July 19th, 2015
Now that the family chicken pox epidemic has ended, we have come out of our quarantine and started doing some more interesting things. On Saturday there was a wonderful lunch with the extended family, and on Sunday a trip to Newcastle to catch up with friends there. Since it is 27 years since I lived there, there are not a lot of people I know left, but it is great that the friendships continue even though we see each other so rarely. There is a solid base of lives lived together almost three decades ago that does not go away. I did feel a bit out of place, as we caught up on what has been happening, which for the others was often children finishing school or university or getting married or having children. We are a long way from getting to that stage of life!
This week, we are finally able to do some holidaying, and some things that the children want to do rather than what the parents want/have to do. So there are a few visits to parks and museums booked. On Wednesday it is Pinuccia’s turn to speak, with a talk at a women’s meeting. Always difficult for her in English! Then on Saturday it is time to pack and move again, as we will be spending 10 days in Canberra visiting two churches and various friends (let me know if you would like to see us during the week sometime), as well as doing a bit of tourism.
July 12th, 2015
I had a wonderful weekend in Melbourne, returning to my Italian roots – eating Italian food, giving and getting lots of kisses, having Italian coffee, going to visit someone in the afternoon and ending up staying for an impromptu dinner for 10. It was good also to see Pinuccia’s cousin again, with his new family. And also to talk about God’s work in Italy in one of the few Italian churches left. But it was also great to return home and be greeted by smiles from the twins when I walked in the door, even if they soon turned to two simultaneous cries of combined hunger and tiredness.
Pinuccia did not have quite such a good time with the children… She survived looking after them, with help from some friends for which we are very grateful. But just after I left at midday on Friday, Daniele got a fever, and on Saturday morning he had spots from the chicken pox that he had caught from Stefania. And a couple of hours later Luca and Mattia came down with chicken pox as well, which is not the best thing at 8 months old. This despite everybody being vaccinated. So we have cancelled our “social” and tourist appointments for this week. I have a prayer meeting to go to tomorrow and a couple of talks to give at a Bible college on Tuesday, and then I will finally get three free days – probably free only to do some nursing, but at least free from other commitments.
July 4th, 2015
We are at the end of our theoretical rest period at the beginning of our time in Australia. “Theoretical”, because looking after the family is still more than a full-time job here as well, so there has been little time for resting or doing other things we enjoy to have a break. At least I got over the jet lag faster than on previous trips to Australia. We all still have bouts of tiredness, but it is hard to distinguish the effects of jet lag from the effects of two eight month olds. And in Stefania’s case, also the effects of the chicken pox that she came down with immediately after arriving. Daniele on the other hand crossed off one item on his life’s bucket list: not only did he see Colin Buchanan live in concert, but he sang with him on the stage. Daniele was terribly excited by it, whereas Stefania coped quite well with the disappointment of missing out due to her illness. We have also packed and unpacked for the second time in a week, and tomorrow pack again, this time for four days of prayer with the mission, which is the start of our official meetings. We get back to Sydney on Thursday, and on Friday I will be going to Melbourne for the weekend. This is an unexpected opportunity for me, and if any of my Melbourne friends want to see me I’ll be speaking at the Italian church in 196 Blackburn Road, Syndal on Friday night (in English) and Sunday morning (in Italian), or we could arrange to meet sometime on Saturday. Pray also for Pinuccia during the three days I am away – it is hard to look after the house and family when we are both at home, and impossible when one of us is away.
June 16th, 2015
Just a week before we leave for Australia, and the panic is starting to come as we try to get everything ready in time, especially with four children at home (the summer school holidays started last week). The program for our stay is coming together, but there is still time to if you would like to see us (or your group or church). For those out of Sydney, there will be two opportunities:
1. Newcastle: We will be there on July 19, and present at an afternoon tea from 2pm to 5pm (come for as long as you are able) at Catherine Hollier’s place, 32 Elder St Lambton. It will be great to have a reunion of all the people from Newcastle from those days – if you know of anybody else near Newcastle that knows me, invite them along as well. For catering purposes, let me know if you are coming.
2. Canberra: We will be there from July 26 to August 2, visiting Crossroads Church on the first day and Dickson Baptist on the last day. During the week in between we will be free to see people, let me know if you are interested in meeting up some time.
June 1st, 2015
Pinuccia was not in the top 10% of the candidates, so will not be going on to the next phase of the exams for a permanent teaching position. So we have closed that phase of our life, and another has opened up: we have finally been able to decide to come to Australia and make plans. In fact, I have just booked the tickets, and we will be arriving on June 25 and leaving on August 17. So we are looking forward to seeing many of you in that time! We already have some bookings for various churches, but if you would like to see us or visit your group, please let me know. In the meantime, we are still looking for 2 cots, strollers, and high chairs, and car seats for the children that need them. If you can help, get in contact with us.
One little highlight from yesterday: Although we did not explicitly encourage people to invite children not from the churches of Trento and Rovereto to the children’s camp last month, to keep it small and simple to begin with, one of the children did invite a friend from school. The friend seemed to enjoy herself and fitted in. In fact, she came to church and Sunday School yesterday, so it was great to see her and see the work of the camp continuing.
May 14th, 2015
This Saturday there is another major event of the church: a festival in the part of the town where the church hall is. We have participated in the past as well, and are well enough known that we work closely with the organisers, rather than just organising our own events independently. So in the afternoon Pinuccia is organising games in the square together with two other associations, then everyone comes to the church hall for afternoon tea. The church is also hosting an open discussion on the theme of building bridges (the theme of the festival), a photographic exhibition on the same theme, some fund raising for Nepal, and an ethnic aperitif. Lots of different people with lots of different gifts are involved in this; pray for our witness through all these activities.
May 4th, 2015
We all arrived safely at home after the children’s camp, which was in itself an achievement. Daniele managed to get hit three times in the same place on his face, by a frisbee, by a chair, and by another children, but there was no lasting damage. Outwardly, it went well, with just the usual conflicts between children, that often gave better opportunities for teaching that the formal lessons did. It is of course harder to say what was going on inwardly, but we trust God that he will bring out the fruit of this camp over the next 70 or so years of their lives. The children certainly enjoyed themselves and are already looking forward to next year. Their major complaint about the camp was that it was too short! Pinuccia managed to survive with the twins as well, and even managed to take them outside once, even though it was a major undertaking for her by herself. So thanks again for your prayers for this weekend.
April 27th, 2015
Next weekend is my biggest event of the year in church, at least in terms of how much of my time I put into it. From Friday to Sunday there will be a church children’s camp that I will be leading. This is actually a “reboot” of the camp ministry. In July there will be the 8th edition of the classic series, where the participants have all become teenagers or almost by now. So we will be starting again with a new group of leaders, and with the next generation of children. We are starting small, as we did 7 years ago, with 10 children (including Stefania and Daniele) and only 3 days, and the idea is to grow in number and length over the coming years. You could pray for this camp, for the children and for the leaders. Pray also for the half of the family that will stay at home. It will be our children’s first time sleeping away from their mother, although it will probably be harder for Pinuccia to cope with than for them. Looking after Luca and Mattia by herself will not be easy either.
The family highlight this week was getting back the results of Daniele’s radiography. His spine, which 18 months ago was quite badly both bent and twisted, now shows no sign of problems. So he will be having a break from his back brace that he has been wearing for more than a year, at least until August when he will have his next check up. Since it is very uncomfortable to wear in summer, it was good timing. We are very thankful to God for this unexpected development.
April 20th, 2015
Yesterday afternoon the church was present at the festival of Lavis, doing craft work with children. It was not an explicitly evangelistic event, but was more to make ourselves known to prepare for future events. But for us from Lavis, it was a good opportunity to talk with people we know as they passed by, and explain who we are, what we are doing and why. At least, it was for Pinuccia. I was kept busy taking Stefania and Daniele around to the other activities, and accepting lots of compliments for the twins.
April 14th, 2015
Kids Club, the church’s evangelistic program for children, has taken on a new emphasis lately, concentrating on Lavis, a town of 9000 people that is next to Trento, and where we and a disproportionate number of church members live. At the moment they are getting themselves known, having done an Easter Egg hunt in a park a few weeks ago, and next Sunday there will be a bigger event. There will be a festival in the town, where Kids Club will be running some craft activities for children in the main square of the town, together with other associations. A lot of the children of the town will be around for the afternoon. Since we know a lot of families through Stefania and Daniele, and Luca and Mattia have made us rather famous as well, it will be a good opportunity for us to explain to our friends who we are and what we are doing. Or at least it will be for Pinuccia, who will be doing the craft, whilst I look after our children. The town council is very happy for us to be doing this, and future activities, so it is good to have their support as well.