Scott & Sharon MacLean
Serving with Crossworld in the Ossola Valleys of Northern Italy
** -Updated 09/11/2017
Geography & Location
Italy is a southern European country, particularly well known because of its unusual "boot" shape, protruding into the Mediterranean Sea. Three majestic mountain ranges mark her land surface; the Alps to the northwest, the Dolomites to the northeast, and the Apennines which run the length of the peninsula. Both the Mediterranean and Adriatic coastlines are famous for their breath-taking beauty. Due to the mountain ranges and the effects of long coastlines, the climate varies greatly from the humid, cooler, generally overcast weather of the north to the clear skies, hotter sun and Mediterranean breezes of the south, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Italians trace their roots to the ancient Roman Empire and beyond. In spite of her long history, most of the Italian peninsula has been united under one king since 1861. Though by tradition Italy is Roman Catholic, in practice it is a materialistic-humanistic society.
Culture & Economy
The economy differs greatly between the north and south. Northern Italy is one of the most advanced and modern industrial areas of western Europe with the majority of industry centered in the cities of Milan, Turin, and Genoa. Southern Italy suffers from lack of hydroelectric power, fertile soils and natural gas deposits. The average income in the south is about 1/2 of that in the north. Italy is perhaps best known for its contributions to the development of the fine arts and architecture. Even today, Milan is the home of prestigious universities, La Scala opera house, various art treasures, such as Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper", and rivals Paris as leader of the fashion world.
Though each area of Italy has its own dialect, the Tuscan version of Italian is the official language taught in schools.
Italian children ages 6-14, are required to attend school, after which they can choose between a 5-year "high school" or a vocational school.
Crossworld's (formerly UFM) History in Italy
The work of UFM in Italy began in 1974 under the leadership of a couple who had been serving in central Italy for almost twenty years. They were soon joined by another family who had been working in France. From the beginning, UFM designated the province of the major commercial city of the North, Milan, as its target zone for church planting. There were just a few small evangelical brethren churches in Milan at that time.
The initial outreach was aimed at creating "walk-in" churches - a church that could reach out to its own neighborhood (and there were - and still are - many neighborhoods in Milan without a church), without "competing" with the brethren churches which were already in other zones of the city. As additional families joined the church-planting team in Milan, various zones (with no church) were identified within the city where UFM teams would focus their church-planting efforts. Our aim is still to plant churches that will reach out to their neighborhoods with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Local evangelical churches are now growing in five different zones of the city of Milan and in a nearby town. Due to the international importance of the city, each of the evangelical churches has many nationalities represented in its membership.
In the fall of 2005 Crossworld missionaries joined with a team of Italians to plant a church in the city of Domodossola (northwest of Milan - see map). Crossworlders are also working with small churches in the cities of Sesto Calende and Bergamo (each about 40 miles from Milan).
Evangelism / Discipleship
Present Field Needs