Calvary Chapel Montebelluna was started in the summer of 1996 at the request of one believer who was at that time driving to another city to go to church being that there was no non-Catholic church in the city of Montebelluna. He came into contact with the Calvary Chapel bible college in Millstatt Austria and began asking them if they would pray about sending down someone to start a bible study. After much insistence a couple of guys from the bible college decided to come down to Montebelluna for the summer to “ see what the Lord would do” they began a bible study in the main park of Montebelluna and after a few weeks met a young woman who eagerly received the “ Good News” and gave her life to Christ.
As the summer came to an end they had the difficult decision of staying in Italy or returning to Austria to fulfill their obligations at the bible college. Neither of them felt the Lord was leading them to make that permanent commitment to Italy but on the other hand they didn’t want to abandon these two “sheep”. So along with Frank Ippolito (who at that time was director of the bible college) the decision was made to commute every weekend down to Montebelluna and begin praying that God would send a pastor for these two “sheep”.
At the same time in the United States, Craig Quam along with his wife Silvana and daughter Abigail were living in Southern California. Craig was working as a carpenter at The C.C. bible college in Murrieta, CA. and at the same time attending the Bible College in Vista Ca. Craig and Silvana had already been missionaries in Italy for a number of years and were fervently praying that God would give them clear direction on whether they were to return to Italy or stay and minister in the United States.
One morning as Craig was praying before heading off to bible college he prayed and asked the Lord to give someone at school a word of Prophecy or some how speak to him so he And Silvana might know for sure what God was calling them to do. As the morning went by nothing special seemed to be happening, Craig’s last class that day was a missions class and that morning a lady missionary from Hungary was sharing some of her experiences on the mission field. As she sat down And the teacher came to the podium to thank her for coming, Craig thought to himself “this is my last class today and no word from the Lord” in that same moment the missionary stood up and asked the teacher if she could share just one more thing. She rose and said to the class “ I really feel that the Lord has given me a word for somebody in this class and it’s Deuteronomy 8 ” As Craig flipped through his bible to that passage his eyes fell upon these words in verses 7-10
“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; V.8 “a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey V. 9 “a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. V.10 “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you”.
In this Passage God is obviously referring to the land of Israel but for Craig and Silvana it couldn’t have been a better description of Italy also a land of “ Vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” As time passed and still no door seemed to be opening for them to return to Italy they both began to wonder if they had really heard from God or not.
Around the same time all this was going on a couple who were friends of Craig and Silvana from the church in Vista had gone to Europe on their vacation and ended up spending a few days at the Castle in Austria. In their conversation Frank Ippolito shared about how they had started a bible study in Italy but were praying that God would send someone to carry on the work in Montebelluna. This couple immediately recognized the hand of the Lord in their meeting and shared with Frank how they knew a couple in California that spoke Italian and were praying about coming to start a Calvary in Italy.
Back in California as Craig had gone to work at the bible college Silvana had decided to dedicate the whole morning to prayer seeking God’s direction for their lives and at 6:30am the next morning they were awaken by the phone ringing. At the other end of the line was Frank Ippolito asking Craig if he would consider coming to Italy to Pastor the “ two sheep” in Montebelluna. Craig and Silvana’s hearts were filled with joy as they saw God’s hand so clearly evident in all that was happening. When Frank asked how soon they would be able to come Craig’s mind pondered the meager 50$ in their bank account and told Frank “The Lord will have to move some big mountains for us to come back to Europe.” Within 4 months the Lord had miraculously provided over 5000$ and in October 1996 Craig and Silvana with little Abigail arrived in Italy.
In the beginning the church met in a building owned by the city that was a barn- storage type building converted to a meeting hall. The small flock continued to grow and in the Summer of 1997 had the joy of Baptizing two new believers at a lake in the nearby Dolomite Mountains