Stephen & Stephanie Standridge


Dearly beloved friends!
We are actually in Indiana as I write to you.

We have already been able to reconnect with both Simeon and Elisa. Simeon has completed very successfully his first year of medical school and Elisa has been hired for a summer internship in the area of music and worship in Franklin, Tennessee.

Our initial plan was to come for one purpose primarily: to attend a missionary conference at Crossroad Community Church, one of our supporting churches in Kokomo, Indiana. We are so grateful for their great generosity in flying us here and making this possible.
The second item came into being in the past couple of months. Doctors have determined that our son Simeon needs a procedure that will address some significant issues he has recently been experiencing with his heart. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, June 22nd.

We appreciate your prayers very much. And so does Simeon of course! Surgery is scheduled for 9am. You might read this after the surgery, but all prayers are welcome each step of the way. Especially as it pertains to the results and Simeon's recovery.
But what is happening in Florence?
Let me pick a couple of things… or more! : )
  • It’s been very exciting to work with Fabio and Samuele, the two men I’ve been training to serve the Logos Church as elders. During the month of June they already have been preaching two Sundays each. Each of them is also responsible for a house cell with the purpose of helping our church body dig deeper in the word of God, develop stronger relationships, and grow in outreach to various areas of the city. 
  • As we shared in our last letter, God has been opening doors to reach refugees from Ukraine. About 5,3 million have fled into countries of the European Union. This heart wrenching crisis is far from over as more than one-hundred-thousand, primarily women and children, have come to find help in Italy. Over 8000 have come into Tuscany and we have been asking God to show us what we can do to reach them as many have come to find housing in Florence. 
  • We have already been involved in putting urgent items together to be sent to Romania where local churches helped the refugees. However, we also felt that it would have been great to do more by trying to come in touch with individuals and reach them with the Gospel in a more personal way. An additional hurdle was the language barrier as most of them do not know a foreign language. 
  • A special idea came when I asked Jenny, one of our single ladies, to consider doing something a bit “out of the box”. Jenny had recently closed her hair salon. So my question was if she would use her talent to minister to Ukrainian ladies and their children. We went to one of the two main spots where refugees met to get help and we left our info with a couple of volunteers. The Lord heard our prayer! 

In a matter of a couple of days calls started to come in! What an opportunity Stephanie and I had, along with several members of our church, to bring comfort and love with something so much more than a quick exchange in a food line. As to the language barrier, God also providentially brought to us an interpreter! Tamara, a wonderful Ukrainian lady who had started to attend our church at the same time as the war started in Ukraine.

 The stream of ladies and children coming to Jenny’s house to get their hair done became steady. Twenty-one of these precious souls came for our Easter service! We organized a meal to be with them and we were able to preach and live the Gospel in a deep and tangible way. Just what we had hoped! Since then, we have continued to have others visit our church and this ministry is definitely far from being over

  • Now we are now planning a VBS from the 5th through the 9th of September. We pray God will bring many of these children and their mothers to our church to know more about God’s amazing grace. Fifteen of our church people have signed up to help during this week. We plan to take the last evening to host a barbeque to spend quality time with children and their mothers.
  • We were also able to send Jenny to Romania to be involved in the refurbishing of an old abandoned hotel to host refugees. The people in charge decided very soon to put Jenny in charge of the volunteers as they left to go into Ukraine. We also praise for Fiorenzo another new believer. I was able to connect him with an Italian mission organization to go short-term to minister to Ukrainian churches who are faithfully meeting in the midst of this cruel war.
  • We are so excited to see our church coming together for growth and service in sacrificial ways. We recently had a series of morning lessons to address the foundational truths about God’s revelation, the reliability and the sufficiency of Scriptures. I explained to our church that the best way to do this, (considering so many conflicting schedules), was to meet on Zoom at 6am. I had no idea of what would actually happen, but almost everyone showed up! 
  • Stephanie’s work with the women continues to bear visible fruit. She has recently asked several of the ladies to take turns in leading the two Bible studies that are held each week. Women like Jenny are growing and showing excitement in their walk with Christ. Sara, another brand-new believer is always eager to learn and among the first to be available to do things in spite of her very busy schedule as a physician. We praise God for each sign of growth.
I could truly keep going, but I’ll save more news for the next letter. God is so good and we are seeing Him at work. A small body of believers, but a body that is truly growing and striving to please the Lord. We have a class in progress looking forward to baptisms in September. Please pray for us as so much is happening and there is much more to be done in preparing this church to stand on its feet with local indigenous leaders in place.
Dear friends, we love and we thank you, once again!
Thank you for being so faithfully on our team reaching the lost in Italy and beyond!
With much love,
Steve, Stephanie, Simeon and Elisa Standridge 

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