Archive for January, 2008

Records and a work week

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

This morning in church there were 70 regular adults, which easily broke our old record of 66. As well as that, there were more guests than usual, and more children as well. In fact there was another record, with five children less than seven months old, and they take up more space than an adult. There were also two toddlers missing – but since one was born at 5.30 this morning, she had a good excuse for not being in church. That leaves just one pregnant lady in the church, out of the eight there were a few months ago. It was a good way to make the church grow 10% in just nine months! Anyway, the hall is usually quite full on a normal Sunday; today it was bursting and it was difficult to fit everybody in. Maybe we should put a maxiscreen outside… In any case, we certainly need to find a new hall to meet in, and we are still looking for an appropriate, and affordable, place.

The last few weeks have been relatively light for me, with just two studies to lead each week. This week was going to be a jackpot week, with all my occasional meetings coming up at the same time – as well as the usual Tuesday and Wednesday studies, I will be leading Monday to substitute someone who fell sick, on Thursday there is the bimonthly cell group coordination meeting I lead, and on Saturday it was my turn to lead the Youth Group study. However, two of the three teenagers couldn’t come yesterday so we postponed the meeting, so my turn will come up the following week. In the meantime, I have been fighting a flu which has made its way up through the family in the last 10 days, starting at Daniele and passing through Stefania and Pinuccia.

Pizze at Rovereto

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

The dinner together of the Rovereto group went well, and I could see the relationships between the members grow as there were opportunities to talk and get to know each other that there aren’t during a typical Bible study night. There were also two people who don’t come to the group usually (for my Seattle readers, the mother-in-law was not one of them), and at least one had a long chat with someone else about what the group at Rovereto does and what its vision is. Hopefully he will come in the future.

Back at home, Pinuccia has a stomach bug and is off work for three days. Since the bug is making the rounds in this period (there were two others at the doctor with the same symptoms), she might have got it from one of the children in her class, as teachers tend to do. But since Stefania seemed to have some stomach problems at the beginning of the week, she might have been the cause.

Upcoming events

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

A couple of upcoming events to pray for:

Next Tuesday instead of the usual Bible study, the group at Rovereto will be going out to eat a pizza together. Although the aim is not only to eat together, but also invite others to get to know us and the group: the son of one of the couples in the group, a couple (where the husband is not a Christian) that lives at Rovereto that comes to church but not to the group, and the mother-in-law of another group member (who reads this blog, so I hope he is encouraged to invite her by reading this).

A photographer/cameraman in the church currently has an exhibition of his photos at a cultural centre/bar at Trento, on the theme of “Food in the Bible”. (He has already had this exhibition at a religious film festival here.) On the 25th, one of the elders of the church will be conducting a discussion at the centre on “Spiritual Food”, making the connection from the photos to what the Bible teaches.

The first week

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I have finished my first week of studies for the new year, with the groups on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the teenagers on Saturday (although Pinuccia did the study on Saturday, and someone else on Monday). And Stefania and Daniele survived the first week with me as well! I also managed to play in a concert – since they moved the practices to Tuesday, I haven’t been able to go for a few months, but with a concert on Saturday they had a special practice on Friday. So I went on Friday evening to learn the songs, and then up to a town in the mountains (in the Val di Non valley, one of our church planting areas) to play. It was also good to hear that the Chinese group has changed meeting time from Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon, so that the Chinese lady in the congregation can attend and lead it. So yesterday she led it for the second time; speaking with her about it after the service, it was obvious how much God had made her mature in the last couple of years so that she could lead the group.

Daniele growing

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

There was an interesting study last night in the cell group, where someone was present who had been in Catholic religious orders for 9 years (as a Jesuit, as a monk, and in other forms); he is now studying theology at Trento, but believes after having read Luther and other Protestant theologians that the Catholic teachings miss the mark. The Chinese lady who has been witnessing to her priest friend (who goes back to China on Saturday) was very surprised and encouraged to meet him, and see that God does indeed change peoples’ thinking, despite what seems to be the case with her friend.

In the family, Daniele has been arriving at some milestones in his life. On Tuesday he turned five months, and the next day had a programmed check up in which everything is still going fine. Then today there was his second set of vacinations, and he didn’t react at all when he got the needle. (It is not how I remember vacinations in my childhood – they hurt!) Then today he had his first real food – a couple of weeks earlier than what is recommended, but it works out better this way with Pinuccia working now. In any case, we have seen in the past few weeks that he was very interested in eating, following the food or trying to grab at the cutlery when he was close to other people eating. And in fact he loved the meal that Pinuccia prepared for him, and ate almost a whole plate. I remember that it took a while for Stefania to get used to the new diet, and would only eat a couple of spoonfulls without much enthusiasm.

Back to work

Monday, January 7th, 2008

…at least for Pinuccia. This morning she accepted a job from 2.30pm to 4.30pm for four months (although in February it will be until 5.30pm). It is in the centre of Trento, which means she has to take public transport and then walk to the school, so there is another hour of travelling before and after as well. But it works out fairly well in trying to organise our days. It means that I will have about 4 hours of babysitting to do each day, although there will also be the grocery shopping to do (so the children are not stuck inside every day), and since Pinuccia will be leaving the car at home, there is also the possibility of doing other things. For example today I (with Stefania and Daniele) picked up a friend from her home and we went to have a coffee together. So I will do some experiments in the next few days to see how much I can do together with the children.

Back at home

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

We finally arrived this morning just before 6.30am – later than I was expecting (because the children required more stops than I had counted on), but at least it was less than a day travelling, even if only just. This time it was my turn to hit the snow whilst driving, just as we arrived at Trento (even though it was not as heavy as what Pinuccia experienced in Sicily). And in fact it has been snowing all morning, the first time at Trento for almost two years. Stefania enjoys being back at home with all her toys and books she has not seen, and maybe forgot about, for three weeks – it is like a second Christmas for her with lots of “new” things to do. Now I have to catch up with accumulated matters over the last three weeks, even though I was able at least to keep on top of my e-mails, and then on Monday it is back to work for both of us, Pinuccia to school after 11 months off and me in the evenings with the Bible studies.

Leaving Sicily

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Our time in Sicily has almost come to an end now, and today will be spent packing and trying to squeeze everything into the car. It was full on the way down, and in the last three weeks we have accumulated more things (a few things that we brought, a few gifts from relatives from the children, a couple of kilograms around the waist, and oil, olives and other Sicilian provisions to keep Pinuccia stocked up for a few months), so it will be interesting to see if it is possible to fit them all in. Then tomorrow morning we will be leaving about 6.30am, in time to catch the boat from Messina at 11am. This should arrive at Salerno around 7pm, from which I expect a further 9 to 10 hours driving to get home, depending upon how often we have to stop for the children (the plan is that they will sleep most of that time) or for drowsy drivers. Pray for this trip; it will be a long time travelling with lots of opportunities for problems.