Archive for October, 2007

Reformation Sunday

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Today was Reformation Sunday (the Sunday before the anniversary of the day in which Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door), and is our custom we had a special service. This year it is particularly special in Italy, as it is also the 400th anniversary of an Italian translation of the Bible, which has been used throughout the history of the evangelical church in Italy and of which one of the revisions is still the main translation used. About 50 people from a church at Vicenza came to visit us for the day. Since we have been getting record attendances lately (more than 60 adults, plus the many children) and often our usual hall is not large enough just for us, let alone almost twice the number (which is why getting our own hall is becoming a pressing problem), we moved to a local theatre for the service. After lunch together, there was a two hour historical tour of the city, with an emphasis on the places of the Counter Reformation. As the city of the Council of Trent which blocked the Reformation in Italy and many other countries of the world, Reformation Sunday has a special meaning here.

A couple of highlights

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

A couple of highlights from the last few days. One was the first combined Young Adults and Youth Group meeting, which was also the first “Youth Retreat”. There were nine from the Young Adults group and three of the teenagers, plus a few leaders, and we met from 1 to 7pm for lunch (can’t have a meeting in Italy without food!), a discussion about a Linkin Park video clip, a Bible study, a few games and lots of fun. Personally, it was good to see the teenagers about to mix with other Christians just a bit older than them – and they said they appreciated the opportunity as well. And I enjoyed myself as well; it brought back many happy memories of such meetings when I was a young.

The other was a meeting on “Education and the Christian Faith”, which one of the church members (who is a paedologist by profession) gave as part of the series of monthly meetings of training and theological study that the church does. What she said was good and useful (especially for an apprentice in child rearing like me!), but it was also good to see someone reflecting on the impact of their faith on their profession, and to see someone using their profession in the church.

Back to normal

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

It is back to normal programming now, after being quite busy in the last few days. On Monday the whole family went to Desenzano, an hour and a half south of here, for a meeting with the other ECM missionaries in Italy. We got back at 7pm, and a bit more an hour later I was out again for a cell group. At least my mother had dinner waiting for us when we got back. On Tuesday afternoon the five of us squeezed into the car and went to Bolzano for a look around (it is a charming Austrian city, that happens to be in Italy). Once again we got back about 7pm, but with no dinner waiting and I had to leave before 8pm to go to the group at Rovereto, so it was even more of a rush. Then on Wednesday we took Daniele to the pediatrician (only for a check up, because he had his first vaccination the day after, and for the normal 3 month check up) and then my mother to the train station as she returned home to Australia. And then in the evening a Bible study again. But now I have an evening off, and no other important commitments, so I can both relax and work a bit more.

Still two

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Today Stefania had her birthday party with her friends of the same age. At least that was the idea, but two of them came down sick, and although one of the mothers did come (whom I have known for many years in both bands I have played in), only one almost two year old could come (the daughter of my ex-flat mate). So a bit like in Jesus’ parable, we had a quick ring around a couple of hours beforehand, and invited some children from the church who are a few years older than Stefania and that she likes to play with. So it ended up being a great time together, even though I would have liked to have had more opportunities to be friends with the people of Lavis who were not able to come.
Stefania at her party 2 years old

Today was also mission day in the Sunday School, where they are supporting a Christian school in India. So Pinuccia dressed up (more or less) as an Indian and told a story about some Indian children, whilst the other teachers encouraged the children in other ways to help the children in this school. I of course missed it, looking after Stefania and Daniele in the service, but Pinuccia told me it went very well.
Pinuccia dressed as an Indian teaching the Sunday School

There are two special events to pray for this week. Tomorrow (Monday) the whole family goes to Desenzano on the southern shore of Lake Garda, for a day together with the other ECM missionaries in Italy to encourage each other and to do some organizzation. On Saturday there will be the first combined meeting of the Young Adults’ and Teenagers’ Groups. We hope to meet together every two months, and it should be a big help for the teenagers who usually meet at our place to get to know better other Christians not quite of their own age, but at least relatively close. It will actually be quite a long meeting (from 1pm to 7pm), with lunch, a study, and sport and games together.

Two today

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Today we give thanks for the first two years of Stefania’s life. Today we will celebrate in our extended family (since my mother and brother are still here), and on Sunday there will be a small party for some of her friends of the same age. Stefania has in fact been receiving gifts for the last 10 days, as she does not understand that today is a special day anyway, and that way she could enjoy a gift for a couple of days before the next one arrived. As I write, so is absorbed in her farm Duplo set.

Apart from that, as well as the usual two studies I lead on Tuesday and Wednesday, on Monday I also did the study (which I don’t usually do). There will in fact be the complete set this week, as I have to prepare the Bible study for the teenagers on Saturday as well. But tonight is a night of, so we get to go out to eat a pizza to celebrate Stefania’s birth, and also to say goodbye to my brother who leaves tomorrow.

More family, and a lot more at church

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

There has of course been more time with the family in the last few days, although on the weekend it was also mixed with some of my other normal commitments. On Saturday the Youth Group had its usual monthly social event, which happened to be cooking. So when we got around to planning it and realised my mother would be here, we decided to advertise that there would be an internationally renowned cook to help. So the teenagers made a pavlova, which certainly went down well at the lunch after church today, even though no-one else had ever seen one before. This afternoon there was also a small concert by the band with a few marches to accompany a ceremony here, so my mother and brother got a chance to hear us play and see me in my handsome uniform.

For the second week in a row, and only the third time ever, there were over sixty adult regulars in church today – plus (lots of) children and visitors. This creates a big problem with the hall we are using, as it is very hard to find room for all to sit down, and the lunch after the service was hard to do as well. So keep praying that we can get over the few hurdles remaining in order to have our own meeting place.

With the family

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

My brother and mother arrived on Tuesday afternoon, although since the first half of the week is when I do all my Bible studies I was not able to do that much with them. But since my mother knows the area well now after lots of visits, she has been able to show my brother around a bit. Now that I have a few days in which I am a bit freer, I will be able to stay at home or go out with them a bit more.