Every July, we like to send a personal and family update because, one, having these types of updates every month could take away from the ministry vision, and two, because many of you asked!
Jenn and I are doing well in so many ways! This last year, we’ve gotten more involved at our local church. I’m helping with the worship team on guitar and vocals, and Jenn is directing the Sunday School ministry. It’s a joy to be part of such a Christ-centered, diverse church in Jersey City.
As for the kids, both our boys graduated in June! Gianluca (5 going on 6) finished Kindergarten. He was one of two Autistic kids to have graduated. He doesn’t get off during the summer, though. All of July, Gianluca will work hard in a self-contained class for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He also gets private speech and occupational therapies every week. This last year has been a pretty significant one! Although he can’t have conversations typical of others his age, he does use basic sentences or phrases, he transitions a little easier and his focus has improved. While he still is highly self-directed and requires much attention, we’re so thankful to God for his growth.
Gabriel (4-years-old) graduated from pre-k 3, his first year in school! With such a big heart and an outgoing personality, he loved socializing and learning very much. Regularly he would ask: “Did you know [insert point from school lesson here]?” Of course most of the time, we didn’t know, but that wouldn’t stop him. Also, back in the fall, Gabriel professed faith in Christ! In fact, his prayer that night was: “Jesus, thank you for saving me. I pray you would save all the people. Amen.” We were ecstatic!
Also, we are in the home stretch for baby # 3. If you didn’t catch the update, it’s a girl! Lana Isabel Sforza is due July 28th. It has been the most difficult pregnancy for Jenn, with lots of aches and pain. But we’re super excited to welcome our girl. Pray we adjust well and continue being effective parents who point our kids to Jesus in every way.
One lesson we’re currently learning comes from Philippians 4:11-13. Learning contentment is difficult on both ends, for if things are going well, you may wrongly turn away from Christ, thinking you don’t need Him. Conversely, if things go wrong, you may wish to blame the Lord. The challenge and opportunity is seeing Jesus as your treasure in it all, no matter what.
Very practically, a circumstance keeps teaching us this lesson. Back in October, we were supposed to close on a home in Jersey City but delays have continued since. We’re going through a non-profit that fixes up homes in urban communities and sells them at lower rates to first-time, low-income homebuyers. It’s an incredible opportunity that will keep things affordable for our growing family. But the non-profit kept hitting different obstacles because of the rehab. In December, we had to move in with family significantly further north in Jersey (still using old address thanks to gracious landlords).
We’ve been here since, praying, waiting and practically arranging our lives around this reality. Everything is further away. Both boys’ schools are in Jersey City, so every morning and afternoon we’ve needed to drive the 1-2 hours back and forth. Most of our campuses or staff meetings are further. And Jenn has gotten more and more pregnant. Thankfully, we have loving family who are the best hosts, but the challenges continue as we wait for updates on the latest delays. Please pray we keep Christ our treasure in this season, and for the rest of the work to be done quickly!
Thank you for praying for us as a family. We need and feel it! We pray you have a great summer!