Diane Bustamante and her husband, Ben, serve as missionaries to Italy. She recently sat with us to tell us about their ministry and all the exciting things God is doing through them in Europe.
COGWM: What is your background before missions?
Diane: The Lord delivered me from drinking, drugs, and so many other things. I fell in love with Him and went to Christ for the Nations just to find out more about Him. That’s where I heard the call to go to Italy. Ben was pastoring in the Philippines even as a teenager. He went to Italy for work and then the Lord opened the door for him to pastor there.
COGWM: How did you become involved in missions?
Diane: I was going to Christ for the Nations and someone got up and said they were going to take a missions trip to Italy. I felt an immediate prompting of the Spirit to go and was there for three and a half years as a single missionary working with the Assembly of God in Rome. Ben was in Italy working and working as a pastor in Milan to Filipino people who were living there.
COGWM: Tell us about your ministry.
Diane: We’ve been instrumental in planting six churches in Italy. We both preach, disciple, and train up workers. We start out in houses and they grow into churches. We evangelize on the streets. Prayer is the focus in the breaking of ground for the new works.
COGWM: What unique challenge does your ministry context present?
Diane: The harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few. The challenge is always to find workers who will partner with us in starting a new work. Italy is steeped in Catholicism, but the presence of God manifesting in our midst breaks down the walls of religion and brings these people into the realization that they are in need of a relationship with God.
COGWM: Tell us a favorite story of something that has happened in your ministry.
Diane: We had a family in Brescia that opened their home up for a Bible study. We saw a picture of their son Joel (who was in a bathing suit and looked like a lady). We asked who this was and she hung her head and said “my son.” He was second runner-up in Miss Gay Philippines. We told her we would pray for him and she said “please.” He came in while we were there one night and we invited him to join us. He did. He got saved and not too long after that filled with the Holy Spirit. He would come in the church and not really talk to anyone. He would read his Bible. He knew something had happened to him. He got his hair cut like a man but still had the breast implants. He asked if he could be on the worship team. God had blessed him with a great voice and we said “yes.” It wasn’t too long after that that he made a prayer request to get the money to have the breast implants removed. We told the church in Milan and everyone knew him and the money was raised in about three minutes. He is now happily married with a son and has led worship for quite a while now. A trophy of God’s grace!
Freddy came in our church drunk and living with a lady. He got saved and filled with the Spirit. He was instantly delivered. He met with us along with his live-in and said they didn’t want to ruin the church because of the sin they were living in. They asked if we wanted them to leave. We told them, “Of course not—just live separately until you can get married.” They obeyed immediately and did not live in sin for the next few months until they could get legally married. They both had a voracious appetite for the things of God and grew quickly. They now pastor the church in Milan and are doing an excellent work. Another trophy of God’s grace!
COGWM: What are some of the greatest needs where you serve?
Diane: The greatest need for the ministry in Italy is souls to be reached with the gospel. We need the convicting and convincing power of the Holy Spirit present, so people will see it’s not about religion, but about an intimate relationship with a God who loves them and cares for them. We need people to join us in prayer that will break yokes and pull down strongholds and see captives go free.
To learn more about the Bustamantes’ ministry and to partner with them, visit their profile page.