Tuesday 15th May
Landed in Rome at 8.30pm. Pastor Brent Harrel picks me up at the airport and have fellowship with him for the rest of the evening talking about end times, church issues, families and life in Italy. The short term mission team from America had cancelled their trip last minute. Probably works out for the better as I'd get more time to spend with the leadership.
Wednesday 16th May
Woke up early and caught the metro to the Vatican. Brent's wife, Hope, was having her second scan for their baby they are expecting (same time as Liz), so had to go evangelising on my own. Well, Jesus was with me and so who else did I really need?
When I arrived there I began handing tracts out to Pizzeria guys handing out leaflets with menu's on trying to get customers to eat at their place. So I offered them spiritual food for physical food. I made my way to St Peter's Square and walked around waiting for the Holy Spirit's leading in who to talk to. There is just so many people who come and visit the Vatican on a daily basis, some locals, some tourists and some on pilgrimages. I noticed a guy praying with some rosary beads looking fairly distressed and sad. I walked up to the man and said "parla Inglese?" (Do you speak English?)He said "No." I thought "here we go, this will be difficult" and pointed to his rosary beads and said "Rosary?" "Si" He said, " Rosario" I turned to Matthew 6. "Ah, Matthau" he said with delight.I showed him the verse about not praying in vain repetition like the gentiles do and said pointing to his Rosary beads "Repetition?" "Si Repititione" "Gesu (Jesus) no repetition. No Rosario" "No Rosario?" He said with confusion.I tried in the best way possible explain we don't need rosaries or priests to pray to God. We are simply free to approach God through His son Jesus. In fact Rosary beads come between you and God. He seemed to understand to my amazement, and put his rosary beads away. I then gave him a tract in Italian given to me by Brent and went on my way as it was difficult to communicate more about the gospel than I already did.
I tried talking to some nuns but most of them were not very open. I tried
giving them some tracts saying "Gesu, it's about Gesu" and they refused. I said "No, Gesu? No Jesus?" They shook their head. They didn't want to know.
After spending a few hours at the Vatican I made my way back to Brent's. In the evening we had Bible Study at a young ladies house near the centre of Rome. They asked me to share my testimony and a message of exhortation. I spoke from Matthew 9v35-38 saying how we need compassion when evangelising. Times in my life when failing to share the gospel has been down to the fact of a lack of compassion. I related this back to the guy with the Rosaries as I saw the bondage he was in and felt compassion to share the good news to free him from his heavy burden. And a lot of people in Rome are distressed, like sheep without a shepherd. Another reason we fail to evangelise as much as we should do because of the fear of rejection and/or the futility we feel when sharing the good news to those who are stubborn. But in Matt 9v37 Jesus says the harvest is plentiful, the problem is that the workers are few.
Thursday 17th May
I went by the Vatican again for an hour or so and talked to a few people in queue's and spoke to some American tourists. They were catholic but didn't attend church or take mass. I asked them how they were getting to heaven and they told me good works. Through going through the ten commandments with them they realised they were sinners and also pointed out that good works are like filthy rags in they eyes of the Lord and presented the gospel to them. I realised I could just plant the seed with a few of these people, I pray that the Lord sends someone to water and that he does the growing! One lady didn't believe she could go to heaven and I told her Jesus died for every sin, there is nothing He can't forgive you for. She then agreed but I could see the hard heartedness she had. What bondage she must be in. I told her Jesus died for her, to free her from the pain she was feeling. She then stopped speaking to me.
In the afternoon and early evening Brent disciples a lady from Ethiopia who speaks Italian and a fair amount of English. He asked me to take the discipleship for Him and share what Joel and I have been going through. I went through the Messianic prophesies in Genesis and noted where Satan had tried to thwart God's plan of redemption. That the Messiah would come from the seed of a woman and then the sons of God (fallen angels) corrupted the seed and God saved the only family that was not corrupted (Noah). The he used a specific line of that family for the messiah to come from and separated the nations and set boundaries but then the tower of Babel was built to stop that distinction. But God then scattered man and confused their language and then we see God use the nation of Israel and how Satan has come against their patriarchs, bringing them into shame, disputes, wars and trying to corrupt their seed and moral standing.
Friday 18th May
In the morning Pastor Vincenzo and I went to meet a guy who gave his life to the Lord a couple of months ago but they hadn't been able to get into contact as he is always busy working. We got to meet him and we went for coffee and asked him about his walk and about life with Jesus. It is always a blessing to see a new born Christian realise the truths of the scriptures and to see a fresh love for Jesus.
In the evening we had a prayer evening and then went out evangelising about 9pm to Piazza Nova where there are lots of restaurants and people selling all kinds of junk and there was even some street dancing entertainment. After trying to share the gospel with one guy he was very abrupt about not wanting to discuss the God of heaven and his own soul but was more willing and astonished at the dancing guys spinning on there heads!
There were lots of people to talk to and a lot of people actually stopped
and were willing to listen to some of what we had to say. I mainly ended up talking to guys who were working, selling paintings or handbags. One guy I got to take through the Roman Road with my bible but was very much wanting to rush what I had to say. There were a few Catholics out on the town and you could tell who they were because they would ask how much our tracts were to buy off us. I told them they were free! Jesus is free! He can set you free! This appealed to them... until they realised the true cost of becoming a believer.
The most fruitful conversation of the night was with a bunch of Muslim guys from Pakistan trying to sell flashing lights. At first they didn't want to talk to us but one guy chirped, what's God ever done for me? Yeah, sure what has Allah ever done for you? He says he doesn't even have a son! But the God of the Bible, the God who created heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He sent His only son to give us eternal life. They went on about money but we argued that eternal life was worth more thanÃ‚ Ã‚ money. They started to be less jokey and a bit more serious. Brent asked them a few more questions but I got talking to this one guy who was being very cheeky and I
asked him if he had family back in Pakistan and how much they meant to him. I shared about the father heart of God and our sonship. I could see this spoke to his heart. Well it shut him up anyway. We left them Brent's number and went on our way. It was 1 am when we finished.
Saturday 19th May
Brent, Robert, Vincenzo and I went to the mountains outside of Rome to fast and pray. It was a beautiful day, very hot, and the scenery was awesome. We enjoyed God's creation and began to discuss what it would have felt like to be Adam when experiencing creation for the first time in all its perfection.
We had a time of worship and the reading of Psalms. Brent read Psalm 24 about the King of Glory. A beautiful Psalm about Jesus' Kingship. My eye caught the next Psalm and I began to read this as a prayer as the Psalm is a prayer itself for protection,, guidance and pardon for sins, which we were all seeking.
It was a time of submitting ourselves before the Lord asking Him to speak to us and guide us through His word. A time of encouraging one another and refreshing our love for Jesus. We had a time of group prayer and then all went our separate ways for an hour to read the bible and pray. After we met back up we shared what we had read and then prayed again. God was speaking to a few of us about guarding ourselves against Satan and his ways of bringing us down.
In the evening we had a praise and worship service at the church, which is called afterglow. It was a time to share with the rest of the church what was on the leaderships heart what God had been saying to the leadership. There is a strong leadership at CC Rome at the same time not overbearing and is well respected. They are very sensitive to peoples needs as well as their wants but the congregation have their voice and give as much to their leadership in servant hood and faithfulness, which is very complimentary. This was very evident in this service as is it as a platform for the body to be edified.
Sunday 20th May
CC Rome hire a building for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning. They are praying for a either a new building that is cheaper and is available to them for more hours or a building of their own. The service was good and there were lots of visitors from America, UK and other European countries. Mostly people find the church on the Internet when on holiday in Rome.
They had a guest speaker from a Calvary Chapel in New Jersey. He spoke on Satan's attack on the church and our defense, exactly what the Lord had been laying on the heart of the leadership and using the exact scripture Vincenzo shared up in the mountains. After the service it was nice to chat and fellowship with members of the church. One lady I spoke to was having a hard time with a friend who was going through a divorce, a Christian, and I was able to share a few verses with her. The devil attacks marriages as much as churches and the Word of God is the sword to keep him at bay.
In the afternoon Brent got a phone call from one of the Muslim guys we spoke to on Friday night wanting to meet up and ask a few questions. Praise God!
Monday 21st May
In the morning I had some free time to do a bit of present shopping for people back home. In the afternoon I had to prepare a teaching for an evening bible study at Frascati Evangelical Church in a small town called Frascati just outside of Rome. The Evangelical church has affiliated itself to CC Rome and both churches meet up every so often. Pastor Robert has been working close with their Pastor Alexandro. A lot of their members are very young Christians who have come out of the Charismatic Catholic movement.
They asked me to share a teaching on Monday night. I did a Midrashic exposition on John 5, the man by the pool at Bethesda. How it was Jesus who cleansed him and not the pool, which represented the law. When Jesus told the man to take up his pallet and walk this is similar to taking up your cross. The response the man got was disapproval from the Jews who said he was working on the Sabbath. That's how the world sees our taking up our cross, as work, slavery, bondage! But Jesus had freed that man from the hard work of trying to be cleansed by a tradition of men. Likewise, Jesus has made us free. Where the world sees the cross as bondage, we see it as freedom. As the world sees the cross as death, we see it as life!
Tuesday 22nd May
Before I left I was able to discuss future plans with Pastor Brent. He is very happy for Liz and I to be part of the church and to be co-labourers in Rome. This meant a great deal to us and solidified our calling. I shared we'd love to help our with evangelism, some of the teaching, help out with the worship and hopefully encourage the youth.
We also talked about the conference in November and he is very keen for me to bring a team to help out and do some evangelism at the University campus.
As I left Rome I feel the trip has been fruitful and productive. The only thing that was missing was Liz wasn't able to share in this experience. But I felt very much at home in Rome and part of the CC Rome family.
We both continue to serve the Lord here in North Wales, but we do see a future in Rome. I'm not one to say thing lightly concerning spiritual growth but I believe if you are looking for a test of faith, a chance to grow in knowledge of evangelism, teaching, apologetics and the Lord the coming along with us in November is a wonderful opportunity to do that.
We wish to go for 2 weeks around the time of the Creation vs Evolution Conference taken by Roger Oakland. So please feel free to contact me if you feel led to come along.
We would love to be full time missionaries out there but we must trust in the Lord for raising the finances and find supporting churches. Rome is an expensive place to live as taxes are very high. Ministry is still quite active in North Wales as we have been out evangelising a few times and going to be going to the skate park and reach the youth there.
Liz is now 30 weeks pregnant, so 10 more weeks to go!
Thank you for all your prayers and support.
God Bless and Shalom
Anthony and Liz Royle
Evagelism in North Wales
People to come on mission in November
Finances to move to Rome
Liz, the baby and health
Frascati Evangelical Church
16 Erw Wen Road
01492 535 741