Marco & Christina BSSM2 Update

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Up to our eyeballs in transformation… and an appeal

M journalling for the past few weeks has been… private, confused, and intense – not least because we’ve been experiencing such a volume of new thinking and new experiences… it’s become clear that this year really is a foundational year for us vocationally. For me personally, that looks like an acceleration in my coaching training and contacts, in leadership development, and teaching ideas. For Marco, that signifies an increasing confidence in his ability to relate with and influence people, new ideas for artistic initiatives, together with a rapidly growing fluency in English.

Nevertheless, there are some really important and practical things to update you on. Firstly, and most urgently, our final tuition payment is due on November 9th, and because several unavoidable factors we still don’t know where that’s coming from. The total (including both of us) is $1645 – that’s £1,031 or €1200. It’s an important deadline as we can’t continue school unless it’s paid – and we would really like to continue with the school, especially in light of all that God’s been doing in us here. You can find details of how to help us at the bottom of this post.

Secondly, we have been given so many opportunities to minister and share out of the incredible goodness God has expressed to us so far. The latest of these is a ministry trip to Los Angeles, a city we both love, which will incorporate ministry to some local churches, outreach on Venice Beach and Skid Row, and connecting up with the revival history of the city by visiting places such as Bonnie Brae (where the Azusa Street outpouring began), the house of Aimee Semple McPherson, and other revivalist landmarks. We are incredibly excited about this trip and would love to be backed by your prayers.

We’ve also been praying intentionally about our calling in Versilia and in Europe in general. Returning to Europe next summer we want to “hit the ground running,” with a very clear purpose and committed in partnership with the right people. We need wisdom and favour and open doors for that, so please pray for us.

Lastly, I’d like to share a kind of vision I had a couple of nights ago… back in England I commuted a lot by train, and so the memory of clattering through a train station and trying to read the name of the station as my train hurtled along (almost always impossible) is etched into my memory. The other night as I dozed off, I saw myself looking through a train window at a station, and the station’s name was FAVOUR. I felt the Holy Spirit impress on me that I really couldn’t afford to speed through that station; no matter how urgent my journey, I had to stop the train and get off at this station, and allow Him to give me favour and grace to meet my needs, and to rest.

Helping us stay in school
Donations can be sent directly to Bethel:
For Marco:
https://www.ibssm.org/a/donate/secure-form?student_id=212449&target=tuition
For Christina:
https://www.ibssm.org/a/donate/secure-form?student_id=212451&target=tuition
Alternatively you can donate through PayPal (christina.r.ricci@gmail.com) or drop me an email if you have any questions, suggestions, prophetic words…!
All your support and prayers are essential to bringing us back to Europe with all the equipping, strength and power that this school is training us to work in!

Thank you

Christina & Marco

Marco’s new hobby…

Marco's new hobby...

Marco working hard in a neighbour’s yard… good students!

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Having been picked up again…

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

…rather feeling set back on my feet. Which is good. Still waiting in many ways for God to provide everything we need, and by the end of October. I asked for a word from God to help me through the aching fear I was living with every day, and he said IT IS NOT IN YOUR NATURE TO FEAR. So that’s that. When God speaks it comes complete with the ability to perform itself. It transformed my brain. I still get anxious, but I’m not living with the intense pain of great fear for my immediate future. I am consequently enjoying myself a lot more. We’re off on retreat tomorrow, serving a whole gaggle of first years. Second Year already feels a lot more serious and purposeful compared to last year, but it’s all so much fun and we are such a brilliant group of people!

Categories: Christina's posts

Splashdown

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve never felt so much like a Blue Peter presenter.

I wonder where I’ve been my whole life, to have not tried this before. Admittedly, I have been in a rather chillier part of the world with fewer large lakes and friends of friends with speedboats.

I do have moments here where I think “really, we shouldn’t be living like this.” Sharing a house with a pool and a chihuahua, feeling a little Legally Blonde although Bethel instead of Harvard Law School and no bitchy sororities or creepy professors and… oh, well, maybe not so much. And the aforementioned Inner-tubing was courtesy of our first Revival Group Party at Whiskytown Lake (about half an hour north of Redding, in truly wild country), which was a satisfying start to the year. A year which has begun very briskly, with little introduction. Our optional classes start on Monday; I’m taking Life Coaching whilst Marco’s taking a financial class called the Prosperous Soul, which probably doesn’t hand out fifty dollar bills. Second Year is ridiculously intentional. They’ve already given us a hefty piece of homework which demands our Myers-Briggs and DISC assessment scores, together with written pieces about our sense of vocation and key defining life moments. I’ve put that particular assignment where I can’t see it… it’s rather intimidating… although it was fun to go through Myers-Briggs with Marco. It turns out he’s INFJ, an almost perfectly balanced introvert/extrovert, and the description of his personality in the write-up was astoundingly accurate. Unfortunately, we did a little googling of his type and it apparently turns out to be the least compatible with mine, which is ESTJ. Apparently. I took the test when I was 18 and came out ENFJ, far more intuitive and feeling-orientated… or perhaps because I didn’t know myself particularly well. In any case, the compatibility predictors are clearly not gospel. I enjoyed watching him discover the process, and reading the feedback which was so accurate and affirming; there’s a sense of, yes, I’m created to be this way.

Marco and I have also come back with a great deal of intentionality. We are aware that this year is a launch pad for future projects; we have been streamlining our ideas of what we’d like to get involved in so that we can develop the ideas that are currently taking shape in our minds. How they all flow together and get projected outwards into reality remains to be seen, but happily we are in an environment which takes pains to ensure that they do and that they are realized. Meanwhile I have a pool to sunbathe and do my homework by, even if it’s not ours.

Categories: Christina's posts

Family Letter

Hello to our brothers and sisters – how are you? I want to let you know how this year I am ever more eager to see the glory of God manifested on earth… Christina and I have decided to write you this letter to truly thank you from our hearts for everything that you have done for us during our time in California, thanks to you we have lacked nothing and you have been a very generous support for us and for this we want to take the occasion to honour you!!! You need to know that for me it has such an honour to be the first Italian graduating from BSSM. It was something I felt all year – a sense that I am representing all the people who are fighting and have sacrificed to see God’s love manifested in Italy. I feel that I am representing everyone who has prayed, interceded, suffered and hoped to the last to see the work of God shine, and it’s thanks to people like you that now I feel so blessed, but above all that the way is opening up for a great future and above all a future for our land ITALIA. Thank you for creating a solid foundation where people can walk!!! Thanks… God is truly calling courageous people like you.

This year at Bethel we have experienced marvellous things, we have seen miracles, changed people but above all we have found a community made up of people who have a desire to love and support eachother… and this makes all the difference, a community sharing great experiences with God, supporting eachother through difficult periods, and an impetus to press forward to seek out the face of God like never before!! It was a wonderful experience, when friends stood up to tell the whole school of what God had done for them that day, and to expect to be part of these miracles… there wasn’t a day when God did not do something, to teach us what this kind of lifestyle could look like.

I want to tell you a bit about our mission in San Francisco. We went to SF with several other students to bless the city… I remember starting to pray and ask God to let me meet the right people with whom to pray… and thus I began to walk around the streets of SF, searching for people to bless, and – guarda caso – every person that God said to pray for was ITALIAN!… on one occasion I met an Italian girl who was suffering from a serious problem with her neck, so that she could not lift her head well, and so I began to pray for her. After a little while, the girl lifted her head, and, amazed, told me that the pain had disappeared and that God had healed her WoooWWW… I was amazed, too – it was the first miracle that I have seen with my own eyes, in my life… glory to God… It was beautiful. Another thing that we did in San Francisco was going to pray for the Hippy Community (the 68’ers) and it was beautiful to see Hippies come to Christ…

I’ve heard that Redding California is currently known as the city with the lowest cancer rate in the whole of America, and Bill Johnson says that God has promised him that Redding CA will become a “cancer-free zone.”… I think that around 20% of people who come from all over the world to receive healing leave totally free of cancer, and this number is increasing… but if you asked what is the secret of Bethel, it would be two things… absolutely the first thing is the love that these people have for the truth and for the Word of God; I didn’t receive any impression that these people ever want to draw attention to themselves. What I perceive from the leaders is the desire to bring people to a personal relationship with Father God… I love the fact that Bill Johnson is therefore an authentic and very straightforward person. The other thing is certainly no less important – a CULTURE OF HONOUR that is at the root of this community, which starts with the leaders themselves and has spread like wildfire, becoming a movement that constantly attracts the presence of God… bringing with it all kinds of miracles and blessing… because God rewards those who honour him and most of all, those who humble themselves before Him!!! With all of this, I want to say that my dream to experience this and live this to the fullest reality is being realised, now more than before I know that God is a father who wants the best for his children!! GOD IS MY DADDY, and because I thank you again for having believed together in me and Christina… You have contributed to the realisation of this dream, and God is “super-proud” of you (as they say in California).

And Now For This Year…

After lots of prayer Christina and I want to go forward in this mission; we want to continue to honour this movement, because like you, we want to see a reality like Bethel’s born in Italy as well. We want to continue to learn from them, learn how to give birth to a reality like this, where HEAVEN INVADES EARTH!! Our hearts, like yours, beat for Jesus and Christina and I want to dedicate our lives to bringing the love of God everywhere. Our visas arrived a week or so ago, which was in itself a real gift – many people have been turned down visas for the school, for truly spurious reasons.

We’re writing to you therefore in faith, that Christina and I have decided to return to California to finish this school, and so with great seriousness and humility, we’d like to renew our request for support for the new school year, and the remainder of our stay in the US, without assuming that you should be bearing the load for all our support! Please be content and happy with whatever you choose to give… The year starts on September 6th, when we have to begin paying the school fees for this year.  

At present I am working in an Italian restaurant near London, through which we’ve bought airline fees, insurance, and paid for our visas and SEVIS registrations – all in all, a couple of thousand pounds. At the start of September, we need to pay the school around £3000. Our monthly living expenses will be around 600-650 euros for rent and food. So we’re still praying; we have some pledges, but our urgent need is that they come in on time. 

The best way for us to receive donations is through the BSSM website itself; to donate to tuition, you can go directly here; click “Give Online,” then “Give to Tuition” and you can search for either Marco Ricci or Christina Winn. Alternatively, you can use a direct bank transfer; please get in touch with us and we can send you the SWIFT details. 

Thank you, so much, again, for all your prayers and support and love. We deeply appreciate you!

Marco & Christina

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Life in the tropics

Our new SEVIS registrationforms arrived today, with our English addresses. It’s a small step towards the next visa process, which I would like to get underway by mid-July. We had rather hoped that our shiny 5-year visas were in fact valid for 5 years, but shockingly and totally unsurprisingly we have to pay out all that money again to get permission we already have to re-enter the States, for the sake of a few numbers. But – we’ve done it before (rather, we have experienced a not insignificant miracle before), and that was in a much more hassled condition and with considerably less notice.

So, I have to think about fundraising, I have to think myself away from panic. At work today I was sharing a bit of what has brought me to the estimable estate of temping at this stage in my life, which resulted in some new friends jealous of all my adventures. I considered, yes, if this were happening to someone else, I too would be jealous. And I try to take this into consideration.

I’m terribly proud of Marco, who’s quickly establishing himself in his first English job, at an Italian restaurant in Chatham run almost entirely by European immigrants, which means that the hours and the approach to pay is also rather European. But his English is very, very good, and he’s smart, and working out everything very quickly. I’m also very grateful to be working – stepping out from a nice air conditioned office today into a humidity that reminded me of the Eden project, which we visited a few weeks ago, in Cornwall. The Project itself is a massive ecological research undertaking, and the ridiculous price of entry is justified by the fact that you are contributing to a charitable cause, and so good value for those who wish to support the cause. Which is fair enough. We have year passes now, which we are almost certainly never going to use. But taking Marco on a minibreak with my parents to Cornwall was certainly worthwhile, introducing him to various culinary delights and disappointing him with Polzeath beach.

So, everything I’ve requested from Upstairs since the start of the summer has arrived – a car that works, a job that pays, for me and for Marco. I feel like I’m limbering up to the big ask, which is several thousand dollars to convince the American Embassy and Bethel that Marco and I are going back for next year.

I really, really hope for nice surprises. And not inconvenient ones.

Not sure what to call this post. The above strikes me as the least underwhelming one which my overheated brain will squeeze out.

Categories: Christina's posts

Fridge Love in Cornwall

Fridge love

 

Categories: Christina's posts

San Francisco mission trip

WoooWWW San Francisco …. Oggi voglio cominciare a parlare un pò della mia esperienza in San Francisco …. innanzi tutto voglio ringraziare tutto il team perchè senza di loro non sarebbe stato tutto così bello!!! Infatti per essere sinceri mi mancano di già!!
Appena arrivato a San francisco ho subito percepito il dono di questo città ,ovvero sia quello di portare rivoluzioni e cambiamento…. sono stato affascinato dai caratteri della città , tra cui i grandi edifici i due ponti come il Golden Gate Bridge ma soprattutto sono stato colpito dal modo che usa questa città per unire molto culture insieme !!!
Durante il mission Trip Abbiamo pregato per le strade , abbiamo pregato per le persone , abbiamo nutrito e incoraggiato persone come Senza tetto ,prostitute e Omosessuali portando loro la BUONA NOTIZIA del regno di Dio e nel Fare questo abbiamo visto miracoli , guarigione ma soprattuto abbiamo vistò la Speranza prendere posto nella vita di tutte queste persone , che personalmente direi che mi anno toccato il cuore , GESù è stato con noi tutto il tempo ed è stato bellissimo!!! Altre due cose che abbiamo fatto sono una , abbiamo predicato alla comunità Hippy o Hippie facendo un grande Barbecue nella Hippie Valley . Personalmente servire e ascoltare queste persone e chiaramente portando l’amore di Dio è stata una delle esperienze più importanti della mia vita!!! Una altra cosa che abbiamo fatto ,siamo stati nella chiesa principale di San Francisco “SF Promise Land”ed abbiamo praticamente organizzato un Culto di Lode e Adorazione di cui ho avuto il privilegio di predicare WOOOWWW…… Abbiamo anche pregato per loro e naturalmente ci sono state guarigioni di cui un uomo di Colore che è venuto avanti per ricevere preghiera perchè non vedeva dal suo occhio sinistro e come ho posato la mia mano sul suo occhio Dio lo ha istantaneamente guarito… che belloooohh!!! Voglio dire un ultima cosa , tutti i Leader e tutte le altre persone della missione sono state contentissime che un ITALIANO ha partecipato a questa missione , e per questo devo ringraziare tutte quelle persone che ci sostengano dall’ITALIA soprattutto la mia famiglia perchè se sono qui è anche grazie a loro , grazie di cuore “L’ITALIA C’è nel regno di DIO” un abbraccio a tutti CIAO e alla prossima 🙂

MARCO&CHRISTINA

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On an Upcoming Talent Show

March 26, 2011 1 comment

I was reflecting the other day on the fact that I am a rather sore loser. I gave up chess, for example, aged 11, when I was beaten by my 9-year-old sister. I shy away from any kind of contest where I might be shown up to be not quite as good as other people. And this is a problem, because you cannot escape competition, if you want to be excellent. Even if you are not competitive yourself, you will inevitably be compared to others by others.

I mentioned to a friend the other day that the difference between being excellent and being a winner is this: being excellent is generally co-operative; other excellent people simply enhance your ability to shine. Being a winner is binary: you win or your lose. There is no room for anything else. He laughed ironically and said “oh, in America, there’s no difference.”

And that’s a problem. If someone else’s ability to shine detracts from my own achievements, the world gets very depressing. Of course, competition can lead to tremendous progress and breakthrough – we saw that in during the Space Race years. And yet that progress was somehow artificial: the Cold War is over, and the budgets for space exploration continue to be slashed. Only this week there’s been a “divorce” between ESA and NASA over the amount spent on their joint Mars exploration project. Rivalry is great for short-term progress in technology, just as war is great for significant short-term progress in medicine and weaponry. But the context is not a sustainable one, and the collateral damage is costly.

Back to the shallow world.
The game show of the 1990s has been replaced by something far more insidious. No longer is it sufficient to comiserate the loser and award the winner a nice car/fridge/cuddly toy. The emphasis is on the humiliation of the loser. One is voted off the show. You are the weakest link, goodbye. Simon Cowell’s heartless rejection of the teenager whose only dream is to become the next Justin Bieber. Take the last example. The first popular talent contest format show I can remember is Popstars, which debuted in New Zealand in 1999, and spawned a brace of similiarly formatted shows, giving rise in the UK to Pop Idol, The X Factor, and national versions of Britain’s Got Talent. The first season of Pop Idol received condemnation from Members of Parliament on account of the harsh critique of hapless teenagers and the level of schadenfreude involved. The format has improved since, and there is a greater emphasis on celebrating the unusual and wonderful skills possessed by members of the general public. Still, the ultimate goal is not to take joy in excellence but to win, and preferably to win a high-profile recording contract – a model which has a tendency to generate a string of short-lived, much-hyped C-list celebrities. I should probably mention as one of a few exceptions Britain’s Got Talent winner Susan Boyle, who shot to fame not so much because of Simon Cowell but because of YouTube. It was a startling exception as she would have naturally been discarded as too old, too frumpy, too Christian to appeal to a modern, voracious audience.

I’m still wondering whether to take part in the all-school talent show at the end of term. I know myself a little better now, and I’m suspicious of the motive behind my desperate desire to perform. I love performing – of standing up and feeling the energy and enthusiasm of the audience, of shining in front of people. But when I’m being so directly and critically compared to someone else, the desperation not just to be excellent but to win at all costs takes over, because I’ve not yet been able to disentangle one from the other. I have no desire to be the next Kelly Clarkson.

Being too old for MySpace, I will choose a more substantial, democratic mode of expression, such as this blog, or perhaps Twitter.

And please don’t run a search for me on YouTube.

Categories: Christina's posts