Archive for December, 2007

Still in Sicily

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

We are about half way through our time in Sicily, and with visits to family, friends and church (plus the usual end of year activities) we have had just two free nights so far, and maybe just one more for the rest of our stay. So in that respect it is not too much different from when I am at Trento! But it is a good rest, just going out to be with people rather than having to constantly prepare and lead Bible studies, and Pinuccia is getting pampered by her mother. Stefania enjoys playing with all her cousins, and everyone enjoys holding Daniele. Daniele has also had the first tooth come out today – it must be something to do with Sicily, because the first time that Stefania came here she had one tooth come out whilst on the plane and four more during her stay here.

In Sicily

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

We have arrived in Sicily, although we did not make arrive on Saturday as I was hoping, but we were three hours late at 2am on Sunday. This was mostly due to the ferry to Sicily being more than two hours later for no visible reason. The most interesting part of the trip was however just after midnight, when we had got half way across Sicily. I was feeling a bit drowsy, so Pinuccia took over the driving. Daniele was overdue for a feed but was fast asleep, so we decided to let him sleep and hope to arrive before he woke up. But five minutes after Pinuccia started driving, he woke up hungry and started to cry, and at the same time it started snowing. Reasonably hard, but the main problem was the wind was blowing it horizontal directly into the windscreen, and visibility was practically zero. So Pinuccia had to drive a fair bit before we could find an exit to stop for a while and give Daniele somewhere to eat. My that time I was quite awake after trying to soothe Daniele and help Pinuccia, so I took over the driving, and five minutes after we restarted it stopped snowing. Pinuccia gets all the fun! The irony is that it hasn’t snowed for two years at Trento, which is in the Alps; we come to “sunny” Sicily and it immediately starts snowing!

Leaving

Friday, December 14th, 2007

I have finished my public work for the year (although their is still a lot of administrative and computer work to do yet), and today we are busy finishing things up and packing. Tomorrow we leave for Sicily, and it will be a very long day – we leave at 1am, and should get to Salerno (just south of Naples) around 11am, depending upon how many stops we have to make. Then we put the car on the ferry and leave at 12.30 for an eight hour sea trip, arriving at Messina on the corner of Sicily. Once off the boat, there are another three hours by car to Pinuccia’s parents place. So we should arrive, just, on the same day we leave. With most of the driving taking place at night, we hope that the children will sleep then, and then can move around during the day on the boat (whilst I will try to sleep a bit, if possible). It will be an interesting trip, especially as both Stefania and Daniele have colds, so no one in the house has slept much in the last three days. Anyway, we will be away for about 3 weeks, so I will be in reduced blogging mode for a while.

Dinners

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

As a have often said, can’t have a meeting in Italy without eating, and so that has been big on the agenda in the last couple of days at our house. On Saturday night there were 13 here for the second combined meeting of the young adults and teenagers (plus three more who turned up so late that everyone else had left by the time they arrived, but they ended up sleeping here the night). Then on Monday night there was a cell group dinner – only 10 this time, so we could even sit around the table. All the preparations for those evenings (especially cleaning the house twice) kept us busy; not we can start thinking about leaving for Sicily, where we will be going on Saturday.

Lots of events to pray for this weekend

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

It’s Thursday, so I’ve finished my three Bible studies for the week. Although tonight it is Pinuccia’s turn to go out, as she will be going to a church leaders’ training meeting, and I get to look after the children and put them to bed.

Saturday is a public holiday here, but it will be a very busy weekend for the church. On Friday there is another bookstall, in one of the shopping centres. It is the last of the four that were planned in this period, but since the one at Rovereto went so well we will do another one there on January 6. Then on Saturday afternoon/evening there is the second combined young adults and youth group meeting, this time at our place – we will see how many people we can squeeze into the lounge room for games, pizzas and a film. During the day, the children of the church will be baking biscuits at the house of one of the church members in the Valsugana valley, and the biscuits will be sold the following week to raise money for a Christian school in India that the children support. But we will have to miss that (despite the fact that Pinuccia is responsible for the ministry of the Sunday School), as we will be too busy preparing for the youth. There is also a Christian Arts Festival at Pescara in southern Italy on the weekend, where one of the elders of the church will be giving a talk on “Creactivity and Christianity” as well as being a part of the jury. Another church member who is interested in the arts (especially photography and video) as a Christian will be going with him.

Then on Monday night there is the end of year dinner (not pizzas this time!) and film with the Monday night cell group. It was supposed to be at the house of another member of the group, but as she will be busy organising the biscuit baking in Pinuccia’s absence on Saturday, and her husband is the elder who will be away for the weekend at the Arts Festival, she is too busy to prepare for the dinner. So it will be at our house again, which means two dinner and films in three days here, so we will be kept busy as well.

Bookstall and Youth Group

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

My shift at the bookstall on Saturday morning went well – after almost two hours of not much happening at all (since it was still too early in the morning to have many people pass by), the last half an hour saw three interested people come to the stall to talk and take literature, including one who had just started reading the Bible a couple of weeks ago but hadn’t understood much of it so far. Pray that these people will indeed come to one of the church meetings, as they said they would. It was good to do the shift with the person that was converted last year after watching “The Da Vinci Code” with one of the cell groups. It was his first bookstall, and then in the shift after ours there were some of the people in the new young adults’ group who manned the store for the first time. There was a lot of enthusiasm for this form of public witness amongst them, which is good because some of the “older” generation, that have been doing bookstalls for a decade or two, are a bit less keen to dedicate the time to it now.

Then in the afternoon we had the teenagers at our house, where I led the last study of the year for the group. Next Saturday there is the second combined teenagers and young adults meeting – everyone at our house for games, a pizza, a video and then discussion. Pray for that meeting. The following Saturday will we be going to Sicily, then there is a pause for Christmas and New Year, and we will restart on January 12th.