In Christ, all things new

Posted on February 28, 2012 by VMMissions Staff

Along the course of my life I committed many errors, often in good faith, as I lived to fulfill my personal needs according to worldly models. I didn’t realize that those errors had a specific name: SIN.

Being completely unaware of the importance of marriage in God’s eyes and ignorant of His precious teachings, my marriage at a very young age soon proved to be a tragic mistake. After escaping that trap of anguish, I began pursuing what I still hadn’t found: love, understanding, acceptance, security. But this feverish search only caused more suffering, as I fell into the hands of those who at first seemed the “prince charming” I longed for. But every relationship left me more and more disappointed because none could fill the emptiness that grew ever greater inside of me.

During that period, my sister was converted to Christ. Knowing how much I needed Him, she shared the wonders He could do in my life. I refused to listen, thinking that following Jesus meant renouncing the attractive things I was running after. In my blindness I thought, how could a God I couldn’t see, meet my needs when none of the “real” persons I knew and could see, were able to do so? In my disillusionment, however, I saw no light, no hope; death seemed the only way of escape. One day in my weariness I challenged God, “If you’re a God of love, give me a way out of this labyrinth. I can’t on my own!”

Soon thereafter, I met Emanuele. As we talked together, he shared his faith in God. This special man soon won my heart with his simplicity and awakened the desire to know the God that was constantly on his lips. I knew that God was responding to my challenge! He was opening a new chapter in which I found forgiveness for my past and new life with Emanuele, but above all, with Jesus. But this relationship full of hopes and plans didn’t end as expected. Emanuele was suddenly called to be with Jesus, leaving me with greater pain than any of the past, only this time I was not alone. Jesus gave courage, strength, dignity and meaning to that painful loss. Most of all, He gave me hope beyond death, of seeing Emanuele again, of eternity in fullness of joy and peace.

God used this grief to reach the hearts of Emanuele’s family. Through my witness, his mother and brothers came to faith. Together we experience comfort and radical transformation in Jesus! He re-established my life and brought Salvo across my path, my wonderful husband with whom I share my faith and service for God. Both of us have had many obstacles to overcome, but Jesus is in the midst of every battle, healing us, opening new horizons and a fresh vision of life. It’s marvelous to understand that with God on our side, we aren’t victims of adverse circumstances. The most precious thing I can have is Jesus, the Eternal God who valued me more than His very life, who forgives and loves me, considers me special as the apple of His eye, a steadfast, faithful God who’ll never let me down. In Him my security rests and my empty places filled.

Simona & Salvo Lombardo (also Emanuele’s mother and brothers) are active members at Shalom Mennonite Church, Palermo, Sicily. They gladly share their faith at every opportunity; Salvo assists in preaching. Pino & Rosanna Arena are their pastors/mentors.

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