Franco Maggiotto in Italy
The trip was such a wonderful experience that I did not know if I was still on the earth or with the Lord
Franco Maggiotto is a reformed preacher in Italy who at one time was a Roman priest. Then one day as he was taking the mass, and verses from the letter to the Hebrews were being read, he could see the finished work of Christ. His story is told with those of many other former Roman priests who discovered for themselves the free grace and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ in the Banner of Truth book, "Far From Rome: Near to God", chapter 28, "Franco Maggiotto: Saved while Officiating at Mass" (pp.248-255).
This recent letter tells of a visit he made to Israel.
January 17, 2003
I would like to tell you about many things, but they are very complicated. I will tell you only a few things, hoping that you will also pray about the other things that I can’t communicate to you.
What I can tell you about is the positive relationships that have grown out of the debate with Catholic priests and with Muslim Imams. One Imam came to speak with me, asking me to help him to do in the Muslim world what I am doing in the Roman Catholic world. And my help resulted in the opening of a "Koranic" school where the principles of biblical Reformation are at the centre of the teaching. I can’t tell you in detail because I fear that the reaction of the Imams in Italy (who are very strong and fundamentalist) will destroy this initiative.
I want also to communicate with you the blessings the Lord gave me during my visit in Israel with the delegation of the Italian Parliament, which included actors, cinematographers and television producers. For security reasons we flew from Turin to Rome and then to Cyprus, and then to Tel Aviv. When we arrived at the airport I was greeted by an Israeli couple who were waiting for me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. These dear friends have participated many times in our services in Alpignano and Turin. The vice-president of our Parliament, with whom we have made a deep friendship, was complaining to me a bit, wondering why the flowers were given to me and not to him since he was officially representing Italy. As soon as we arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by a group of Israelis, led by a doctor that I had met in London several years ago and with whom I had spoken about Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. This doctor was waiting to take me with him, and so I sent my luggage to the hotel check-in and went immediately with him in his car. While we drove to his ministry centre he spoke to me about his conversion to Jesus the Messiah and of his work of evangelism in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. When we arrived I met with a group of about twenty Russian Jews who knew me by name because our communities in Alpignano and Finale had invited Jewish teachers and businessmen to come and be our guests here in Italy and to talk about Jesus of Nazareth. My biblical discussion with them was very complicated because it was translated first into Hebrew, then English, then Russian, then Chechen for a group of three who came from Chechnya. But at the end everyone clapped, cried and hugged me in the prayer and in the grace of the blessing received in Jesus our Saviour.
Outside it was pouring rain, the car was far away, and we didn’t have an umbrella. I arrived back at the hotel completely soaked. If I were to recount to you everything I would never be able to finish telling you how much the Lord used me for His glory. I felt like the donkey of Balaam!!!
During the trip I was accompanied by a very intelligent Israeli colonel who speaks many languages. With him I met personally with the Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the President of the State of Israel Moshe Katsav, the Defence Minister, and the Knesset. With each of them I gave my message, and it was appreciated with hugs and prayers together. I will tell you about just one experience with these friends. The Defence Minister introduced me to about twenty people who had had children, wives, and brothers killed by suicide bombers. A mother of one these murder victims gave the organs of her murdered daughter to the one who killed her daughter, a suicide bomber who had been injured and needed help. At the end of my talk, while hugs and greetings were being exchanged, a teenager came and told me, "The Muslims have killed my mother and father. I’m alone in life and I wanted to die also. You will never understand the help your words have been. They have given me again the desire to live." The trip was such a wonderful experience that I did not know if I was still on the earth or with the Lord.
One other important outcome was the interest taken by the Italian delegation in what I was saying. I had the time to explain to them many things that are happening in Italy, and when they returned to Italy they immediately spoke about them on television and newspapers and in universities. Now my work is to continue the friendship and to send them my biblical writings that apply to the current situation in Italy. All of them gave me their e-mail addresses and asked me to continue to send my work to them.
While I was in Israel, some people came into our church in Turin in order to convince one of our female members to involve all the church with the New Age movement. This experience taught us a lot. Some have left our congregation, and others have come and we thank the Lord for each of them. The work of our churches continues in a very intense way, and we hope that your prayer will help us to carry on- "To them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you", Galatians 2:5. Is there anybody who still stands for biblical truth in this world? My family and our churches will continue to stand for the Lord by the Grace of God, if you pray for us. Personally I pray that the Lord who made Balaam’s ass speak will allow me to be faithful to His living Word.
Franco, Aurora, Tabitha and Alberto Maggiotto
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