Archive for April, 2008

Fellowship on the holiday

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Yesterday was a public holiday (just as in Australia), and we took the opportunity to go to Bologna (240 km south of here) for the annual meeting with the other seven churches of an association that the church at Trento belongs to. There were about 40 from the church present, which is the most we have ever had go to such a meeting, and a few hundred in all. Not being too keen on leaving before 7am with the children, we actually decided to leave later, and with the holiday traffic we arrived a lot later, just after 1pm. But the meeting was running even later, so we got there just in time for lunch with everybody. Then there was another meeting after lunch, after which we took the opportunity to visit Pinuccia’s relatives who live at a nearby town – especially since one of Pinuccia’s cousins had just had his first child, and another had just become pregnant. They were all at a park with their church, so we managed to drop in for some more fellowship there. Then after dinner with the family, it was back home after midnight.

Women and youth

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

There were a couple of special meetings at the end of last week. On Friday evening there was the monthly ladies’ study. This time it was Pinuccia’s turn to give the study. This meant that I stayed at home with the children, although it was one of the easiest evenings ever – Daniele went to sleep soon after 8pm and was never heard from again until the following morning, and Stefania was quite tired and went to sleep quickly as well, so I even got some time to myself before Pinuccia got home to prepare the leading of the church service on Sunday.
On Saturday night there was no youth group meeting, as the teenagers had organised a party and dance for the youth, the young adults, and some of the youth from churches at Padua and Vicenza. So we went there for a couple of hours, before we had to leave to take the children home. I think that of all the people there, Stefania was the keenest dancer of all of them!

Back to the band

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

After a long absence from the band – caused by them changing the day of the practices – last Friday I was able to go again because they had changed the day back again. So it was good to get out and relax with a bit of music again, and to see my friends there. I was a bit out of practice however; towards the end of the practice it started to get hard to play as my lips and diaphragm were not up to it. Despite the fact that Friday is theoretically a free night for me, I will in any case have trouble getting to the practices: the Friday practices had in fact started the previous week but we were in Spain, tomorrow Pinuccia leads the study at the women’s Bible study so I have to stay at home with the children, and the following week is a public holiday and we will be going to Bologna for a meeting and lunch with other churches.

More sickness and English

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Daniele and I did not hold out much longer after my last post: Daniele got a fever a Sunday night, and I got the other symptoms of this type of laryngitis on Monday. I seem to get sick a lot more often with two children, although at least I did not get a fever this time, like the other three did, just a sore throat and blocked nose. And tiredness as the children aren’t sleeping well, which means that neither do the parents. I did manage to go the group at Rovereto on Tuesday, but I skipped the Wednesday night meeting as there was a good chance of losing totally my voice at that stage. Pinuccia took the first two days of the week off work to recover from the last of her symptoms, and we have made a couple of visits to doctors and pharmacies since then. Since Stefania has had a fever for a week now, the doctor suggested she take some antibiotics now, so tonight will be the first time that she takes them. Daniele has another couple of days before his antibiotics start if the fever does not stopped. They are both feeling a bit better today, but certainly are not healed.

The other news is that Pinuccia has started an English course on Thursday evenings (it actually started last week, when we were in Spain), that someone in our church who teaches English in high schools has started for others in the church and friends. Since we will be going to Australia in less than two months, it will be a brief course for Pinuccia, but a quick course will help her before our trip. It is just after her work, not too far away from her school in the town centre, so it works out fairly well for her. And I get to prepare dinner for the children and myself, and I leave her something for when she gets home at about 8.30.

In all this, Thursday was also our fourth anniversary. Not a very enjoyable anniversary, but as Pinuccia said it was “unforgettable”.

The beginning of an era?

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

I blogged a few weeks ago about the end of an era for me, as I stopped going to the last of the cell groups that I was running 5 years ago. Today might go down in the history of the church as the beginning of a new era. After the service and the monthly church lunch, there was the annual church meeting. There were some important decisions taken:

1) The Rovereto church planting project, that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, was presented to the church.

2) The church decided to support the two elders of the church with €200 per month. It is not really much compared to how much time they dedicate to the church, but it is a sign of a maturity of the church that finally they want to financially support their own leaders.

3) “Project Nehemia” was approved, in which the church will be working amongst the disadvantaged of Trento, in order to have a positive influence and take the Gospel into the city. The work will probably start after the summer break, although the actual project will start soon as the needed infrastructure is set up. A part of this project is the employment of a person in the church (Jury) part-time to look after it, as well as leading the church planting work in the Valsugana. Thanks to the generosity and vision of ECM, the mission will pay this person for the first 12 months, then the year after will pay 6/7 and the church 1/7, then 5/7 and 2/7, and so on so that after seven years the church will be fully supporting the person.

The last two decisions mean a big shift in the mentality of the church: instead of people leading the church in their free time from work, family and often wider Italian church commitments, which was limiting a lot what the church could do (although the time I could provide alleviated the problem a bit), the church is setting people apart to serve them and others. This is a model which should be able to cope better with the church growth.

With these decisions today, there are now two of the four planks in place of the Trentino Church Planting project – the Rovereto project and the employment of someone in the church part-time. There are still two to go: renting our own hall for the church (the desire is there, the obstacle is that nothing suitable has been found yet), and the church planting apprenticeship scheme (to train people in church planting, so that they could then pioneer church plant in the areas of the province where there is no evangelical witness at all, or somewhere else in the world; the obstacle here is that no-one has yet been found who wants to do the apprenticeship).

Around these meetings, we have also been looking after the children, who have not been the best. Stefania has had a fever for the last four days (worse at night, when it is over 39 degrees), which she got from Pinuccia, who spent the middle few days of our time in Spain a bit sick, and who had got it from her father, who had got it from Pinuccia’s mother, who had brought it from Sicily with her. Daniele has some symptoms, although seems more resilient than Stefania (as the lack of reaction to new teeth shows), and I am still holding out also. As well, both children were tired this morning (partly from the illness, partly from the long day and travel yesterday), so Pinuccia stayed at home with them whilst I went to church. Then instead of staying for the church lunch I returned home for a quick lunch, after which I went to the church meeting with Daniele whilst Pinuccia took Stefania to the out-patients clinic at the hospital. (Stefania has the habit of getting sick on Friday nights, and there are no doctors on the week-end.) It was just to check there was nothing seriously wrong, and there isn’t, so she will get some treatment and should get better again tomorrow.

Back from Spain

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

On a boat in SpainWe came back this afternoon from our week at the ECM biennial conference in Spain. Every conference lately for me has been different, going by myself six years ago, on my honeymoon four years ago, then with a six month old baby, and this time with two small children. So this time there were less opportunities to meet and talk with other missionaries. On the other hand, it was a good opportunity to spend more time and doing different things with the family than usual. Pinuccia in particular enjoyed the extra time caused by not having to cook or clean. Stefania had a good time in the creche each day, and started a bit to play with the other children. Daniele opened up a bit during the week – he has always started crying when a stranger gets too close to him, but now he has started to accept being held by others. He also celebrated his first plane trip last Saturday with his second tooth. So a couple of times it gave him a bit of pain, but thankfully it didn’t affect him much and certainly not as much as Stefania’s teeth did. Spiritually, there were some good talks which helped us to reflect on our commitment to God and how we can best serve the church at Trento. The main talks were in Spanish and translated in English, and between the two languages Pinuccia could understand the talks, which made it easier for me as I did not have to do a simultaneous translation.