This eulogy was delivered at the joint funeral service of Steve and Patti Gray.
Steve and Patti Gray. Pastor Steve and Patti. Momma Patti and Daddy Steve. Mom and Dad. Nonno and Nonna. For all of the different names that people knew them by, they were almost always said together. They were born in the same year, and the Lord chose to allow them to go to their eternal reward together as well.
They were both born in 1953. Patti April 7, Steve November 9. Steve was born on a US military base in Germany, and Patti was born in California. On April 25, 1976 they were married and started their lives together.
They have three children who are now all married with families of their own: Chris and Kim Gray of Springfield, Mo USA, Nicholas and Rachel Gray of Padova Italy, and Alicia and Neemias Cortes of Padova Italy. All together they had 7 grandchildren, two in America and five in Italy.
In 1986 they left America to go to Italy to work with Teen Challenge at the women’s center in Piemonte. After serving there for two years, they moved to Rome to help start an English language international Church in the Italian capital. Steve was the assistant pastor, and Patti organized the activities for the children and youth. She also started an English language primary school.
After 12 years of serving in Rome, they felt the Lord leading them to go to Padova in 1998 to plant another English language International church. For over 18 years they poured all of who they were into that church. They saw the church grow from a few people, to over two hundred. They regularly had people from over 20 nations represented, but in the course of their lives, only the Lord knows how many people and how many countries were touched and influenced by Steve and Patti. They helped the church purchase its own building, and were looking into finding other facilities because they had outgrown the building they were in.
Many of us here could tell stories about Steve and Patti. How they touched our lives and made a positive influence on us. The many things we learned from them. All of us that knew them however would agree that their main goal and passion in life was to share Jesus with as many people as possible. Italians and foreigners, in English or Italian, it didn’t matter.
They were planning and expecting to one day in the not so distant future retire and stay in Italy. Italy is where their hearts and lives have been for the last 30 years. They were not expecting anything like this to happen, none of us were. But one thing is for sure, they were confident about their future: maybe not their future here in this life, but their eternal future.
Today they are in the presence of their Savior.
When we were planning for this service we asked their children if there was a favorite bible verse that their parents had. One that Steve often quoted during his messages is printed in your program. After several decades of loving Jesus with all of their heart, all of their mind, and all of their soul, and working to grow his the Kingdom of God to the best of their ability, Sunday, December 18, they finally heard the words that they longed to hear. “Well done my good and faithful servants, come and share in your master’s happiness.”