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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Background information project Casa Shalom, Italy

Communal kitchen in Maria's house

As promised some photo's and a bit of background information about the people behind project casa Shalom in Italy. We are currently raising 5,000 euro for this Christian Therapeutic Community in the hills of Tuscany. The money will be used for the renovation and upgrading of several buildings. The community can only exist thanks to donations and the sale of produce.

This past February we visited Comunita Brezzano (as it is officially named) upon request of Maria Meier. She is the director of the work and the people. Her long time staff member and helper is Boris, a Jewish tailor from Odessa.

Staff member Boris
Boris grew up in the Ukraine, became addicted to heroine en finally decided to make aliyah to Israel. But his problems came along, it didn't take him long to find heroin in Israel. He ended up in deep trouble and asked for asylum in Canada. Again, he tried to escape his problems.

Canada did send him back to Israel and there he came in contact with messianic believers and he got to know the Jewish Messiah. Through a pastor he ended up at Maria's place in Italy where he slowly received healing of his addiction, hurts and wounds.

Living room in casa Nuova
He has been living and working there for ten years now. He works the land, prunes the trees, sheers the sheep and lives in Casa Nuova where he is like a father to the new guys that come in.

Angelo was such a guy coming in. He was totally strung out on drugs and alcohol. His addiction was not only destroying him, but also his young family. He came to Maria through the mission-work of Cristo é la Risposta. Angelo grew up in Southern Italy, in Naples, and later moved to Tuscany.

Thank God for a place like Comunita Brezzano, where he felt welcome. Through many trials and errors he is finally walking the road with God and he made a new start with his wife and children. He works part time for Maria in the community and he is an expert woodworker and carpenter.

At this moment Maria houses an abused woman from Macedonia and, again, a man from Israel. We mention this, just to show you that everyone with life controlling problems who is willing to change is welcome in Comunita Brezzano. A place where they will encounter the love of the heavenly Father.

Casa Shalom
Such small scale work often seems a drop in the ocean, yet... we met with the mother of Andrea (her only child) and to her Comunita Brezzano was an answered prayer. She got her son, who was lost, back! And that touches our heart deeply. 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...
[Mattew 25:35]