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Zach Baliva

My Story

I was born and raised in Illinois and attended a church where I learned stories from the Bible. Around age 15, I grew frustrated and unsatisfied by my faith. While I knew some Bible stories, I felt something significant was missing. I found that missing piece when I finally heard a clear explanation of the gospel from people who practiced authentic prayer and lived out their faith in community. I understood that a personal relationship with Christ was available to me, and I started following Him in a more meaningful way.

I studied filmmaking at Columbia College in Chicago, where I met my wife, Naomi. We moved to California, and I worked at Warner Brothers supporting the producers of ER and the West Wing. After a series of personal hardships, we started re-evaluating life and sensed God calling us to something else.

Naomi, who served in the US Navy in Italy, started investigating missions, and we eventually served with a church planting team in Rome from 2011-2013. During that time, I developed a passion for sharing Christ with the Italians I was meeting who, like me, knew something about the Bible but had never fully grasped the problem of sin, the message of salvation, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as our mediator and savior.

That experience changed our lives as we saw the deep need for the gospel among Italians, refugees, and human trafficking victims. We returned to the US in 2013, but our desire to reach Italy with the gospel never left. We joined TEAM in 2018 to work with their ministry initiatives in Northern Italy.


Family:

Naomi, Anthony 2/10/10

Ministry Focus:

We work to equip Italians to bring the gospel to Italy, and we do that by supporting Italian pastors, discipling believers, planting churches, and living authentic lives in a community that attracts others. We're also looking to produce mainstream film projects with redemptive themes and much-needed Italian language video and media content for use in churches and study groups.

The People:

Very few Italians attend church more than three times a year, including for weddings and funerals. Most have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel.

Primary Prayer Request:

Many are surprised to learn that Italy is hard soil and bringing the gospel to Italians takes time. Pray for perseverance and opportunity. Pray for more workers, and for American churches to catch the vision for church planting in Europe.

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