Saved in order to do good
For Pino Manganiello and his wife, Gabriella Multari, who are based in Italy, their missionary journey has been defined and guided by Paul’s message In Titus 3:8, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
Living out this scripture led to a missionary trip to Albania and gave them a cross cultural experience that fundamentally changed their perspective. Pino recalls, “We saw the need of that nation and felt a calling to be there. Cross cultural missions totally transformed my perspective about the world. I understood that the privilege of Western societies must not be wasted but used to support and raise awareness and commitment for the people of less fortunate countries to build a fairer society.”
The inspiration of Luke 12:48 and the lifting of a nation
If you’ve been around church for any length of time, you’ve most likely heard this phrase, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48).” This has influenced the foundation of Pino’s long term view on missionary work, “The privileges that we have as people who live in the richer part of the world, should not be taken for granted, as individuals and as nations we have a moral, social and Christian duty to work with a long-term vision. Working for the single person means to work for all the people of a country.”
Pino shares, “It’s impossible to describe the pleasure of seeing the smile on the face of a person who discovers that this month he will be able to eat every day, or that of a child for whom education has been paid, but although these are the classic examples that describe missionary work, this is not the only reason a missionary is called.” Pino adds, “It must be noted that the missionary does not engage in the sole spiritual support of a nation, but it is also a fundamental pillar (called by God) for the democratic future of any country.”
Pino’s philosophy is that by supporting the troubled and poorly cared for persons, the missionary contributes to the formation of a country which will no longer be characterized by inequality and instability. He notes, “It will become a strong, stable and democratic body. When I say democracy I’m not talking about a particular political stance, rather a simple observance of the correlation between missionary work and a well-functioning country. The missionary supports the people who consequently manage or build the government, which in turn should take care of the people who established it.” When missionaries focus on training other disciples and ensuring their well-being, this contributes to the stability of individuals. It gives hope that one day, these same individuals may be in the position to make decisions to govern the country and its citizens. Pino says, “When we look at states as a body, just as God sees the Church as body, the missionary has the task of empowering the members of that body and of healing where there are wounds or diseases.”
How a heart for children paved the way for a clinic
Their favorite part of ministry is to work with children. Seeing hope and joy on a child’s face fills their hearts. Pino and Gabriella believe that when we care for children, we are building the foundation of what we would like to see in the future. They began working with the leaders of a church in Albania and expressed their desire to focus on the children through Sunday school teaching and providing support to their families. The Joy House project was born. They began traveling back and forth from Italy to Albania to start up different children’s projects expanding the Sunday School and children’s ministry, summer camps, Christmas events, and more. Their ultimate goal is to develop this ministry by acquiring a facility that could also host a Christian kindergarten.
Through the mission, God used a child suffering the deformity of the spine known as “humpback.” With Albania’s health system already lacking trust and transparency, it can be difficult for people to trust medical reports and have assurance on a correct diagnosis. The parents asked Pino to have orthopedic doctors in Italy review the medical exams to see if corrective actions could be made. He recalls sadly, “The doctor told me that the problem had to be fixed during pediatric age and that unfortunately it was too late to intervene. It broke my heart to see the tears of the child’s mother when I gave her the bad news.” This experience gave them a desire to start a health service in Albania.
The idea of pursuing and fundraising for a healthcare project felt overwhelming, despite how much their hearts wanted it. But God had already chosen someone to be an instrument of blessing. An elderly gentleman they had never met before, approached them during a fundraising event and inquired whether the mission had any healthcare projects. They were stunned. Pino says, “The elderly gentleman knew nothing of what we had in our hearts and of the conversations we had about this, but God knew. He said he had a contact who wanted to fund a health care project.” God had provided and paved the way for a donation to construct a small clinic and shipments of humanitarian aid, along with providing medical equipment
The clinic became one of the best health care facilities in Shkoder, Albania and continues to serve as God’s light by treating the whole person.
We are all on the same team
Among the many victories, there were lessons too. Pino shares, “God has taught me the importance about not just the mission per se but also about the relationships among other missionaries. The two are intertwined and must work fluently at the same pace in order to provide the excellence to God and to the people we serve.” Pino Manganiello has always believed in the power of teamwork and considers it one of the major keys to success in ministry. The work of salvation is more effectively accomplished when members of full-time missionaries come together as a unified tool in the hand of the Lord. He says, “We depend on God and without Him we can do nothing, but this does not exclude the need to depend on the close collaborations with other missionaries as well. What I am not able to do or cannot do, someone else will, but if we do not cultivate and invest in our relationships, we will never discover the spiritual and practical benefit we can obtain from them. Mission is not only about achieving the success of the various projects, rather it is about understanding that no one is more important, as we depend on each other as the various parts of the human body do.”
“Sharing with other missionaries our experiences and listening to theirs, allows both sides to learn. Sharing about our faith, our battles and victories adds value to our mission and above all, it doesn’t make us feel alone. Lastly it builds us up, when we discover the importance of other’s roles on the mission field.”
It is only ironic that a project called No More Alone. The project was a collaboration with a Christian association that served to support families with a disabled person. On a missionary trip to Albania, the association had sent its collaborators to accompany Pino on visits to these families, “It seems trivial, but while we were completely clumsy and almost without being able to find the right words to encourage them, our friends were instead relaxed and I would say almost at home… then, their presence was more precious than ours, their words more useful than ours. In short, they were more capable than us. All this to say that outside helpers can be more useful than ourselves in our own mission.” Later, the project of distance adoption of a disabled person was born and currently nine families are being supported!”
Pino closes with what gives him inspiration for ministry work, “We are well aware of God, as he promised, He is with us every day. This awareness drives us to do as much as we can with an incredible sense of positivity and peace in our hearts.”
Learn more about Pino Manganiello and Gabriella Multari’s ministry: