Archive for December, 2006

New Year in bed

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

There isn’t much to report this week: with all the church and band activities having a break, we have instead being doing things with my parents. At least until a couple of days ago – first my Dad got a cold, then my Mum, and last night Stefania and I. Quite a nasty one too, I haven’t felt so bad for years. Pinuccia is doing a great job as nurse to us all. So there’ll be no celebrating for us tonight. The church will be having a dinner together, but we’ll all be going to sleep early here.

Auguri

Monday, December 25th, 2006

For my Australian readers Christmas is past by now, but here it is still going, although we are into the rest and winding down stage now. My activities started on Christmas Eve afternoon, when the band played at the local retirement home, then did a march through town with a hundred people following and the fire brigade giving light, ending up with a few carols in one of the town squares. Two and a half hours outside in the cold was hard going, but it was appreciated by the populace. My parents took some good photos, but they are still on their camera, so you’ll have to wait until my next newsletter to see them.

Then there were a couple of hours at home to get changed and have dinner, before going to the church Christmas Eve service. There were about half the people that usually come to a service, as many were away visiting family and a few were sick, but it was a good time, especially as the children read some of the prayers that they had written for the occasional.

For Christmas Day lunch, as well as my parents we kept the family tradition going (which means it was the third time), and invited the family-less people we knew as well. It was a good time together, but the highlight was Stefania starting to walk whilst we ate, taking quite a few steps by herself to get around. Although now that she has had a nap and woken up again, it seems that she has forgotten how to walk again!

Time for a break

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Yesterday I had my last study before the Christmas-New Year break, which lasts until January 8. It is a bit longer than the usual two weeks, since I didn’t have anything on Thursday and Friday anyway, and the day that everything in Italy usually restarts (the 7th, the day after Epiphany, or as they call it in Italy the Befana (an ugly old lady who brings gifts or pieces of coal, depending upon your goodness during the year)) is a Sunday this time. Pinuccia as well finishes school, and her contract, today – the teacher she is substituting returns tomorrow for the last day of school so that she gets paid for the holidays. You could pray for another good job for Pinuccia when school restarts on the 8th.

The main thing we will be doing during the break is hospitality, because my parents arrive this afternoon for a couple of weeks with us (but mainly with Stefania!). Pray for a good time together.

Another busy week-end

Monday, December 18th, 2006

…at least from Saturday afternoon, when the Youth Group met at our house. Gloria spoke on her mission trip to Senegal in October. In fact, there was a bit of a mission emphasis for the weekend, as she also spoke at the Sunday School during church, and there was a visit from Open Doors at the service as well. After the Youth Group we quickly fed Stefania and then went out to a pizza and film night with the Monday cell group – partly as an end of year activity, partly so that those who hadn’t seen the film Luther could see it, before we invite our friends to see it with us on January 20th. Then on Sunday morning there was of course the church service, then soon after lunch I went back to Trento to do a shift at the book stall that the church was holding in the city centre, where many passed doing their Christmas shopping or visiting the Christmas markets. I had a few interested people in my two hours there, including an English Christian student studying at the university for a year. Then it was back home for an hour and a half for dinner and to get changed, before leaving for the band’s Christmas concert. Being a small town, it is a smaller concert than that of Trento (maybe 200 people, out of a population of less than 8000 for the town and its surrounding villages), but it has a more informal, friendly and joking atmosphere (including the band falling asleep during one of the pieces).

Number 2 is alive!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Ultrasound at seven and a half weeksWhen we left the hospital after Stefania’s birth, as we were saying goodbye to the gynocologist I said, “See you next year!” Well, we just made it, because Pinuccia is pregnant again, and today we went back to the hospital for the first check-up. She is currently at seven and a half weeks, and the baby is due on July 29 next year. As was the case with Stefania, Pinuccia is feeling a bit off, with a sense of nausea but with no vomiting or worse. Give thanks to God for this grace that he gave us, and pray for Pinuccia and the baby in these coming months.

This pregnancy also affects our furlough. We were due to return to Australia for a few months in the middle of next year, but it is not possible now. So we have delayed the trip, and are now planning to return in the middle of 2008. All my Australian readers will just have to wait another year to meet all my children – unless you would like to come here to visit us.

At the GBU conference

Monday, December 11th, 2006

The long weekend at the GBU [the Italian Christian student movement] conference went well. Don Carson’s talks were as good as I expected them to be. There was quite a crowd of 350 people, which is a most I have ever seen at a Christian meeting in Italy. There were many people that I knew from my time working with the GBU and that I hadn’t seen for a few years, as well as a number of missionaries that I regularly meet with for fellowship, and it was good to see them all again. Although with so many of them, the time with each of them was a bit limited.
There was also a good group from the church who went – 13 adults and five children. From what I have understood from them, they benefited a lot from the meeting – they don’t often get to hear a speaker as good, clear and deep as Carson.
It was also the first time that we have been about to leave Stefania in a crèche during a conference or church. Pinuccia said that it was too good to be true! We wondered how Stefania would cope with all this time without us, but she had a great time and didn’t complain at all when she was left with the other children. It happened that a number of the other missionaries that we see regularly have children within a few months of Stefania’s age, so I pray that they will build good relationships together as we travel around Italy for meetings.

Meetings for the mission

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

On Monday afternoon the ECM Field Ministries Director came to visit, and then on Tuesday we travelled together to Milan for the ECM-Italy Field Council meeting, so it was a good long time for talking about various ECM matters, both in Italy and in Europe. And the meeting went well discussing some issues, hearing how all the different missionaries are going, and hearing some good news from the group near Milan, that after 20 years have finally had some breakthroughs in their church planting work. To me it sounded similar to what I said about Rovereto in the previous message – the “right time” had arrived. Due to some problems with one of my trains on the way back, I got home 40 minutes later than usual, which Pinuccia was happy about – it meant I had to miss the band practice that night, so we had a bonus night together at home. Although later on in the evening another friend came to stay the night with us.

Today we will have to get ourselves packed and organised to leave at about 8.30am tomorrow morning for the conference in southern Italy. Pinuccia will be going to work as well in the afternoon, and it is her turn to go out this evening to the church’s leaders training meeting, whilst I stay home to look after Stefania and try to get her to go to sleep.

A busy Sunday, and the “right time”

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

First of all of course there was church, after which there was the usual lunch together for the first Sunday of the month. We left there a bit early for a 45 minute drive down to Arco, a town near Lake Garda, where the band marched around the Christmas markets playing a few songs and being present at a few ceremonies. Having Stefania with me certainly helped to get to know the rest of the band; a few people spoke to me for the first time, having a baby is always such a good ice breaker. Then it was 6pm by the time we got back. It is time to rest now, especially for Pinuccia, who didn’t feel too well in the two car trips (maybe I went around the corners and up and down the mountains a bit fast). I think however that I will be working tonight, finishing the preparation of the study for tomorrow night. In fact it will be a busy as week: as well as the usual commitments, tomorrow afternoon one of the ECM leaders comes to visit, then on Tuesday we will travel together to Milan for a meeting of the Italian ECM missionaries, and then on Friday the whole family will go (with 15 other people in the church) to Pescara, 600 km to the south, for a conference where Don Carson will be speaking.

Sometimes it is clear when it is just the “right time” to do something; that is how it is feeling with the work at Rovereto at the moment. This morning in church there was yet another new couple from Rovereto (she is from Peru, and arrived there this week; he has always lived there but is not a Christian). Pray that they will in fact come to the next meeting of the group (the 15th), which they were invited to, and that this group will continue to grow and one day become a new church.