Getting To Know Our New Missionary (Part 4)
Let’s continue with some more questions that will help you get to know Massimo and his wife Susanna. By the way, they have two children – Alessandro and Elianna. They recently were surprised to find out that Susanna was pregnant! Then they went to the doctor only to receive another surprise – twins! Let’s hear about how God saved both Massimo and Susanna.
Question: How did God save you by His grace, Massimo?
Massimo: Having grown up in the church, I do not know the exact time God opened my eyes to the truth of the gospel. I grew up with much doubt as to the reality of a childhood profession of faith, so my testimony is more of the story of how God brought me to a place of assurance of faith in Christ. I attended Grace Community Church (Sun Valley, CA) most of my life. I professed faith in Christ in kindergarten or first grade. In high school I began to struggle with a lack of assurance that stemmed from an awareness of my sin and a fear of God’s judgment. One thing I always understood, having grown up in the Church, was my utter failure to measure up to God’s righteousness. By God’s grace, sometime at the end of college, these struggles with assurance of salvation were put to rest as my faith and hope in the sacrifice and righteousness of Christ was strengthened. It was also at this time that I was baptized. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes through 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I write this to you so that you may not sin, and if anyone sins you have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” After years of going in and out of assurance, I found rest by trusting Christ who fully satisfied God’s wrath for all of my sin and, as My Advocate, imputed to me His righteousness, thus acquitting me before God’s justice which I had feared for many years. This battle for assurance brought many doubts, fears, and temptations that ultimately, instead of destroying my faith, strengthened it. God also used this season in life to humble me, to weaken my love of man’s approval, and to help me think biblically about my sin and His Son. He is willing to save sinners no matter how sinful they are. It is now my greatest desire to make Christ known, to honor him as my Maker, and to please him with my life. He continues to reveal more of Himself and His greatness to me by His Spirit through His Word and continues to transform my life in areas I thought I could not change.
Question: How did God save you, Susanna, by His grace?
Susanna: The Lord has been merciful and gracious to me beyond what I deserve and could have ever imagined. I was born and raised in a godly Christian family where I grew up being clearly and thoroughly taught about Christ and His Word. I was taught Bible verses and catechism from the time I started to talk. The Lord drew me to Himself at a very young age of 5 or 6. Even though my understanding of salvation was simple and the Lord has grown my understanding immensely since then, I do know that I understood the gospel and I repented of my sin and trusted in Christ. I understood and believed that I was a sinner, that I was wicked and deserved eternal punishment for my sin, that there was nothing I could do to pay for my sin and I needed a Savior, that God sent His only Son Jesus to become a man and die on the cross as punishment for my sin, and that when I trusted in Him to forgive my sins, He would. When one becomes a Christian so young and is “sheltered” growing up in a Christian home, the big test of faith seems to be what one does after graduating high school and begins living on his own. The Lord worked in my heart a lot my senior year of high school and the first couple years of college to really mature my faith in Him. I grappled with questions that most do at that age – Is the Bible really true? Am I a Christian just because my parents are and this is all I know? Is there something else out there that I’m missing? Do I believe this enough to give my life for it? After I graduated high school, my family moved from southern CA to Kentucky where we went to a solid reformed Bible teaching church. Through the teaching at the church in KY and my next few years at The Masters College, including a semester in Israel, God was gracious to help me study His Word and know it was true and know that my faith was real. I learned more deeply what I was created for and what life was really about. I wanted (and still do) to live for the Truth and glorify Christ in everything, realizing this is possible only by His grace.