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Slow simmered: Italian Entrust training

Sherri Carlson, Pioneers

Entrust’s Women-to-Women Ministry Training sometimes launches in English. We equip key leaders who are proficient in English, who then equip people in their own language. Not so in Italy. We began and have continued only in their heart language. That means the process has been slow … and rich.

It started in 2008, when I did Discovery Bible Study with women from several churches in the region where my husband and I served, north of Rome. The next year those women continued to practice their DBS skills on James and 1 John while I had Walking with Christ translated. That year, DBS was launched in a church on the coast of Tuscany. We went through Walking with Christ over the next two years, jokingly saying we were “crawling” with Christ. We met only once a month, so it took longer than usual. Slow simmering.

Then in 2011, Corrie McCann, who was serving in Italy at the time, and an Italian woman* also in full-time ministry, traveled to Switzerland to take Entrust’s Facilitating Relational Learning module in English. Now I was no longer alone in Italy! We talked about plans for the future. Our Italian sister had many contacts all over Italy due to her work, which was super helpful.

In 2013, we held FRL in the Milan area with 14 participants and the three of us — Corrie, our Italian sister and me – as facilitators. The next year, we tried to hold a split intensive (two long weekends) but that model didn’t work for our women. So, we didn’t hold a training in 2014.

Since 2015, we have had trainings every fall. This year in Milan, five women will take Entrust’s fourth and final women’s ministry core training module, Equipping Women to Serve. They represent five churches in four regions of Italy. One of them was in my original DBS group back in 2008 and two of the five were in our first FRL in 2013.

We have held trainings in Naples since 2017, initiated by Debbie Suits, who grew up in Naples and has many contacts there. Our Italian sister from the north of Italy has also been instrumental in the Naples training. We held FRL in Naples this October, with seven participants from three churches, facilitated by me, Paula (who took FRL in the north and multiplied it in her church), and two brand-new Italian facilitators who live in Naples.

Here in Italy, this equipping ministry is called Donne Pronte per Servire (Women Ready to Serve), which makes better sense in Italian than Women-to-Women Ministry Training.

The process has taken seven years for some of our women, even 12 years for one, but it is an enculturated formational process. The courses are all in their heart language and the 3 ½-day schedule fits the culture. It has been a slow process, but like a good Italian pasta sauce, simmering over a low flame for a long time, it’s gained a deep, rich flavor. Italian WWMT training has its own unique flavor, and it’s delicious!

*Name withheld due to nature of her international ministry

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