Andrew was last in Milan as a teenager. His mother had arranged the trip as a gift. A few months earlier, he had experienced a dramatic encounter with God. After this spiritual experience, Andrew dropped out of college against his mother’s wishes. He was soon to go into the military and be sent to Vietnam. This trip to Europe was her attempt to connect her son to the larger context of human history seen in the art and architecture of the birthplace of Western Civilization. She was a school teacher, and Milan was another stop on her educational tour for Andrew.
But young Andrew was in another zone, not of this world. He was unimpressed with history, art, and architecture. The wonders he saw in Europe paled in comparison to the sense of God’s presence that he felt. Following his mother’s itinerary, they passed through the main cities of Italy, including Milan. As he travelled, his heart was not drawn to the buildings but to the people. He felt stirred with God’s heart of compassion for the people of Italy. He prayed that one day he would be able to return and share God’s unconditional love and grace with them.
As our team arrived in Milan for a series of meetings, Andrew suddenly realized that God had used his supporting partners to answer his teenaged prayer. On the opening night, he encouraged his audience by telling the story of his first trip to their city. “God places godly desires in our hearts when we seek Him, even as young people,” he said. “He will fulfill those desires, even if it takes the better part of a lifetime to see it.” After once again reviewing the splendor of Milan earlier that day, he said to the people, “You know, I wasn’t impressed with the art and architecture of Milan as a teenager, and I’m not impressed now. I'm much more excited about the purposes God wants to fulfill in your heart tonight.”
On his final day in the city, Andrew ministered an exhausting four times. Each time he was accompanied by his Italian translator. English is not comfortably spoken by the vast majority of Italians. The day began with a Gospel Truth session. Immediately afterward, at a pastor’s luncheon he challenged the preachers on the scriptural admonition to make disciples, rather than converts. The pastors received this challenge with heartfelt agreement. Then he was rushed to the Italian TBN television studios to do a program translated into Italian with the local host. He had less than two hours to prepare for the final evening of the Gospel Truth Seminar. By the time he finished ministering that night it was 11:30pm. All that remained was to rise early the next morning and head for the airport and a loooong day of flying back to Colorado.