SMG is enthusiastic to announce our 12th ministry partner and planter of Matt & Barbara Schvaneveldt. Matt & Barbara began serving in Italia in the year 2000 and began the TRE Trieste church which is now pastored by our partners Elio & Nicoletta Vannelli. Matt & Barbara have 3 wonderful children (2 boys and 1 girl) who are now teenagers (and almost a teen with their 3rd child). In 2015, the Schvaneveldts returned to Montana, USA where Matt served as an associate pastor for 3 years. Then, in 2018, they returned to the field of Trieste where they have been serving for the last 3 years as an elder in the church and an international school administrator (and Barbara as a teacher) for their employment.
As the Lord works, He continued to give Matt a burden over the past couple of years to enter more full-time ministry again to utilize his pastoral gifts. Sure enough, in June 2021 a new church body formed in the city of Udine, Italy which was without a pastor. After visiting the church (which is about an hour's drive from where Matt & Barbara currently live) and speaking with their leaders over the course of the Summer, Matt sensed that this was a very good fit for what the Lord had been burdening him to do for so long. So, Matt has taken the pastoral position of Chiesa Forte Rocca (Strong Rock Church) which is the name the congregation chose for their new ministry.
Matt's desire is to shepherd the new ministry on a part-time basis for the next 7 months until his full-time work contract is complete in June 2022. At that point, Matt would like to move to an official part-time pastorate of the church and to continue to teach another year part-time while raising more support to go full-time a year or two later.
Matt is no stranger to Serenissima as we have had a long-time friendship and collaboration together. So, entering this new ministry and needing assistance, consultation, and to raise new support, joining SMG was a very good and natural fit for all of us.
Indeed, this is one of the benefits of the ministry group. At least 5 other pastors from our team are going to assist Matt with the workload during these coming months until he is able to have more capacity for the ministry. Additionally, the pastors are desiring to do the same for pastor Elio in Trieste as Matt will be less available to help there as an elder in the church. Through shared resources and assistance, we are beginning to cover more and more of the state of Friuli in northeast Italy.
The simple answer is don't worry about it. Just call them the "Shvans" or "Matt & Barbara" or "hey you, Montana guy!" Be aware that some have risked injury trying to pronounce it correctly.
Obviously, Schvaneveldt is not an original Italian name, but Barbara is an Italian sister, born and raised near the area of Milano -- and that is their Italian connection.
We are so glad you asked. We have established a giving page which you can find here at this link -- https://smgi.org/give-udine
Additionally, if you are a registered member, you can also follow their updates and prayer requests here on our site and pray for them, too.