November Prayer letter

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Dear Praying Friends,

The weather certainly has cooled off here.  We have a long summer with a lot of heat and humidity.  When it starts to cool off, and is still humid, it makes if feel colder than it really is.  As fall hit we decided to host a Fall Festival at our house.  We had many people come to the festival that we invited.  We even had a family come that has never been to church.  It was a great turn out with lots of people.  We had a hay ride (even though that is foreign here) as well as a bon fire, and plenty of food.  It was a great opportunity of fellowship for the church and a great point of contact for many people that do not come regularly to church.

School is up and running for our kids now.  We have two seniors this year.  Where has the time gone?  The inevitable question of, “What is next?” always looms ahead.  This is particularly a harder question for missionary kids and parents alike.  We have been looking and praying about a Bible college in the USA for them to head too.  All that is involved in going back to the USA to attend college becomes a lot of extra planning and preparation.  Please pray for them as this hangs in the near future for them.  Also pray for their parents (us!).

Shane continues to go to drivers school!  It is more of a vocabulary challenge than actually rules and regulations of the road.  They have a very intense schooling that drills you on every chapter with quizzes.  Currently he is up to chapter 18 of 24.  So while progress is being made, it has been slow.  On the same note, we have been using Rosetta Stone for our whole family for language learning.  Shane is on the last leg of that journey looking to finish up this month!

Kathy has been moving slowly for the past few months with a lot of back pain.  We went to the doctors, and it turns out she has a herniated disk in her lower back.  We are hoping and praying that this will resolve itself with the right treatments.  She is currently on medicine.  Please pray that this would heal quickly and allow her to get back to her full strength.  Her involvement in the ministry and at home is essential!

We started going down town on Sunday nights after church and setting up a table with Gospel literature on it every Sunday evening after services.  This is much like what we do on Wednesday mornings at the market.  It has proved to be a great time to talk with people and give out gospel tracts and packets of information for our church.  We were able to go throughout the month of October.  It was often cool at night and less people, however there were still people down there.  November has proven to be tough as it just became too cold and rainy.  We look forward to heading back down there in the spring.   We have had several visitors in church recently which has been a huge blessing.  Some have been out of church for some time and one was a completely new visitor!  Pray that God would continue to touch and work on hearts and lives here in Mazara del Vallo.

We are in need of help!  Please pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into His harvest!  Don’t pray that God would send someone in your place if He clearly wants you to go.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Serving the King,

Shane & Kathy Rice

August Prayer letter

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Dear Praying Friends,

Pro. 25:25 “ As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”  As we have been in a record heat wave here in Italy, cold water has never tasted so good.  The Italians say it hasn’t been this hot in years.  The temps were up in the 100’s with humidity.  It has cooled down to about 90 this week!  In the month of August, Italy kinda shuts down, goes on vacation, closes if you will. They call it Ferragosto which means basically August holiday. It is the end of the planting season and they take a break before Harvest.  Offices, stores, basically everything either closes or cuts their hours.  As an American, this can be annoying when you just want to get stuff done.   Shane is still in drivers school here to get his Italian license, he found out they will be closed for 2 weeks for the holidays.  Please pray that after the holidays he could quickly finish the classes and get his license. Continue reading August Prayer letter

July Prayer letter

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Dear Praying Friends,

Summer is well on its way!  It has been very hot and very humid here.  We are still not quite used to this climate.  With summer comes lots of tourists, traffic and people to our town.  Sadly almost none of these ever visit our church.  The sad truth is when people go on vacation, they often take a vacation away from God!  We do have one couple from Germany that visit each summer and we are grateful for their faithfulness to church while in town.  We also had some very good friends take a vacation right here in our town, and it was great to have them here and in church with us.  It was very nice to have other Americans to spend the 4th of July with. Continue reading July Prayer letter

June Prayer Letter

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Dear Praying Friends,

We recently celebrated our first year anniversary here in Italy!  We are thankful for all the Lord has allowed us to accomplish this past year.  We continue to work on language, and progress is being made.  We appreciate the many people who have told us they are praying for us to learn the language.  The frustration is probably more of an impatience to be able to communicate effectively and fluidly the truths of the Word of God that need to be communicated.  God indeed is the author of all languages, the understanding and utterance of languages is truly something that God can help.  We are reminded of God’s response to the excuses that Moses used, “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” – Exodus 4:11-12 Continue reading June Prayer Letter

March Prayer Letter

March 2017

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Dear Praying Friends,

As always February flew by and we are left wondering where it went.   This last month, Shane preached a series on Evangelizing or Reaching the Lost.  We are encouraging the people of our church to get out and witness and invite others to church.  Shane has been knocking on doors and passing out tracts almost daily.   We just recently ordered 10,000 invitations to our church and are excited to begin handing these out.  We are also preparing to get some new banners made for our market ministry and some new materials to pass out.  Please pray for us as we continually strive to get the Gospel out.
We have become friends with some missionaries here who work with the African Refugees here in Sicily. We had the opportunity this last month to go to one of the Refugee camps here in Italy and Shane was able to preach to a group of men.  There are many refugees here in Sicily, pray that we will be able to be a light to them as well. Continue reading March Prayer Letter

January 2017

January 2017

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Dear Praying Friends,

We just want to begin by thanking all those that sent cards and extra support for Christmas.  Your love and thoughtfulness was very much appreciated!  We had a good Christmas and New Year here in Italy learning some of the new customs and spending time with the people of our church.  We were invited to a family in our churches home for Christmas Eve.  Wow, I don’t think I have ever eaten so much or for so long.  The Italian people definitely know how to put on a 7 course meal!!  Many people were gone for the holidays so it has been nice getting back into a more normal schedule now that the Holidays are over.

The new Year started out kinda rough for us.  On Jan 1st Shane got up to get some wood for the wood stove and noticed we had a flat tire. So that week he had to run around to find the same tires for our car, as we found out you are only allowed to have the tires that are on your vehicle registration, which we found out they very uncommon, and hard to find.  Finally after going to a few different shops he found someone who could order them.  All that just to replace 2 tires!! As he was dealing with all that, Kathy was sick with a cold that affected her asthma.  She was sick for over 2 weeks, we finally decided we cannot use the wood stove.  The house here does not have heat so we are now using gas propane heaters.  We would like to get a pellet stove.  Please be in prayer about this as the humidity and cold really affects Kathy’s asthma as well.   She is feeling a little better but still is having to use her inhaler a lot.   

Also this month we were able to celebrate our 19th anniversary and our 18th year of ministry. We were accepted by BIO as missionaries in January of 1999. We are truly thankful and feel blessed for all God has done for our family over these years!  We also celebrated Micah and Moriah’s 16th birthday!  Hard to believe that they are growing up so fast!

We also were excited to get all of our visas finally done!!  It only took us 8 months but they are good for 2 years! It is a good thing too, since they are predated with our arrival date.  We are little by little learning our way around here and getting accustomed to living “la dolce vita” or “the sweet life” here in Italy. 

We are looking forward to a busy year with quite a few visitors coming.  We are excited at the prospect of new missionaries coming to work here in Italy.  The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few. There are so many towns here without a gospel preaching church, so many children who do not know that Jesus loves them.  Please pray as we finish our language studies and begin some new outreach programs.  We are excited to see what God is going to do in 2017! 

We covet your prayers and are so thankful for each of you and your love and support for our ministry.  May God’s blessing be poured upon you in this New Year!

Serving the King,
Shane & Kathy Rice & Family

Continue reading January 2017