Italy: Watchmen Seeking True Liberty
By Jorge Parrott
Liberty was the dominant theme as we arrived in Italy for our second annual Prophetic Roundtable. The Lord had been speaking to our team for several weeks prior to departure about liberty on many levels: in the church, in the individual, and in the nation.
Surely the Lord orders our steps—we landed on Passover. The following Monday was Italy’s national Liberation Day. On the next Friday, the water in Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain was turned red to bring global attention to the martyrs who died for the cause of Christ. The Trevi Fountain’s theme is the “taming of the waters.” At the Roundtable, one friend said the water of the Holy Spirit is not tamed and brings liberty.
Pastors and leaders from across Italy gathered to seek the Lord’s heart for this “now” season. We visited churches in Ancona, Pesaro, and Pescara on the eastern coast along the Adriatic Sea. We met with refugees and the director of a refugee center in Ancona to learn more about the crisis and see firsthand how it is dealt with on a daily basis in order to know how to seek the Lord for opportunities to increase the kingdom.
The Roundtable was held in one of the smallest and oldest republics in the world, San Marino—a nation inside of Italy founded in 301 AD that is about twenty-four square miles. San Marino’s official name is the “Most Serene Republic of San Marino.” The Lord showed us many things as we spent time with passionate lovers of Jesus and deepened our relationships with the leadership of key churches and businesses, worship leaders, and pastors.
Our hosts were dear friends and apostolic leaders, Dr. Prince and Love Nwigwe, from Nigeria—they have lived in Italy for twenty-six years and now live in Alberta, Canada—and Pietro and Sandra Evangelista. For thirty-five years, the Evangelista’s have been responsible for launching many into ministry in Italy.
Bringing Liberty to Many Trapped in Prostitution
Prince and Love shared their powerful encounters with the Lord and how the Holy Spirit led them from careers in architecture and hospitality into leading apostolic and prophetic ministry. Years ago, the Lord spoke to Love about rescuing prostitutes, and even their pimps, by sharing Jesus’ love. Over one hundred former prostitutes and some of their pimps have found Jesus through their ministry and now live transformed, restored, and productive lives. Years later, some of the former prostitutes have even married their pimps, all now set free from their past sin and shame and serving in ministry leadership and worship at several churches. Many of those trafficking victims also serve actively in their churches and have wonderful families and careers. Many of their church members migrated from Africa and found Jesus in Italy.
Encountering the Presence in The Torch and The Sword
Pastor Roberto of the Sorgente Di Vita (Source of Life) church in Pesaro read Rick Joyner’s book, The Torch and the Sword, and had a supernatural encounter on the mountain of San Marino that transformed his life and ministry. Roberto, like many in Italy, came out of the Catholic church. He and others spoke with real depth of their love of liberty in the Spirit. He and many other pastors we know there paid a huge price in their obedience and pursuit of freedom in the Spirit.
These pastors have gone through persecution from mainstream churches and the Vatican in their pursuit of spiritual freedom. For many in Italy, fighting the religious spirit requires great diligence in prayer, study, and time in the presence of the Lord. Intercession and worship play vital roles in their lives, and unity in a growing number of churches has created strong friendships and a holy interdependence not seen in many nations.
There were many bold, faith-filled declarations during our visit. Our team had amazing encounters with the Lord and His people, returning invigorated and refreshed. Day after day the presence of the Lord grew stronger, changing us all.
Italy has a long history of rejecting the message of Jesus. The Apostles Peter and Paul and many other Christians were martyred there. Today there is a prophetic remnant that is growing and walking in bold faith. They see the Lord’s heart and destiny for this beautiful nation and people. The Lord’s presence was powerful in each church service, and the worship was some of the most powerful we have been blessed to be in anywhere in the world.
Much time was spent in worship as people experienced the freedom in the Spirit in powerful, anointed experiences. As the worship rose higher and higher in each meeting, the cloud of glory followed us to each new place because of the depth in these committed and mature believers, uniting worship teams and leaders from various churches. Serious momentum is taking place.
Leaders Going Higher and Deeper
At the Roundtable, liberty came up repeatedly on different levels—from spiritual warfare against the religious spirit to personal in-depth impartation for the pastors and leaders. As we read in the Old Testament, no priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies with scabs. We spent time praying for each other. We listened to their hearts as they shared their trials. We loved them for who they are, not for who they are not.
Many received renewed hope and healing so they could enter into the Lord’s presence in a new and deeper way, beholding the glory of our King. We are still receiving reports of real breakthrough and remarkable encounters after our visit. Our teams are called to sow into leaders and release breakthrough, healing, and transformation on new levels in the Lord wherever we go. Loving them into the Lord’s presence to walk with the Him is the greatest liberty for us as bondservants. Like the Apostle Paul, we desire to see everyone complete in Christ.
The Flood of Refugees and the Harvest
According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as of April 2016 there are 93,715 refugees in Italy, and asylum seekers number 48,307. Prince and Love Nwigwe have worked for years to aid the refugees with hope in Jesus and humanitarian care. Many refugees have come to Jesus. Many are already Christians from North Africa and the Middle East who are fleeing Islamic terrorists and searching for hope, freedom, and a new life in Europe.
We met many from other nations who are now productive and serving in the church. The refugee crisis overwhelms every nation in Europe, and it is on its way to the U.S. and Canada. Please pray for the opportunities to increase heaven’s population for eternity and for sharp discernment to spot the terrorists’ evil intentions to inflict pain and death on innocent lives. This is a war like we have never seen before on earth. The Lord is preparing our hearts and minds for things we have no experience for, but as we trust Him, seek Him, and obey Him, He will show the body of Christ how to overcome every battle with Holy Spirit empowerment and victory.
Presently, refugees in Italy are given housing and food for two years. Sadly, at the end of the two-year period, 95% are rejected for residency. It is apparent that the Italian government cannot continue these subsidies for long. Statistics show that crime increases in immigrants after the two-year period ends. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and sex trafficking have increased in this population. Our friends are working with government and Catholic charities to form an alliance that provides a safety net for immigrants who have been rejected after the two-year period expires. These pastors see it as a Christian responsibility and opportunity to expand the Gospel in areas where the government should not be doing the church’s job.
We visited with one of the local secular charities and heard from the Director of the efforts underway in several local churches. These churches are enlarging the net to care for the refugees, expand the kingdom, and help communities reduce the number of those who have lost hope and are turning to a life of crime.
Thank you, Partners, for sending us urgently needed funds to deliver electronic Bibles into North Korea and to help our teams care for four hundred Yazidi women in Iraq who had been slaves to ISIS. As you know, if someone is caught with a Bible in North Korea, they can be executed. One of our strategic teams has created an electronic Bible with a battery that can last up to eight years. The fields are white unto harvest and the laborers are few. Help us send more laborers into the great harvest that is before us.
Thank you for your prayers and generosity to our mission work, staff, and Fast Track Teams. As the Lord leads, we invite you to sow into our efforts to bring Jesus into persecuted church areas at http://cmm.world, or call or email Jorge Parrott, Missions Director at 803-802-5544 ext. 392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.