis 8:11" Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf [was] in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth."

God's timing is perfect.   

During our semester at Hungary in 2011 God took us on a scouting out of Italy trip - He had been putting Italy on Mike's heart through various ways and Mike kept telling me "Cindy we will be going to Italy for a period in the future...." Huh Italy what happened to Madagascar?!? Well Madagascar was not written off , but Italy was to be the next step for us. Amazingly we made some lovely Italian friends right at the start of our semester in 2011 at the Calvary Chapel Missions Conference in Austria.

Mike and Andrea

 Sweet Emmanuella

 So we visited our friends in Mantova Italy and took a day drive to Montebelluna where there is a Calvary Chapel church plant and a Bible college. We were able to view the church and had lunch (pitsa) with David Downs. I will never forget my flight leaving Italy and the heavy feeling in my heart of the millions of beautiful people so stuck in religion and without a true personal relationship with Jesus.

 Religiosity on a (sad) grand scale

We have been home for over a year and its been a year of just waiting on the Lord and His timing for us to return to Italy. We knew that we needed to be home for this time for many areas of our lives, including our church family. It has been a wonderful time and I have been blessed to serve in the moms group and we have been having a home fellowship group for the midweek Bible study, which Mike has been blessed to teach. Mike has also been serving on the leadership team. A highlight has been for Mike and I to have a weekly prayer time for missionaries, as our hearts and calling is for international missions. It was an interesting hard year of many good-byes and new chapters in people's lives - especially our pastor of many years - Julian and his wife Monica, and their two girls who now serve at Murietta California. If you know me you know I struggle with good-byes - I praise God that oneday it will be an eternity with hey: never a good bye to loved ones - Horey!

Our visa's has come through and we Praise God for His faithfulness to bring us to this point - what a process!! Eish, will I ever get used to the visa issue in life LOL....Matthew 19:26 "But Jesus looked at [them] and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." So we are booked to fly out the 28th May 2013. Only 5 plus weeks to go..... and a Ton to do :) We will be staying in the apartment that the girl students normally use in Montebelluna / Italy for the first 2 months. Mike and I have been granted a longstay visa and the girls 3 months tourist visa's ( we have to apply for them from within Italy) we trust God to work it all out for His purposes. We go by faith in more ways than one ...

Mike sharing at a church in Mantova / Italy- they prayed for us

We want to thank all that have walked this road with us up until this point. It seems surreal that we are going out to serve with another church all the way in Italy. We know there is lots of need in South Africa, but God has clearly shown us that He wills us to go to Italy for a period. Two years at this stage to be specific. Mike got a verse in his Qt at a crucial decision/seeking point. Acts 28: 30 - 31 "Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him." 'Ironic' because we will be needing to rent our own home this time, as the church does not own its own propety to house us. God is faithful. We covet your prayers and during this time of " letting go", packing, preparation and going... We are needing prayer and financial partners - if the Lord lays this on your heart please email us or see the info below.

Acts 27:6 "There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board."

Mike, Cindy, Kiarah, Melissah and Sienah Styles serving Jesus at Calvary Chapel Montebelluna Italy.

Missions Financial Support: Absa Bank, branch: Bellville: Account Name: MM Styles, Account Number:120303309, Account Type: Savings, Reference: Styles Family (missions support)

pray for God to continue to give us His wonderful love for Italy

 Our third daughter, Sienah was a little traveller since the womb :)
The kids are excited for this new chapter. They will miss their life in SA I am sure.
Let the many travels begin - life out a suitcase :)
Italy has its perks - the worlds best Gelato :)) - temptation everyday.....