Giuseppe Collesano and his team fill the local churches in Sicily to preach the word of God and teach others about salvation. This local missionary says he tries to encourage churches to be proactive throughout the whole year, not just in summer when it’s busiest. Less than two percent of the churches there help refugees learn the word of God because the economic situation is still so dire there. Giuseppe is trying to promote more involvement in churches where is it lacking throughout the rest of the year, bridging the gap between awareness and education.
“For me, (preaching the Bible) is a way of life,” says Giuseppe. That’s why he enjoys networking with different churches and even different denominations, breaking through the language barrier that is so inherent in these areas, particularly when it involves the thousands of refugees that land here every day. One way he achieves that is by inviting visitors from other countries to preach for 10 days at a time on a specific topic, such as family or tolerance. He invites teachers…pastors…doctors…whoever is willing to announce the Gospel to believers and non-believers alike. The goal is to assure everyone – regardless of religious affiliation, gender, social status, language – that they will go to heaven, bringing hope to locals and refugees who may have lost that connection a long time ago.
The goal of Act Now Ministries is to give people the tools they need to further explore the Gospel on their own. And with six million people over nine provinces making up Sicily, this is no short order! Still, Giuseppe feels a pull to the church, a need to teach others that they can read the Bible themselves rather than be told what to do. It’s an empowering tool, one that is embraced by many he has encountered over his years in service.
“You can talk from a pulpit, but you have to go to the people in everyday life, not just once a year,” says Giuseppe. As such, he relishes the opportunity to share his faith every single day rather than just on special occasions and holidays. He stresses the importance of actions, saying “Love can’t just be expressed in words.”
Refugees arrive on the shores of Sicily in droves – up to 3,000 per day in fact. When they come here, they are stripped of everything, from their clothing to their dignity. They need something to believe in, something to provide a meaningful basis for their lives as they begin anew. Giuseppe believes the Bible provides that stability, that direction, that clarity lacking in so many people’s lives.
“We have to listen to God,” says Giuseppe. “Once we do that, we can make the right decisions.” He is the first to admit he wasn’t always a believer. Once he was encouraged to read the Bible for himself, however, it all became clear. “But I didn’t know this until I read it with my own eyes.” The truth, they say, shall set you free. And that’s what Act Now Ministries strives to do.