We have so much to be grateful for!! We praise the Lord for His faithfulness and for how He is at work through the KKF. We also praise the Lord for each one of you who continues to faithfully support the KKF and its vision and initiatives to serve the church and the spread of the gospel in Italy and beyond. Thank you all so very much for your prayers and for your faithful and generous giving. The Lord truly is at work. With this update we hope to give you insight into how the Lord is using the KKF and your generosity for His name's sake and the spread of the gospel in Rome, Italy, and in other parts of the world. It has been too long since our last update, but there have been a few things in the works that we wanted to have finalized before sending out this update. Naturally those things took longer than expected to fall into place, but by God's grace they now have and so we are excited to share them with you here. The pictures of the staircase above won't mean much to you, but for the church Breccia di Roma, for ICED (Evangelical Cultural Institute) and IFED (Evangelical Training Institute), and for all the activities that take place within the walls of this building the Lord has given us, the installation of this staircase marks the end of many many months of waiting and praying for the work to be completed. On the last day of December in 2015 we signed the contract on this building, and finally on April 3, 2017 the above staircase was installed, signaling the end of all the work that has gone into preparing this building for ministry and gospel-centered activities. Due to the long wait and anticipation, we have nicknamed the staircase the "Holy Stairs!" The church has been meeting here since July of last year, and has hosted other activities as well, but now the building is complete, and for that we are so thankful. The KKF has contributed approximately $70,000 to these efforts! We have only the Lord and each one of you to thank for that! What a blessing it has been to be able to contribute to such important gospel-centered work. The staircase connects the main floor to the theological library and office space below. We invite you to come and see it in person! No time was wasted in hosting the building's first cultural event post-installation of the "holy stairs." Above is a picture from Saturday April 8th. Two academics were invited to discuss the relevance of "Sola Scriptura" for the church, both historically and for today. The event was in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Professor Pietro Bolognesi (professor of systematic theology with IFED) came from Padova, Italy to represent an Evangelical take on Sola Scriptura, and (get ready for this name) Monsignor Melchor Sànchez De Toca y Alameda (with the Pontifical Cultural Council) represented a Catholic point of view. It was a fascinating discussion and the church was thankful for the opportunity to proclaim the gospel and uphold the authority of Scripture, both for the church and our lives. More exciting news! The picture above is of Liberato Vitale and his wife Linda Acunto (in Italy the wife doesn't take the last name of the husband). They were married in October of 2015, just a couple months after Kyra's passing. After getting married they followed God's calling to settle down in Rome and serve Him and His church there. To do so they had to overcome several obstacles and face many challenges, ultimately placing the unknowns and their faith in the Lord's hands and trusting in their clear calling. One of the challenges they faced was a job for Liberato. While Linda works and serves the Lord through her skills as a photographer, Liberato also needed a job, as living in Rome is not cheap. To make a very long story short, after much prayer the church Breccia di Roma, through the initiatives of ICED (the Evangelical cultural association we operate out of our building), decided to offer Liberato a part time job with ICED. The KKF contributes to his monthly salary, thus playing a part in this young family's call to Rome to serve the church for the sake of the gospel. It is a huge honor to be able to serve this family, and in turn the church, and to provide in a small way for them. Again, we have the Lord and you to thank for that! At the end of this post is an interview conducted with Linda and Liberato so that you can get to know them and their stories a little better. Take the time and read it! We are not sure of the security issues that might be at stake, so we won't list the names of the young people pictured above. They are three young Indian believers who are launching a business as missions initiative in their community for the spread of the gospel. They recently had a fund raiser that helped raise money for a coffee house they want to open. The logo they created, which contains the name of the coffee house, is pictured above. Thanks to your generosity, the KKF was able to make a contribution towards these important efforts in a country largely void of the gospel. Because of the generosity of many, they reached their goal and will be able to move forward with their plans! How exciting it is to be a part of God's work not only in Italy, but also in other parts of the world. Please pray for them and the important work they will undertake. If you would like more information about their ministry, or how you can support them directly, let us know and we'll be sure to put you in touch with the right people. As you can see, we have so much to be grateful and thankful for! We can't say enough how thankful we are for your generosity and support. We work hard to be good stewards of the resources you entrust us with, and pray we are succeeding in this important endeavor. Please pray for the KKF, that God will be honored and glorified in all we do, and that He will be our wisdom and vision. This was Kyra's constant prayer, and so it is our's as well on behalf of the Foundation in her name. To God be the glory! Soon we'll be in touch concerning the 2nd annual KKF Fundraiser! Also, the website contains clear instruction on how you can give financially to support the KKF and its initiatives, such as the ones listed here Below is the interview with Linda and Liberato. Please take a moment to get to know this wonderful couple that we have the honor of supporting. Tell us a little bit about yourselves. My name is Liberato Vitale and I am 24 years old. I am from Salerno, which is a city in Southern Italy. I am the only believer in my family. I came to know the Lord at the age of 17 through close friends of mine that are believers. I met my wife four years ago at the age of 20. We met through mutual contacts in our churches. Her name is Linda Acunto and she is from Naples, which is not too far from Salerno. We were married on October 6, 2015. After getting married we moved to Rome and now live in the neighborhood of San Paolo and are members of the church Breccia di Roma. We are very grateful to the Lord for our church. How did you come to know Christ as Savior of your lives? I (Linda) grew up in a family of believers. From a young age I have attended church and Sunday school. When I was 8 years old my family had to leave the church that we were attending because we were no longer accepted there, as there were theological differences that led to a division in the church. Of course at the age of 8 I didn’t understand very well what was happening. However I do remember being very sad having to leave all my friends from Sunday school. I found myself in a new church surrounded by people I didn’t know and with no friends. For many years this affected my relationship with the Lord and I felt very detached from Him. I often heard sermons about God’s love and the love between brothers and sisters in Christ, but I saw none of this. During this period, however, I maintained a relationship with my friends from the church we left. We spent much time together, such as going camping. In fact it was on one of these camping trips, when I was 15 years old, that I heard a message that made me think. One of the speakers talked about the love of God and of man’s sin and how we can be saved by God’s love. He spoke about putting our trust in God and not in man. That evening I accepted Christ into my heart and began a long journey that has led me to where I am today. I (Liberato) grew up in a small town where everyone knows each other. In that environment there was, and continues to be, a strong Catholic influence on the people and the culture. As a result my parents and all my relatives are Catholic. For the most part people attend mass and go to church for the impression it communicates to others, so like all good boys I went to church with my grandmother and tried to behave well. Though I have always believed in God and that he is near to me, when I was young I thought that to express this belief I needed to go to mass and pray to the statues that filled the church and confess my sins to the priest. I remember well that one thing that made me very happy as a boy was lighting candles at the altar near the front of the church. This always gave me a sense of accomplishment as a committed “soldier” of the church. Many years later, while playing soccer for a team in my hometown, I got to know one of my teammates that was (and still is) a believer. He gave me a Bible and from that point on I stopped going to the Catholic church and began attending an Evangelical church. I loved reading the Bible because I learned so much about Jesus and who he was. Through reading the Bible many of my questions were answered. Reading the Bible was hugely important for me. In the Catholic church I was never encouraged to read it and so it had never occurred to me to open it. It was through reading the Bible, however, that I came to know Christ as Savior. Why did you choose to move to Rome? What are the needs there? Six years ago I (Linda) moved to Rome to study photography, as this was a vocation that the Lord had clearly put on my heart. I completed a three-year course at the European Institute of Design and earned a degree in photography in June of 2013. My thesis project concerned the memory of the innocent victims of both commonplace and organized crime in Campania, which is a region in southern Italy. Today I consider photography to be a gift from the Lord. Through it he has given me the opportunity to grow professionally, and now my desire is to use it for his glory and to demonstrate the love I receive from him, which is his greatest gift. After graduating I remained in Rome to continue working with the church Breccia di Roma. Then once Liberato and I were married, after much prayer we decided to stay in Rome and serve the church and the city for the sake of the gospel. Despite many difficulties and challenges, we are convinced that the Lord has called us to this city. We are here to testify to the reality of God’s peace and to promote this reality in a city full of false idols and gods. Rome is full of culture, beauty, and attractions; but at the same time it is very empty. It is a city full of idols that is in desperate need of a return to the Word of God and to true Christianity. It needs to be freed from the prison its idolatry has created. What do you see as the greatest challenges to the gospel message in Rome? Rome is a city full of religion, but void of the gospel. It is part of a large system of power and hypocrisy. It is home to the Catholic Church, and is therefore very difficult to engage. We as Christians must distance ourselves from this broken and corrupt system. God has called us here, but living out and proclaiming the true gospel is very challenging. This system of power that has enchained Rome has made it difficult for the gospel to infiltrate. God, however, has called us to live holy and righteous lives, and that is what we are seeking to do. How is the Kyra Karr Foundation contributing to your ministry and helping you face the challenges you mentioned? The KKF supports the needs of the local church, which contributes to the spread of the gospel in the city of Rome. For us, specifically, the KKF supports our work with the church and with ICED (Evangelical Cultural Institute). We are extremely blessed by the KKF, and it has been a direct answer to our prayers. We see clearly how the Lord is using the KKF as an important instrument for the church and for the glory of God. It is a privilege for us to be a part of that and see the Lord at work. How can the Kyra Karr Foundation and its supporters be praying for you? Our desire is to serve the local church. We live in the neighborhood of San Paolo and desire to enter into the lives of those who live there so that we may share the gospel with them. This is a very challenging task, and so we ask you to pray for us, that the Lord will open doors for us to share our lives with others, and as a result opportunities to share the gospel. Thank you!
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