Archive for October, 2008

Lots of events

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Our super busy week end has come to an end now. First there were a couple of other ECM missionaries on Saturday from 11am to 5.30pm. Then preparation and cooking for the three teenagers for pizzas (my speciality), prayer and video until late. Then on Sunday it was church, and we got home at 12.30, about 10 seconds after Pinuccia’s brother and mother arrived, who had come up from Sicily for 10 days. So we prepared and had lunch with them, and then went for a walk around Trento (except Stefania, who is really keen on her new bike, so she rode around the town). There was a lot to do, but we are certainly happy to have had this time with family and friends. The extra hour’s sleep due to the end of daylight savings was a great help as well.

My first ever Sunday School lesson went well also. They are a good class of children. I will be doing next week as well, which will be more difficult as it is on some of the abstract qualities of God (eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent).

This week’s events to pray for (apart from good time with Pinuccia’s family):
On Thursday night there is a meeting to introduce the church to those who have started attending recently. There are quite a few of them: I gave out about 15 invitations to individuals or families. We usually do such meetings about once a year, around this time (as a lot of new people arrive in September or October). I will be talking at the meeting this time – I had better get to work to prepare what I will say…
On Friday the family and Pinuccia’s mother will be going to Modena (2.5 hours south), to spend the day with Pinuccia’s mother’s sister and her family (including meeting Pinuccia’s cousin’s first baby, born a couple of weeks ago).
On Friday evening and most of Saturday the Young Adults in the church will be having a retreat, with talks on evangelism. Pinuccia and I will be going on Saturday morning, leaving the children with their grandmother.

Free or not free?

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

One consequence of teaching the Sunday School together instead of doing the Youth Group was that we would have Saturdays free, and were looking forward to having a whole day together as a family to do different things. It has turned out that the practice has been a bit different from the theory, as every Saturday something comes up. But it is always something enjoyable. During this week we were planning what to do on what we thought would finally be our first really free Saturday, when on Thursday we got a call to say that Pinuccia’s cousin would be visiting for the weekend (as her fiancĂ© had just been offered a job for a month as a relief teacher for a month in a town 45 minutes from here). So we had the privilege of showing some hospitality, and Pinuccia enjoyed being able to see her cousin again. Now we are thinking about our next really free day on November 15 (and even then there was a meeting to go to, but it was postponed to the following week, when I already have another commitment).

There are a few things coming up this week that you could pray for:
1. Pinuccia’s mother arrives on Saturday to stay for almost 2 weeks. Pinuccia of course is looking forward to having her here, whilst I will be happy to have a cleaning lady in the house!
2. On Saturday, some other Italian ECM missionaries will be coming for lunch, and then in the evening the three teenagers in the church will be coming for dinner, praying and a video. It is our fault this time that Saturday is busy, since we invited all these people!
3. My first Sunday School lesson next Sunday (I will be doing the following Sunday as well). I am looking forward to the new experience and opportunity.
4. On Friday, one of the elders of the church will be going to Thailand for a week to represent Italy at the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly.

Party time

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

There were no less than three birthday parties in the church this weekend. The first was for Stefania, who turned three on Saturday, and so some of the children (and parents) in the church came to our house in the afternoon. Then on Sunday there were two separate lunches to celebrate birthdays, one for one of the teenagers who turned 16 that the people in the young adults’ group went to, and one for another person in the church that the older people went to.

This made me reflect on how the church and I have changed since I have been here. First of all, since the teenager was born a month after I arrived in Italy, I feel a special identification with her when I think about my time in Italy and the growth that I have seen. Secondly, it used to be pretty rare that we would celebrate three birthdays on the same weekend, as the church wasn’t large enough. And we would never have had two events at the same time. The church used to be small enough that everyone would be invited to everything. That is no longer possible, and now we have the disadvantage of a medium sized church that you can’t know everybody well. Of course, the advantages in our case outweigh the disadvantages, and because of the small groups (including the young adults) there is the same close fellowship in different sections of the congregation, even if not in all at the same time. So we can organise two birthday parties at the same time, and there is no problem. This is certainly a lot different to the situation 16 years ago! The third reflection was due to the fact that I was invited to the old peoples’ party, not to the young adults’ party. I’ll let you decide what it made me think… But I managed to get back towards the “young” side again, because the teenagers are missing a bit our meetings now that they are just the three youngest people in the young adults’ group. So Pinuccia and I have organised a meeting for them at our house next Saturday (or possibly, if that doesn’t work, the following Saturday), for “old times’ sake”, to find out how they are going spiritually and to pray together (and eat pizzas and watch a video, naturally).

During the week, there was a Bible reading marathon, in which the whole Bible was read on the state TV’s satellite channel over 7 days, with 1200 celebrities and “normal” people reading. What I personally found interesting and encouraging was that when I mentioned it on my Italian language blog about things to do with the Bible (at http://www.laparola.net/blog/?postid=235), there was a flood of comments – 25 so far, and they are still arriving. Usually there are no comments on my messages, and at most there are two. I was starting to think that there weren’t even 25 readers of my blog! So I was encouraged to keep going. It was also a indication that the public diffusion of the Bible in Italy does create interest, even though it is not always apparent or visible. Which is the reason why I keep my Italian Bible site and free computer program going, even if I don’t get a lot of feedback from it. The desire is there to hear and read the Bible in Italy.

New groups at Trento?

Monday, October 6th, 2008

It was good to hear yesterday from one of the cell group leaders that his group has become too big (16 people) and that he doesn’t want anyone new in the church. Unfortunately for him, there was a new lady at church who wanted to join a group, and the only night she was free was the night of that group. So now there are two of the three groups at Trento that are bigger than what they should be, so a new group is definitely needed there. However it is a bit hard to organise, and we are still behind on our training of new leaders for these groups, so I am not sure when it will be possible.