Today's #MemberCrushMonday is a little bit different, as it is actually a farewell ("Addio!") to our founding member Joel Fritz! He wrote us a letter explaining his departure, so read on to learn where they are going and how you can partner with them!
As you may have heard, the Fritz Family is headed to Italy...like, [right now]! Ay, yay, yay! We’re not talking a vacation there, but at least a year devoted to creatively expanding God’s kingdom. Where exactly? Manfredonia! (don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it...no one in Rome has either!) Located in the Puglia region of Southeast Italy, it’s a small city of 60,000 people that doesn’t make the tourist maps. So, with a home we just remodeled in 2017, 7 1⁄2 years pastoring at Living Streams, a rad Crossfit gym and community, 3 years in Real Estate with the Orchard Group and beloved friendships, why on earth would we uproot?
In a word, obedience. In more words, check out our website at fritz5.com.
Kristen and I recognize there are a lot of people in this world who have difficult lives and we just can’t stand by and watch. We are determined to live our lives loving people like Jesus has told us to, in a way that shows concern and compassion for our fellow human beings like he did when he walked among us. We seek to do this anywhere, as there are hurting people everywhere. However, this next year seems special to us. We feel Jesus prompting us to set it aside to seek out some people who need fresh perspective and maybe even a fresh start. As a result we are moving to Southern Italy.
I know, I know, Italy…anyone would love to spend some time in Italy. If the picture you have in your mind is anything like the one that was in mine in November of last year, it pretty much seemed like heaven. Of course, reality is always a little different than the perfection of our minds. After talking with my new friend Peppo, I’ve come to learn just how discouraged the young people of Southern Italy are. There are few jobs, a sixteen year recession, and tensions revolving around millions of refugees who have entered the country -- in a nutshell, a real vacuum of hope. Our friend Peppo, and his wife Jane, are seeking to change this and help some Italians find their lost hope. After praying and talking with Peppo and Jane, we have come to believe Manfredonia, Italy is a place where we can invest ourselves. So we are off to learn a new language, meet new people, and hopefully bring some beauty to some precious lives.
One last thing about us and this decision we’ve made is that we see people everywhere grasping for something to define them. People are looking for something to give them significance and meaning. They are looking for something that will allow them to feel fully alive and comfortable with who they are. I have come to believe that these desires can be realized and our biggest questions answered, but there is starting place for all of it; the words of Jesus. Every one of us is unique and will have our own set of friends, our own cause, and share specific common interests with a few groups of people (like my CrossFit people)! Yet, I would suggest what will bring meaning to all of these things is understanding God is real and he loves you.
If you are willing, please pray for us to be effective servants of God among the people of Italy.
If you are interested in getting involved with us in other ways, visit our website http://fritz5.com/support-us.
Best Things Ahead!