Steve and Patti Gray touched thousands over their lifetime and left their mark on many of them. The Gray’s dedication to the Great Commission fueled their passion for reaching Italians and internationals living in Italy.
Below are thoughts about Steve and Patti from several colleagues and friends who knew them, worked with them and loved them.
AGWM Executive Director
“Steve and Patti Gray were some of the finest missionaries I have had the privilege of knowing. One outstanding characteristic that impressed me personally was their attitude of service. They were also passionate, tenacious, excellent in the language, and culturally sensitive and relevant. They were deeply committed to God, each other, their family, and the Church. They were committed to team, and they were committed to AGWM and the FEIC.
Although we will never fully know all the circumstances surrounding their tragic departure, we can be assured, as the narrative points out, of their commitment to each other. I miss them. We miss them. The church misses them. We trust that God will use this tragedy to further His kingdom even as we continue to pray for their family.”
Regional Director, Europe
“As I think about Steve and Patti the words, faithful, loyal, passionate and focused are the obvious terms that are clear to everyone who has known them. Their work ethic was extraordinary and diligence to complete the task before them was exemplary. But what I will miss about my friend Steve is his affirming smile and willingness to listen. I will miss Patti’s thoughtful responses that reflected authenticity in every way. I will miss them both personally and we all miss their impact on the Kingdom here on earth. I celebrate that the Kingdom in heaven is already benefiting from their presence there.”
Larry Henderson and Tony Ibarra
Directors of the Fellowship of European International Churches
“Our unexpected loss of Steve and Patti deeply impacts all of our FEIC family. They were great pastors, leaders, servants; but most of all they were our friends. Steve and Patti modeled servanthood, sacrifice and faithfulness as IC pastors and church planters. We all have said how only heaven will tell the full story of the lives we’ve touched but over the last few weeks we are witnesses to the imprint they left on so many. We’re reminded that Hebrews 13:7 tells us to remember our leaders who spoke the Word of God to us, consider the outcome of their life and imitate their faith. Although we miss them greatly, we choose to imitate their faith. “
Vice-President, Convoy of Hope International
Former Director of the Fellowship of European International Churches
“When we met Steve and Patti in 1986, they were working with Teen Challenge in the northern part of Italy.
Patti told a story about a time when she was in Italy traveling while in university. She was standing near the train station near Piazza Republica in Rome and had a vision of Steve preaching to people in English as if they understood him.
That dream was awakened inside of them and grew. Within two years of our meeting they came to Rome to join us in planning International Christian Fellowship of Rome.
In 1992, ICF Rome moved into the facilities of St. Paul’s Anglican church – which is located very near the train station and Piazza Republica that appeared in Patti’s vision!
Steve and Patti were unbelievably hospitable. They always had room for another. Our friend Chuck Stecker remember that the first day he attended ICF Rome, the Grays invited him to have lunch with them after the service.
The Grays also had deep spiritual sensitivity. Steve had an incredible gift of being able to discern what God wanted to do in people’s lives at specific moments and he used that gift to encourage many.
And Steve and Patti were servants to the core – tireless in the things they would do.
For example, Steve was at ICF Rome every Sunday morning to set up and tear down the equipment. And Patti organized and ran a weeks-long Vacation Bible School for the children of their neighborhood in Padova, reaching into many homes with the gospel.
Steve and Patti came not only came to the earth the same year, but they left this earth the same year. Their passing will always be remembered as one day too soon and one pain too many.
Matt and Marissa Barker
Missionary Colleagues, ICF Padova
“Steve and Patti we consumed with passion for Italy and reaching the internationals here. They had such hearts for discipleship and training people up in the Lord. We’ve learned so much from them in the spiritual warfare aspect that will continue to help us in our ministry to come. I believe their life scripture was ‘run the race’… and that they heard ‘well done my good and faithful servants.’
They were like parents and grandparents to everyone. Their phones were always on. You could count on Steve to wake up in the night and answer his phone and help out. They loved people genuinely. We will always have a piece of Steve and Patti in our ministry to come. We loved them, even though they were my parents age, we couldn’t help but feel as if they had that grandparent quality in our lives.”
Missionary Colleague and Interim Pastor of ICF Padova
Steve and Patti Gray, pastors of the International Christian Fellowship in Padua, Italy were called home to receive their reward by our Heavenly Father. On Saturday evening, 17 December they had a group of folks over for pizza in their stone oven in their back yard. The friends left about 8.30.
Sometime after midnight they were awaked by a fire in their home. Steve ran down stairs and out the front door, opened his car, leaned on the horn to awaken neighbors who called the fire department. As he returned to into the house to go back upstairs for Patti who had not followed him, he was overtaken by the fumes. If became a five alarm fire. Patti was found in bed asphyxiated.
They lived in a very modest place, just a few hundred yards from the historic Villa Pisani between Padua and Venice. Their house was one of many converted stables of the villa converted into small two floor row homes. They had just finished some renovations. The exact cause of the fire is unknown but said to be related most likely to an electrical short circuit.
Steve and Patti will be greatly missed by the church and in their neighborhood. Their testimony was strong and effective. They were known and dearly loved for their warmth and friendliness, bragged about by neighbors, and recorded in most of the local newspapers. The news was even carried on television by the national network, RAI.
The Grays had come to Italy over 30 years ago and raised their children raised. They began by working with Teen Challenge for a short time. They then moved to Rome where helped Terry and Ruthanne Hoggard begin the first ICF in Italy.
God planted the vision for ICF Padova. They moved there beginning with a few immigrant families, and with their vision and the direction of the Holy Spirit it has grown through the years with peaks of 200 people from over 20 nations.
Their vision and dedication was incredible and what they planted remains. In the church they were known as Pastor Steve and Mommy Patti! They are greatly missed but their fruit will remain.
Pastor, Living Word Christian Center
“If I had to describe Steve and Patti with one word it would be: “loyalty” because they were known for sticking closer than a brother. They were also known for their love and passion for the church that they pastored, for their family and for their friends. They were real pastors with a simple love for people and for God. More than anybody we know, they have applied the “extra mile” principle that Jesus has taught. They would always do more that they were required even if it meant sacrifice.
The last time we were together, it was in Hong Kong last April. Steve was so happy to be a part of the launching of the Global Network of International Churches. During the conference time, we spent several evenings together, laughing, dreaming about the future, talking about the encounter weekends he was having with his church and hoping that they would both come and organize one of those weekends with us in Switzerland.
We thank God for these wonderful ministers of the Gospel. They left us so unexpectedly, but they will never leave our hearts and memories. Although they are now in the glory with the Lord, the fruit of their ministry will last, as they leave behind them a thriving church and ministry. May we all follow them in their spirit of sacrifice, in their faith and courage for the spreading of the Gospel.
Thanks also to the US Assemblies of God for sending them as missionaries to our beloved Europe. Our old continent needs thousands of dedicated missionaries like Steve and Patti who will change the world with the simplicity of the Gospel, with their love and compassion for the lost. They both were among the many missionaries that affected our lives and we will forever be thankful to God for sending them our way. We pray that more people would follow them as well in starting international churches in Europe and around the world.
Although the world is more and more like a big village, millions of people are lost with no friends, no relationships, no joy and no hope. As they look for friendship and meaning, our international churches become a harbor of peace and hope to them. Steve and Patti dedicated their lives for the international church movement and mainly our FEIC fellowship. Long ago, they had discovered that the New Testament Church was interethnic, international and intergenerational. One of their greatest desires was to see lonely people from all walks of life and from all nationalities to come and enter their church and meet the Lord Jesus Christ.