DESCRIBE WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO & THE COMMITMENT YOU HAVE MADE TO ANSWER THAT CALL:
We had different callings to Italy as Danny was born here and Marti in the U.S.
I, Marti, felt led to Italy after taking a short-term mission trip with Cru to Pisa, Italy in 2002. My heart was struck by the fact that Jesus was everywhere in statues and pictures but nowhere in the hearts of the people. Italians are a very relational people and much time is needed to build deep friendships, which is why I felt the Lord asking me to return for a long-term assignment. After several years of trips back and forth to Italy leading short-term teams, studying the language and going to cooking school I finally returned full-time in 2006. Upon my return, I worked with Cru doing evangelism and discipleship among students at the University of Pisa, Salerno and Florence along with serving the local church. After years in the college world and with my advancing age : ) I felt a leading to invest more in the adults and townspeople around me in my day-to-day life in Italy. After praying for quite some time about possibly leaving Italy for other mission fields, one summer evening in 2011 at an Italian wedding I met Daniele Pasquale and things changed. Once married (less than 8 months later!), I found myself stepping more into Danny’s calling here in Italy that would later also become my own and a fulfillment of what the Lord had been leading me to earlier: investing in the local adults.
I, Danny, was born and raised in Rome, and came to know the Lord at a young age, my parents being missionaries here. I was baptized at 15 and served the Lord in camps, at outreach events, and in my local church. After a few rough years in my late teens and early twenties, the Lord graciously led me through my difficulties and a desire to serve the Lord grew in my heart. After college, I spent a few years in Colorado, went to seminary and attended a great local church (Littleton Bible Chapel). I returned to Italy in 2007 to work on staff at the Italian Evangelical Bible College and coordinate a church plant in a small town outside of Rome, Monte Porzio Catone. Finally, at age 34, the Lord gave me a wonderful wife…
Together we have three main ministries. Danny serves as the Academic Dean and as teacher at the Italian Evangelical Bible Institute (IBEI) just outside Rome. Marti helps run the area of hospitality at the school which involves preparing for guests, conferences, church retreats, cleaning, etc. The goal of the Bible school is to equip Italians for ministry, by facilitating their growth in knowledge, competence and character. Operating since 1959, the school serves through several academic programs and a book-publishing ministry (among which our journal Lux Biblica and Emmaus Correspondence Courses in Italian), reaching out to many believers in Italy of different evangelical backgrounds. We have a one year accredited bible college program (Certificate of Theology) offered through Distance Learning or Extension Schools and we hope to restart our Bachelor of Theology program at our Residential Campus in Rome in September 2016. Visit our website here.
Secondly, we are part of a team leading a church plant effort in Monte Porzio Catone, a traditionally religious town but with very little spiritual light. Our church plant effort is quite slow as is very common in Italy. For almost 8 years now we have been doing evangelism one-on-one, outreach events, English classes throughout the year and summer and many more things to reach the townspeople with the Gospel. We currently are still at the phase of a local town Bible study and still attend our sending church a few miles down the road. We saw 3 people baptized over these years but their growth is not without many challenges. Our prayer is to see local men come to Christ before we actually “become” an autonomous church.
Lastly, Marti co-leads “Slavery No More,” a ministry that reaches out to victims of human trafficking and prostitution in Rome. Danny helps in this ministry by being a driver and “body guard” when we do street visits. That happens 2 nights a month where we talk to each girl, offer them toiletry items, snacks and Gospel literature or Bibles. We also desire to see the eyes of the Italians opened to the dark reality of this problem in our cities, so we do church presentations of our ministry, showing the documentary Nefarious by Exodus Cry and explaining our activities. We are committed to serving in Italy as long as the Lord desires.
TELL US ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MINISTER TO:
The Bible school and church plant are predominantly ministries to Italians. The school has a large age range of students. Many are already local church leaders who have not had any formal training or young people who are beginning to serve in their local churches and desire to grow in Biblical training. Monte Porzio is a small town so we minister to all ages. We live in the historic city center so we have daily contact with many of the shop owners and locals. Slavery No More mainly sees Romanian women in our street visits but time-to-time we meet Albanians, Polish, Russians, Bulgarians, etc. So we must be ready with material in several languages. Many of these girls are under age, though they must say they are 18, and most of the others are in their early 20’s.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN YOUR MISSION FIELD?
Where to start. In Italy, we face almost no physical persecution but most often social persecution as we are seen as weird, strange, etc. or local leaders who refuse permission for events or use of public spaces. The real challenge is with the people. Most are rooted in tradition and the large majority have never read the Bible. They either think they know what it means to be a Christian and refuse it or they run behind traditions and beliefs that are not centered in Biblical truth or in the true knowledge of Christ. Our desire is to get people to “come and see” for themselves what the Bible says but very few are open to this. They are quite content in their lack of knowledge or the religion they have created.
On the streets, our biggest challenge is obviously convincing the girls to seek help. It is not a simple, easy or safe decision for them. The laws in Italy surrounding prostitution and trafficking do not help us in our work. There are also very little finances for the services the city offers to the girls.
As far as the work at IBEI, we need to work constantly on several fronts: relationships with local churches, financial difficulties, and the strengthening of the staff and teachers. Generally speaking, there is no real culture in the churches for formal biblical training. The need is there, but not always seen as a priority and a long-term goal. Part of our job is to deepen the awareness of this need. All of our staff and faculty are also involved in church ministry and or other ministries, which helps in giving us a sense for the needs of the churches. Moreover, as in the churches, in parachurch ministries like ours, the enemy tries to exacerbate conflict and provoke personal issues. So we need to be on guard and work on our community.
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU?
You can pray for balance in ministry and in life as we are involved in many things. Pray for good relationships with co-workers and believers since the enemy always wants to divide and destroy. For IBEI, pray for the project to launch anew the Residential Program in September 2016. We are meeting with many churches to get some feedback and we hope to have a clear idea by the end of the summer, so we will have 12 months to prepare for kick-off. Pray for salvation for the many Italians that don’t know the Lord, especially in our town. That they will experience freedom from bondage! Pray for more volunteers for Slavery No More and breakthroughs with our relationships with the girls on the street we meet and already know.
DESCRIBE ANY FINANCIAL/MATERIAL NEEDS OF THE MINISTRY:
At IBEI, finances are always a struggle. Some staff at times go months without their regular pay, just relying on gifts that come from other sources and we are quite understaffed (considering that many of us are also involved in local church ministries). Pray for more qualified staff and for greater sensibility of Italian and foreign churches and individuals in donating. In Monte Porzio, we are still in an early phase of the church plant. We are not yet ready to have a meeting place, but we might move in that direction in the fall. This meeting place would be used either as a Sunday “celebration” meeting (which we would rent only for one day a week), or if we could fully rent we would also use for weekday events (bible studies, English classes, and other community activities). Slavery No More can always use funds to help purchase items we give out to the girls during our street visits. They also love the hand sanitizer from Bath and Body works, we have nothing like that here.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE US WITH?
We want to challenge you all with a question: Are you willing to leave your comfortable life to live radically for the Lord?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. | Matthew 16: 24-25
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VERSE/QUOTE?
Danny: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. | Romans 5:8
Marti: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. | Jim Elliot
You only die once; it might as well be for Jesus. | Werner Groenewald, recent martyr in C. Asia
WHAT IS THE BEST/PREFERRED METHOD OF SENDING MONETARY GIFTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS MINISTRY?
You can give to any of our ministries through CMML. All donations are tax-deductible. Give online or via check made out to CMML:
CMML, Inc. P.O. Box 13 Spring Lake, NJ 07762-0013.
Please include this note/memo: This donation is for Marti and Danny Pasquale