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Colleagues in Italy
We refer to our co-laborers in Italy as "colleagues" because they are generally not employed by RCM. If they are, it is usually as a translator.
Beyond those below, there are many who are friends of RCM, but it is not possible to mention them all here, so we concentrate on those who are most integrally involved in various ways.
Mr. & Mrs. Giorgio Modolo have been long-time friends of Rev. & Mrs. Rudy Poettcker (see explanation in news letter). After the Poettckers joined RCM in 1994, the Modolos supported their work over the years. After RCM began working in Italy, eventually they met Rev. & Mrs. Donnan on a trip to Italy in 2003. This trip led to the introduction of their son, Andrea Modolo, to his wife Piera (see details in newsletter) who moved to the Torino area after graduating from law school.
Giorgio and Sabrina moved to Canada in 1975 where they were converted to Christ in 1976. Giorgio's mother had moved there (and still lives there) some years earlier. Having a communist background, Giorgio refused to have his son Andrea baptised in Italy, which led to many problems. After their conversion they in Calgary, they began attending a Reformed Presbyterian Church (Evangelical Synod) church where they and their son, Andrea, were baptized. In 1981, the Modolos decided to return to Italy and raised their family (having one more son and a daughter) in the Reformed faith without the aid of any Reformed presence in the country. For some years they attended a "reformed baptist" type church which after ten years decided they could no longer attend.
Throughout this time, Giorgio sought to be trained for the pastoral ministry, but between family responsibilities and problems with the lack of truly reformed churches, he gave up his formal studies, though continued on a self-study basis having acquired a wealth of Reformed reading material in English.
After several visits and the death of Franco Maggiotto in 2006, the Modolos began meeting with several other Italian families who gradually became committed to the Reformed faith and began what is now called Chiesa Riformata di Cristo Re (Reformed Church of Christ the King) in Vittorio Veneto area north of Venice. Like all Reformed churches, it is extremely small, but has two elders and several other families meeting together.
After the death of Franco Maggiotto, we asked if Giorgio would serve as our Interrim RCM Coordinator for Italy and be our contact person in Italy for any Italians with whom contact might be developed. He agreed and has served in that capacity since January, 2007.
Giorgio and his wife have operated a family business for many years which does fine finishes on residential and commercial wood furniture. The economy in Italy has had its ups and downs and Giorgio would like very much to retire, if it was economically feasible, so that he could devote his full time to church development and spreading the Reformation in Italy. He is truly a man committed to Reformation of his nation.
Geoff & Nancy Donnan (far left); Giorgio and Sabrina Modolo (center); Rudy and
Sharilyn Poettcker (right) during a visit of the Modolos to Florida over
Christmas and New Years 2006-2007.
A Love Story and More
This is a unique and true story of God's providence in the lives of two people in Italy who met as a result of a bizarre set of "coincidences" (as the world would see it), through the instrumentality of Reformation Christian Ministries. This is the story of how two people ended up getting married because of events that took place thirty years earlier which would steer people in a direction that would eventually cause them to be introduced.
Story of Andrea and Piera Modolo and also of friendship between Rudy and Sharilyn Poettcker (of RCM) and Giorgio and Sabrina Modolo.
Andrea Modolo is the son of Giorgio and Sabrina Modolo. He graduated from law school in Padua, Italy, in 2004. He was baptized as a child in Canada upon the conversion of his father and mother in 1976. After his return to Italy with his parents in 1981, he soaked in deeply the training of his father in the Reformed faith. He learned English well because of having spoken it in Canada and also because his parents immersed him in English theological reading during his school years. Upon graduation from law school, he became somewhat frustrated over two major issues: 1) the corruption of Italy and its total disregard for things truly Christian and biblical; and 2) the lack of Reformed women in his country. Consequently, he was considering leaving Italy and spend time with his "uncle Rudy" (who was now associated with RCM as the Suriname Field Director) in Suriname to get some exposure to the world outside of Italy and perhaps eventually find a mate.
His visit with Rev. and Mrs. Donnan during their November, 2003 trip to Italy, was eventually used of the Lord to change all that since they introduced him to Piera Emili, a member of Dr. Franco Maggiotto's church in Alpignano, Italy (near Torino). Geoff Donnan also suggested that God had raised him up in Italy in order to use him to be part of the Reformation of that country, so long overdue. Piera Emili's desire for a Reformed man was also strong and so when the two of them met, within days they were engaged and planninig on being married as soon as Andrea could get a job that would enable them to get an apartment and supported a family. The marriage took place in late 2004 and was the first Protestant marriage to take place in Alpignano, Italy.
Once settled, Andrea was immediately adopted by Franco Maggiotto, because of his strong commitment to Christ and the reformed faith, for training for the ministry. However, time on both the part of Andrea and Franco kept this from becoming very extensive, nevertheless, he was eventually asked to preach for Franco whenever he was either away from town or too ill.
(Picture, left: Andrea, Piera and Anna Modolo during May 2007 on balcony of their apartment in Alpignano, Italy.)
After Franco passed away in December 2006, Andrea was one of several people selected by the church to carry on with the preaching responsibilities of the small Communità Cristiana Di Base in Alpignano. In 2007, his church approved his desire to study for the pastoral ministry by taking courses through Reformation International Theological Seminary under the mentorship of its Dean of Studies, and his old "uncle", Rev. Rudy Poettcker.
He serves on the committee that has been set up to oversee the work of RCM in Italy, but spends most of his time either at work or in his studies. He and his wife Piera now have a daughter, Anna.
For the interesting "love story" that brought Andrea and Piera together, see details in this article.
Rev. Paolo Castelina was born and raised in the Piedmont area of Italy (northwest) near Torino. As others, he was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, but during his teen years, came in contact with the Institutes of John Calvin and through them was converted and came to the Reformed faith. He attended the Baptist Theological Seminary, Rüschlikon-Zürich, Switzerland graduating Magna cum Laude in 1983 with a Bachelor of Divinity.
He began serving as pulpit supply in a Swiss Reformed Church in the Canton of Grisons, in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, and eventually was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1985. He served in that church until the end of 2007 and finding no employment either in Italy or in Switzerland, moved to London, England where he currently resides with his new wife while seeking employment.
(Picture right: Rev. Paolo Castelina holding Lord's Supper common cup in use since 1669 in the Casaccia Reformed Church where he regularly preached during his pastoral ministry in Switzerland for twenty years.)
We visited extensively with Paolo in hopes that he might be a possible candidate as a church-planting pastor with the church in Vittorio Venetto, but it turned out not to be something for which he was best suited. However, we have been using him ever since as a translator for much of RCM's materials into Italian. He has translated into Italian our Good News Bible Study, the Children's Catechism and also the Westminster Larger Catechism. We intend to use him for a number of other translations.
(Picture above: Rev. Geoff Donnan, L; Giorgio Modolo, C; Rev. Paolo Castelina, R, May, 2007, in front of Reformed church pastored by Bartolomeo Maturo e di Pietro Paolo Vergio from 1530-1550.)