Author - Patrizio Zucchetto, Echoes International Mission Worker
Patrizio was born in Naples and became a believer at the age of 22 whilst in military service. He and his wife Jennifer live in Serino, Italy, with their four children. His mission work throughout Italy has involved church planting, itinerant preaching and teaching, and work with GLO, for example welcoming summer GLO teams to his area.
I was born and lived in Naples until I was 21. At the age of 22 I was saved during my military service in Florence, and since then my whole life has been changed.
Before meeting Christ I was a practicing Catholic; a young man with lots of ideas and inspirations how to get on in life. Karate was a strong passion and I trained in this from eight years old.
But when I met the living Jesus all became fresh and different.
My whole perspective on life changed and during the IBCM conference in Rome in 1996 I got the call to leave my career and attend Tilsley College, GLO Scotland for biblical training in 1997.
After my year in Bible College I returned to Italy and worked alongside a church planting initiative in a large town near Naples, Pozzuoli with the Catchpole family and organizing GLO summer teams with the Hamiltons.
During that time I got engaged and married to Jennifer, a beautiful young girl from Northern Ireland who got the call to serve God in Italy after her training at Tilsley College too.
By the grace of God we saw many people coming to faith in that first little church in Pozzuoli. A church started from scratch then became autonomous and vibrant with over one hundred people in fellowship, full time workers involved and a building project in place.
I loved teaching God’s holy Word in church, in homes, taking young people for whole weekends away and making good and faithful disciples. Those were years of great joy and challenges building the kingdom of God. After almost 11 years Jennifer and I moved to Naples, to my home church, to help with the leadership team. The church in Pozzuoli was ready and stable and my home sending church needed some help to move forward.
So I accepted the challenge and went back to my own city district where I was born. It was a new chapter for us, and for myself, very different from Pozzuoli, as this time this church was well established and formed. However, I helped the local believers to have a fresh vision to move forward. For nine years I discipled local Christians, new folks came to faith and took responsibilities to serve God.
I have had the joy of starting and promoting new ministries. I have seen another church planting project getting started in another site of the city. Then another move on the horizon! With my wife Jennifer we got the vision to reach new areas where there is no any church; the Avellino province.
We have learned our God is the God who calls to a life of service for His glory. Each time He calls, His voice is unquestionable
Call to Serino
The Avellino province is a large area in the heart of the Naples’ Campania region, with over 429,000 inhabitants. I was touched by the fact that only 32 towns had an evangelical church, with only 119 in the whole area.
So, in 2017, with all the family we moved to Serino, a small village of 7,000 inhabitants located in a valley with other five villages with in total 19,000 inhabitants and no evangelical church.
Yes, we made another move starting again with a new and fresh vision, giving testimony as a Christian family among so many families who have no knowledge of who the living Christ is.
From urban to rural mission
It was not an easy to move with three teenagers and a small baby. God has blessed Jennifer and I with four children. We moved from a busy city life style in Naples to a small and quiet village Serino.
Well, here there are people who are completely lost for eternity.
They need the true Gospel, even though they believe they are in the truth, as they are mostly Catholic, very traditional and with a closed mind-set.
Our deep desire is to see a church planted here in the Serino valley, with a vision to reach other valleys and places in this region.
Serino valley has beautiful mountains with chestnut and walnut trees and is very fruitful naturally, there are fresh springs where both the locals and tourists come for refreshment, however it is spiritually dark.
Thanks be to God, we are now settled and have started ways to share our lives with the local people. With our moves throughout Italy over these past 25 years, we have learned our God is the God who calls to a life of service for His glory. Each time He calls, His voice is unquestionable.
During this new chapter we are glad we have stepped by faith each time into new phases of our lives because it reminds us of his faithfulness.
We wish with all our hearts this new move we would be standing strong, able to shine Jesus’ light in this place.
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me, will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life”