Archive for April, 2007

Back home

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

We got back at 11 o’clock last night, and all three of us are happy to be back in our home. It was a good week for getting to know what ECM wants to do, and to have some input in how it goes about it, and for Pinuccia to get to know better this mission that she “inherited”, although she was of course a bit limited with Stefania having to sleep in the afternoon – and her pregnancy means that Pinuccia often had to as well. Pinuccia had lots of English practice as well. She even dreamt she was speaking in English last night, and when she was speaking in French to some missionaries from there, she couldn’t remember some simple words because the English equivalent kept coming to mind.

Stefania enjoyed herself, and as usual stayed with anybody who wanted to hold her or play with her, which gave us some breaks. I could see over the week that she became a lot better at feeding herself (getting the spoon from the plate to the mouth without spilling anything); hopefully she won’t forget that now at home. She took the change in the diet in her stride as well. In fact, her Anglo-Saxon genes got a chance to show themselves, as she really loved the baked beans which are unfindable in Italy.

London Calling

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

We are here now at the conference, after a couple of days of tourism and a day to find a place to log on to the wireless network here. Amongst other things, we managed to do a long work around the Westminster area the first afternoon, then the National Gallery and the British Museum on Friday, and on Saturday the Portobello market at Notting Hill (which is also the name of one of Pinuccia’s favourite films). At the Gallery there was an exhibition of impressionist painters (Pinuccia’s favourites), and just as we passed by a band in Covent Garden they started playing our song. So Pinuccia certainly enjoyed herself, and even said that she might have liked London even more than Paris, which for her is a big compliment. We did have quite a few rest breaks for her, and all the stroller pushing in the fine English sun meant Stefania got a few good naps, so she was very well behaved considering the lack of her usual environment and meals. We found a childrens’ playground in St James’ Park, so every day we went there which kept her happy as well. The other highlight for Pinuccia was seeing squirrels all through the park – she had never seen one before and thought they were cute.

So now it is to work at the conference, although today was fairly easy (probably because it is Sunday) – even though the two hour soccer match was hard going on us missionaries who are all getting on a bit in years! There is a two year old boy for Stefania to play with, and during the meetings someone looks after the two of them. Or at least Stefania – she played happily with a stranger for two 90 minute sessions, whilst the boy did not last so long. Keep praying that Stefania will have a good time here, and that Pinuccia and I will learn and be able to contribute during our time here.

To England!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

In a couple of hours (Thursday morning) we will all be leaving to go to England. There is an ECM leadership training and consultation meeting from Saturday until the following Friday, and we decided to have a couple of days of tourism at London first, as Pinuccia has never seen it, and it is a late anniversary present to ourselves. It will be an interesting time… I’ll have to slow down my usual rapid pace and shorten my long days when a tourist, remembering to look after Stefania as well – and with Pinuccia almost six months pregnant now, she is not as quick as she used to be, and does get tired during the day. Then at the training, I usually find meetings that go from 9am to 9pm for a week tiring, but Pinuccia will have to put up with them in English – which means that I will be translating most of the time. There should be someone to look after Stefania (and a few other children who will be present), but we will have to see how much is practical for us to follow. So pray for this week, especially that Pinuccia will benefit from the training and feel more a part of ECM as a result.

A new record

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

The good weather has definitely arrived now – it is about 30 degrees today, so the band had to find protection under a tree in order to play at a concert this afternoon at the market day of a small town attached to Lavis. I find that usually when the weather improves, the attendance at church improves as well. In fact today there was the largest number of adult non guests we have ever had at a service, 65, which is a big increase on what was our previous record (59). And an even bigger increase on the average attendance when I arrived at Trento 14 years ago (13, one fifth as much). Apart from the good weather, it was also due to a few new couples who have started coming regularly to church in the last few weeks. Pray that they will quickly feel a part of the congregation.

Celebrations

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Yesterday Stefania had half a birthday (18 months old), whilst the day before was our third anniversary. There wasn’t much celebrating of the anniversary, as I spent from noon onwards with a headache, vomiting and sleeping. But our main celebration of the anniversary will in any case be next week, when we will be spending a couple of days at London – more on that later. Being sick also meant I couldn’t go to the cell group leaders’ meeting, which is one of the main training meetings I lead (and which had been brought forward because it was due to be held whilst we were in England). With this week the Monday cell group not meeting because of the Easter holiday, and the free Thursday I get every two months, it means that I am home in the evening quite a lot, which Pinuccia is certainly happy about.

Easter happenings

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I have just come back from our Easter service – a few people were away for the weekend, and I missed the sermon because it was my turn to look after Stefania, but it was a good time there. As is traditional/cultural here, we are spending the long weekend with various friends – on Friday night a friend came for dinner and to play with Stefania, then another friend came on Saturday night to stay for a couple of days, and on Monday we will be going to a lake in the mountains with various friends from church for a picnic.

Yesterday there was also a bookstall in town – we find it works better not having it on the town market day, as although there are a lot less people that pass by, not having the crowds (and hundreds of other stalls) actually makes people more likely to stop. So when I did the 9-11am shift, there were a few people that stopped to talk and look – there was most interest in the children’s Bibles we have. A couple of my friends from the band that I know very well (I played the organ at their wedding, and they have a daughter two months older than Stefania) passed by also, so it was a great opportunity for them to see me there with lots of Bibles.

Study at Rovereto

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Last night there was the study at Rovereto – the first time in quite a while, because usually they are every second week anyway, and lately people have been sick, or away, or studying for an exam. Even yesterday there was a couple missing because they had gone to visit family for Easter, but the rest where there and it was a good meeting together. It was especially so for the other couple, who haven’t been seen since Christmas, and we were able to encourage them to persevere in the problems that they have had. The study that we did (2Corinzi 4:16-5:10) was perfect as an answer to their discouragement.

I’m back!

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

You may have noticed that the site (and hence also this blog) have been down for more than a week. This was because the site exceeded its bandwidth limit for the month, which was Google’s fault for spidering more than 15Gb of content in 22 days (although it is true that there is a lot of content on the site for a search engine to index). I have now banned Google from entering some parts of my site, so hopefully it won’t happen again.

In the meantime, Stefania has got her first childhood disease, with red spots breaking out all over her body yesterday evening. The doctor said it is similar to roseola – the hand, feet and mouth syndrome to be precise – but it is not as serious. Stefania anyway seems to have a very mild case of it; there should have been a fever, loss of appetite and other symptoms before the spots, but instead she is just as well and happy as always.

There is one urgent prayer point for this week. An English donor of the mission gave some money for radio work in Italy. So another missionary (who works with radio) has produced a series of 30 second advertisements, which will be aired on some commercial stations in all of our region and in Lombardy (the region around Milan, where the other missionary works). They will offer various books, CDs and DVDs, many with an Easter theme. Here, there will be seven ads every day (four from 8 to 12am and three from 5 to 8pm) on the principal regional radio station. Pray for those who will be listening, that they will be interested in getting further information on the themes the ads talk about.