Twins

October 20th, 2014

Luca (2210g, on the right of the photos) and Mattia (2185g) were born today at 4pm Italian time. They are a bit small, since they were born a month before the due date – there were not any real problems, just a belly getting too large for Pinuccia to carry. They are still getting used to the new environment and need help breathing, so they are still in an incubator, and will remain there until they don’t need it any more, whenever that might be.  Pinuccia saw them for only a minute after the birth, but when she has recovered a bit more she will be able to go and see them, as they have been moved to another section of the hospital.

Love Pakistan Day

October 5th, 2014

The regular monthly after church lunch was a special one today, with the international group cooking for everybody, instead of the usual bring and share lunch. The point was that everybody made a donation for the food, with the proceeds going towards helping the several refugees from Pakistan that there are in our church. As well as the eating, there was also the opportunity to hear their story, although by that stage Pinuccia had reached her energy limit, and we went home. But it was great to see the Pakistan people beaming as they found a way to serve the church, distributing their food for us.

More baptisms

September 29th, 2014

It was another wonderful afternoon on Sunday, with four baptisms from the church at Trento. This time we went to a park next to a lake, where there was lots of space to mingle with the others and celebrate this time together. In fact there were more than 100 adults, from Trento, the church at Rovereto, a lot of Africans as one of the people baptised is from there, as well as other Christians from around the province and friends and relatives. It was also great that it was the day that the missionary pastor until 1998, and who was my mentor as a young missionary at Trento, visited the church. We could remember all of God’s work in the church over the decades, as we looked forward to the new life in these people as well.

This week Pinuccia spent three days at the hospital. Not because there were any problems, in fact she felt worse after the stay there than before, since sleeping was even harder in a ward with new born babies and women in labour. Instead, the time in hospital was for some more serious check-ups and treatments. The conclusion was that she and the children are still a lot better than they should be, given the size of the belly, so the doctors decided to not even bother with next week’s check-up, but to wait until at least the 9th before dong anything.

That's 32.5 weeks

That's 32.5 weeks

Normal and special

September 22nd, 2014

The usual activities are getting back to normal, with the first Sunday School lesson last week and the first Bible study this week. At the same time, there are some important events in the church coming up, especially next Sunday afternoon the baptism of four people, who are courageously going to the lake – the water will not be too warm!

Similarly, the family is returning to a rhythm, with school having started, and the after school activities (modern dance, music, and theatre for Stefania; handball and chess for Daniele) starting up in this period. Also there is of course another special event, with Pinuccia having some treatments this week to get prepared for the birth, which could be in early October. Almost there.

New Year

September 8th, 2014

In the northern hemisphere, the summer is in the middle of the year, and in September we get back to the normal life. This week is the big week for restarting. School starts on Wednesday for Stefania and Daniele, which means the Sunday School as well on the 14th. Yesterday we started the signing up process for the small groups in the church, and the ones I am involved in will be starting next week or the one after. Back to our regular programming. Although it will not be so normal for us this year, as at the check-up last week Pinuccia and the twins were all well, but Pinuccia is getting rather big (especially with respect to her usual size). So the doctor is thinking of bringing the birth forward a couple of weeks, sometime between the 19th and October 12th. We are getting close.

Pray, Prepare, Program

August 31st, 2014

Our time at the Italian prayer days went well. Firstly as a family – Pinuccia actually felt better there then when she is at home – and secondly as a mission, with a good time of sharing each others’ joys (of which there had been quite a few lately amongst the missionaries) and burdens. The other good news was that as we were in the car, 5 minutes before arriving, Pinuccia got a phone call offering her a few different full-time jobs. We were not expecting it, as usually so gets offered a job later on, being a bit down the list. Usually Pinuccia does not want a full-time job, to leave time for the family and the church, but this year the full-time job will come in handy, as she does not intend to work and will receive a percentage of the pay of the job she accepted whilst she is on maternity leave.

With only a week and a half left of the three months of school holidays, it is time to start thinking about the restart of the church activities. This week I have two meetings to prepare the Sunday School, one with all the teachers (that Pinuccia runs – she will be on maternity leave from the Sunday School as well this year, but will continue to organise it) and one for the three teachers of my class. I will also be working on getting people to enrol in the small groups, which we will be presenting in a new way this year.

My iPhone/iPad Bible app continues to be downloadable, after the initial spurt when it was released a couple of weeks ago, at a rate of about 15-20 copies per day. A couple of days I sent out the third public version, with various improvements. It was good to think, whilst enjoying the fellowship at the prayer days, that I was continuing to distribute God’s Word to Italians, a copy every 90 minutes. And that was just for the iPhone or iPad; there are also the Windows, Mac and Android versions to add to that.

Prayer days

August 24th, 2014

Tomorrow we will be attempting our only trip away during this anomalous summer vacation, although it won’t be for a holiday. We will be going to Desenzano, a town on the southern shore of Lake Garda about 1.5 hours from here, for four days for a time of prayer for the Italian missionaries of ECM. Pray that it will be a time of refreshment and mutual encouragement for all the missionaries. Pray also that we as a family will be able to cope – it is always a challenge to keep Stefania and Daniele (who are the only children present) happy during all the meetings and prayer times for the adults, and this year Pinuccia has limited mobility and energy levels as well.

Computer milestones

August 3rd, 2014

The summer is usually when I get a lot more done in my computer ministry, since the church and mission commitments are greatly reduced. In fact, in the past two weeks I have managed to finish or reached a milestone in four of my projects. It was a bit of a coincidence that I reached a significant point in all of them at almost the same time, but it was satisfying to be able to wrap them up in this way. The highlights:

1. I finished all my comments on the historical books in my “Hard Passages of the Bible” text. This started out as my answers to common questions I receive on the Bible, so that I did have to keep writing the same thing to different people, but expanded to become answers to all of the most difficult Bible passages. I only have the Pentateuch to do now, but in the mean time the 250 answers that I have written so far in 268 pages are available on-line and as a PDF at http://www.laparola.net/brani/ , and as a commentary in my Bible programs for Windows and Android.

2. Working with a publishing house, I published their translation of an almost 10,000 page commentary on the entire Bible for my Android program. This is the fourth commentary I have distributed for them. Naturally, all the money for the sales goes to the publishing house.

3. Finally, the first version of my program for iPhone and iPad is on the App Store (search for ‘laparola’). This has been very much requested, and with the help of a church in Italy that bought me a Mac Mini and another person that paid the subscription fee to Apple to put an app on the App Store. The program is still being tested, so has not been officially announced, but I’m sure many Italians will be happy when it is released. Since the version of the program for Macintosh is closely related to the iOS version (there is a lot of code in common), I also found and fixed some problems in the Macintosh program and released a new version this week – the first version of the Macintosh program on the App Store.

Baptisms

July 20th, 2014

It was a wonderful afternoon at the baptismal service at Rovereto today, the first in that church. Firstly to hear the testimonies of the two people who were baptised, the elder’s teenage daughter (that Pinuccia and I saw a lot over the years in the Sunday School, the Youth Group, and the camps), and a man converted in the last 18 months in which he has been attending the church at Rovereto. Two very different people, with different stories, but the same witness to God’s free gift to them, not based on what they had done. It was also a great time together for the two churches at Trento and Rovereto, in their diversity. There was the Pakistan group with the Africans, the teenagers with the young adults, even a Russian family who had come to visit their son who is studying at Trento. For many, it was the first time we had seen each other for a few months or even a year, as each church continues their ministry in their own town. But despite the separation, there has always been the commitment to each other and to the gospel in the whole province of Trento, which made the picking up of the relationships easy.

Camp and baptisms

July 13th, 2014

The seventh church children’s camp finished today. I went to the camp today and the first day to help with the transport and the preparation and finishing, but also all day on Wednesday to organise some activities. One was dong the filming to create a video of the participants dancing to the song “Happy”, as is the fashion these days. Another was an evening of Extreme Sports, of which my personal favourite was Extreme Ironing (which really does exist, it is on Wikipedia!) – the children were very imaginative in finding extreme ways to iron my shirt. I have not had much of a chance to speak with the leaders about how it went, although I could sense a great feeling amongst the participants whilst I was there, and heard the Bible being explained and discussed well.

This week’s main event is the first ever baptisms at the Rovereto church, which will be taking place next Sunday afternoon. It will be great to be able to rejoice with the church for how God has been building his kingdom through the ministry of the congregation.