What Was This Sicily Trip All About?
Twelve Israelites returned from spying out the Promised Land carrying a harvest of grapes, pomegranates and figs. Not only did it represent a fruitful land, but it represented the Lord’s bounty and favor for them if they chose to take possession of what the Lord was offering them.
Sicily is not the promised land of the Lord, but I am encouraged and inspired by our exploratory trip. I am confident the Lord’s favor is waiting and the harvest is ripe and plentiful. (And right on the Calvos’ property we harvested grapes, pomegranates, and figs!)
Santo and Lella Calvo have been part of Wellspring for a number of years. You may know them as Olga’s parents. Raised in Sicily, they have recently returned there because they inherited property and a campground/resort facility. Santo and his parents spent many years building and running the campground. It was open to the public and very active in the small community outside Siracusa, Sicily. Recently, Santo and Lella felt prompted by the Lord to reopen the facility with a new purpose. That is: use it for the church and God’s kingdom.
Through times of discussion and prayer, they invited Pam and me to come to Sicily and help assess how they might use the property, and how Wellspring could help with the ministry part of that new strategy. We felt prompted by the Lord to take up this invitation and seek the Lord’s direction in this unique opportunity.
Pam and I spent six days with Santo and Lella last week. We visited their beautiful land and got a glimpse of the culture and the people. We attended their church and were able to connect with leadership and some of the congregation. We surveyed their property, seeing all of its potential. We talked and prayed for the property and for the Lord’s purposes to be revealed. We invited the local church, Lella’s family, and a few other guests to a barbecue on the land. And we worshiped, prayed, and took communion, dedicating the property to the Lord and inviting his spirit to come and dwell there.
Some of you may have noticed another Wellspringer, George Amatore, in last week’s video report. He was in Sicily visiting his family. He joined us for the dedication and some of our touring. I also invited a Sicilian family that we have gotten to know through the Gateways Beyond ministry in Cyprus. It was great to have such a broad representation joining together in prayer and vision.
We bring you a most encouraging report. We found a whole community that was open to the full Gospel. Sicily is nearly 100% Catholic, but we had open conversations about the presence and power of the Holy Spirit active in people’s lives today. We encountered a young evangelical/pentecostal church (their description) hungry for more… more teaching, more connections with the Protestant body of Christ, more opportunity to witness. We saw great potential for the property to be used locally and regionally in a myriad of ways. Wellspring was given (figuratively) the keys to the property. Working with the Calvos, we have an open invitation to minister, or facilitate ministry, or oversee ministry there. And, while on the property we harvested grapes and figs, and saw pomegranates, pears, capers, oranges, and more. The amazing thing is all of it was ahead of schedule. In a land full of produce, the harvest on the Calvos’ property was dramatically ahead of the rest of the island!
So what do we do with all this? We don’t know, but we’re excited to explore it with the Calvos and Wellspring. I know my tendency is to see all the limitations, just like the spies from Israel as they looked at the Promised Land. But instead, we want to respond with a yes and amen to what a limitless God is offering to us and allowing us to be a part of.
For now, prayer is the tip of the spear. We will continue to work with Santo, gather input everywhere we can, and see what begins to develop. We’ll keep you informed of any direction and plans. Some of you may even want to dust off your passports.