SBI stands for Saints Bible Institute and it is where I will spend the majority of my time. It is a unique international study experience - one where education meets ministry - that offers an outstanding accredited academic curriculum. Hundreds of students - from colleges like Bryan, Moody, Lancaster Bible, Northwestern, and Liberty - have had their hearts stirred to pursue missions and evangelism after a semester at SBI.

It is the educational branch of Saints Equipped to Evangelize (SEE) and fulfills two of our organization's three goals: (1) To get regular people involved in evangelism and missions—short and long term. (2) To increase the US Church's vision for the lost and for missions. The third goal, to aid missionaries and local churches on the field as they carry out the great commission, is carried out by full-time church planting missionaries.

I am going to be involved in working towards all three of these goals. At the beginning of each semester, I will train whatever kitchen staff we have, and then continue to oversee the kitchen/meal situation for the duration of the semester. While the students are in class, I will dispense with my secretarial duties. I will be keeping websites and newsletters up to date, creating and maintaining an alumni network, and taking care of all the planning and paperwork that goes into the summer mission teams. Whenever students are not in class, my focus will be on them. Being secretary is my part time job, so to speak. Being kitchen manager is...less than a part time job. Being a mentor to the students is, well, basically my full time job. I am to come alongside the students and pour myself into their lives with all the love
, care, wisdom, and patience I possess. My work is to sharpen them as iron; help them grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ; counsel and challenge and comfort them; make them laugh, or even just smile, when everything seems to be going wrong for them. My goal is to help them get to the point where their love of God is the 
defining and driving force in their lives. 

You might be wondering why - if Italy really is in such dire spiritual straits - my work will primarily involve ministering to American college students. It's a valid question. I'd ask the same thing if I were you. Being a secretary and mentor hardly seems like "real" missionary work. Worse, it doesn't sound like my work touches Italy at all. I mean, how can I call myself a missionary to Italy if I'm not interacting with Italians? 

Easily: I will be interacting with them. Both directly and indirectly. 

During the spring and fall semesters, my ministry to Italy will be mostly indirect. My daily ministry will be to Sam Spatola as his secretary, and to the students as a mentor. It doesn't sound very Kingdom-oriented or spiritual, I know. But - and here's what I love about my job - by being Sam's secretary, I get to expand the effectiveness of his ministry. I'm not gifted with preaching or teaching. He is. I can give him more time to evangelize and/or disciple Italians by taking all the trivial but necessary organizational paperwork off his to-do list. I may not be able to personally touch the lives of Italians on a daily basis, but I can create the opportunity for him to touch more lives than he could otherwise. And I can do that by exercising the gift the Lord has given me - the heart and ability to help. SBI is stationed in the Fruili-Venezia-Guilia region of Italy. The Fruilians are classified as an unreached people group, with only 0.10% having been reached with the Gospel. I can help Sam reach the rest. At the same time, I can help the students understand who God is, how He works, and what their relationship to and with Him ought to be. I'll be in a position to build them up in the faith on a daily basis - equipping them to the best of my ability to follow Christ faithfully regardless of what their future looks like. 

During the summers, I'll have the opportunity to minister more directly to the Italian people. Each summer, SBI becomes the headquarters for mission teams who come from the US to partner with the SEE missionaries. As secretary, I'll be responsible for all the planning and paperwork pending their arrival. Once they're on campus, I'll do whatever is necessary to further the evangelistic work going on. That can mean anything from working in the kitchen, to driving the teams where they need to go, to translating during street ministry. 

And at all times, I will be a member of the church plant in Pordenone, Italy. I will be worshiping and fellowshipping with Italian believers on a weekly basis, and doing whatever I can to minister to the local body. As I have opportunity - such as weekend travels with the students (which generally involve a decent amount of time sitting on trains full of Italians) - I will share the Gospel myself. 

So even if I never personally share the Gospel with a single Italian (which is highly unlikely), I would still confidently call myself a missionary to Italy. Why? Because, by lending a helping hand, I extend the reach of others' who are better equipped to reach Italians with the Good News.  

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