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Church Planting Europe Field Story Italy

Safe in His Arms

"Before leaving the safe house, I was able to have a good conversation with her, reassuring her of God's plan for her life, reading some Scripture with her and praying for her."

     Friday evening was like any other street outreach that we have twice a month. Veronica* was the second young girl that we spoke to that night. She was timid, yet spoke with certainty that we was ready for us to help her leave the streets and find safety. This was the first time that I met Veronica*, but our national teammate had talked with her many times.  I told her that we would need to check for space in the safe houses and that we would need to go over some rules with her. She called us Saturday morning, ready to meet! So, after we met her at a nearby mall and went over the rules with her, she decided that she was ready to leave immediately! Together with Veronica*, our team started the long trek to an evangelical safe house in the southern part of Italy.
     Sitting by this dear treasure while she slept, I couldn't help but praise God for His unbelievable faithfulness! I glanced down at her backpack — the same backpack that I had bought three years ago, filled with items for such a time as this. I thought about her name. It just so happens to be the same name as the first treasure that I ever met — whom I desperately was hoping to help rescue. I had only met Veronica* the night before, but I felt an instant connection with her. How blessed I was to be a small part of this miracle unfolding! How good is my Father that in His perfect timing allowed me to touch and feel the fruits of this five-year ministry? I am still in awe.
     This safe house was also part of God's perfect timing! In April, it became the first official safe house of a growing, evangelical coalition against sex trafficking in Italy. And Veronica* was their first such guest. The staff was waiting to welcome her with open arms. What a joy to celebrate her new freedom!
     Update: Veronica* has now been on the road to healing and rebuilding of her life for five months! This alone is praiseworthy, as the statistics for treasures who return to the streets are overwhelming. Please continue to pray for the days, months, and even years ahead: 
1. She is making progress with the Italian language, but it is still a roadblock at times as it’s a new language for her.  Please continue to pray for her progress, which will help significantly in the short as well as long term. 
2. She feels lonely. As she is the first treasure to enter this safe house, she feels isolated. Our family visited Veronica* recently, and we were thankful to encourage her. Please pray that the Lord would continue to build a trusting relationship between her and the safe house workers. 
3. Pray that the Lord would continue to encourage her and give her strength. Despite her progress, Veronica’s* struggles have come to a head on occasion, nearly leading to her leaving for the streets again. We pray and trust that this will not happen to Veronica*.
4. Pray that she will find spiritual freedom as well as physical freedom. Before leaving the safe house, I was able to have a good conversation with her, reassuring her of God's plan for her life, reading some Scripture with her and praying for her. She seemed very receptive to it all, but it seemed that she had never read the Bible before. Pray for the safe house workers as they continue to spiritually pour into her and study the Bible with her.
5. The staff of the safe house have shown to be Spirit-led, patient people ready to support Veronica* and pour into her. This work is also new, complex, and very demanding. Let’s definitely continue to pray for them as they have a very long, hard road ahead!

*Veronica's name as been changed for security purposes. 


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