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March 12, 2018
Dear Praying friends,
For those who got our email and responded so quickly, thank you for praying! Things went smoothly. Some of the best surgeons and doctors on the planet have lost a patient due to circumstances beyond their control. This is always an unpleasant, and heart wrenching time. While this can be hard on a doctor, as a preacher, we deal with something of eternal consequences, the spiritual. Our church has been in decline since before we arrived. We arrived at a point where our church simply cannot continue in the current location. The expenses are more than our small church are able to bear. The end result is the church decided to close it’s doors. We offered to continue with Bible studies, and there was no interest. Cancer is a dreaded problem and can sometimes grow silently inside for years, displaying no symptoms, until it is too late. This appears to have been the problem when we arrived, and it finally reached it’s pinnacle. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psa. 11:3). We have become wiser through these difficult circumstances. We are clearly reminded to be aware, to be on guard against the cancer of apathy in the church that will kill a church if not dealt with. I have never witnessed a church so ready to close it’s doors, and hope I never witness it again. We are praying for God’s direction. We have no intention of leaving Italy, but are seeking God’s clear guidance in where to start a fresh here in Italy.
I’m close to getting my drivers license. My test is scheduled for the end of this month, I then have to wait a month to take the driving portion of the test. Please pray that I will pass the written portion the first time. The test can only be taken twice, then I will have to wait to re-take it.
Our family is doing well and looking forward to new possibilities. Rebekah and Rachel have finished all of their schooling! We plan on coming home for a short furlough to help Rachel and Rebekah transition to the USA as well as get started in Bible college. We would love to visit churches and try to raise more support as well, as we are currently at about 90% support. Please keep this in prayer.
Last week we filed our paper work to renew our visas here in Italy. We are praying that it will be all finished by the time we are ready to head back to the USA. Government paperwork has a way of moving slower than any other forms of paper work. Please pray that these will be approved and will move through quickly before we come back on furlough.
Once again we covet your payers for our family in this time of transition. We appreciate your investment and prayers for our ministry.
Serving the King,
Shane & Kathy Rice