Archive for November, 2008

Snow business

Friday, November 28th, 2008

In some ways it has been an easier week this week, with almost half the Rovereto group having to work on Tuesday evening so the meeting was cancelled, one of the rare Thursday nights without a meeting for the church, and the band practice on Friday cancelled due to snow. So we have had four out of five nights free together during the week. I don’t think that has ever happened outside of the summer months before. Even on Wednesday, we watched a film (Amazing Grace, on Wilberforce’s life) instead of doing a study. On the other hand, the first two snow falls of the season that have occurred during the week have complicated matters a bit, with car travel becoming difficult and at times impossible. And when I picked up Stefania from school today I discovered that pushing two children on a stroller through a few centimetres of snow, with more snow falling as well, is quite tiring. Even when Stefania decided that she was more interested in running around and playing in the snow rather than staying on the stroller. Tomorrow however she will have a great time, when I will take her outside to play in the snow. Maybe I will even make my first ever snowman!
The rest of the time, we have been busy preparing for the Sunday School event at church on Sunday. However, with more school forecast on Sunday morning, we might find that our numbers are greatly reduced, which would create some problems for what we would want to do.

Staying at home at last

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

I have now some time at home this weekend, although there are a few household activities to do and other things to catch up on after my absence in these days, so it is not time for a rest yet. Yesterday Jury and I left at 3.30am to drive to Milan, where we caught a plane to London, to speak at the annual meeting for ECM Britain’s supporters. Jury found it helpful and encouraging to see first hand many of the people committed to supporting the church in general and him in particular. Then straight after the meeting it was back to the airport (where we found the plane was an hour late), a flight and a drive home, getting back at half past midnight. Jury was a bit disappointed that he did not see anything in his first trip to England, although on the way there we had a perfect view of central London from the aeroplane window, so he did get to see most of the major sites (albeit from a far). I on the other hand think that I am getting a bit old for these strange trips, even though I did get quite a few naps in during the car and plane trips. Pinuccia in the meantime was trying to prepare the Sunday School lesson for today, without much success as the children wanted her to be with her almost all of the time. So she was still working on the lesson when I got home.
Then today after church we went straight to the annual lunch for the band. It was slightly hard work after the efforts of yesterday, especially since there was a very good and abundant lunch laid on. So the stomach was filled whilst the eyelids were drooping.

A quick trip

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I have finished my studies for the week now, although Pinuccia still has the ladies’ meeting to run tonight. So now I can have a bit of a pause before another busy weekend.

In Saturday I will be making a trip to London with Jury. Jury is preparing the social ministry that the church wants to create, and shortly will be employed by the church part time to run that and the Valsugana group. Since part of the funding for this will be coming from the English section of ECM, we will be going there to speak at their one day conference for supporters and others, to explain the vision that we have at Trento, to thank them for their support (many there have been praying for decades for the church) and to encourage them to be involved. I think it will be very useful for Jury as well, to get a wider vision of the ministry that he will be involved in: it is not just the church that is doing this, but we are helped by Christians from around the world. We decided that the easiest way to go was to just make it a day trip. So at 4am on Saturday we drive to Milan (about 2.5 hours) for a flight at 8am. Then at 6pm we catch a flight back, and around midnight we should be home. So pray for good travelling as well, especially as it is fog season around Milan now. Jury is a bit upset that it will be his first time in England, and he will see just the airport, a road and the conference hall, although I am used to that by now.

Then on Sunday at church I will be helping the children prepare for their event next week for the first half of the service, then Pinuccia will take her class to their lesson whilst I try to follow the sermon whilst looking after Daniele. Then there is the annual lunch for the band, so it will be an interesting time getting to know the others there, away from the usual practices. Maybe I will get some rest then in the evening.

With the family, and Christmas card making

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

A rare event today: a free Sunday afternoon together with just the family. So we are relaxing and going for a walk (whilst Pinuccia votes in the provincial election). This helps to catch up with some rest after a tiring Saturday. Pinuccia’s mother left in the early afternoon, so there was a lunch with her a few others to say goodbye. Then immediately after we all went up the Valsugana valley for an afternoon with the Sunday School children, preparing Christmas cards to sell to raise funds for a school in India, as well as preparing a few items for the service on the 30th when they will be sold.

Children

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

The big news today is that finally Daniele has started walking, taking three steps three times in the afternoon (of which I managed to videotape two times). It is two days before he turns 15 months, which is two weeks later than when Stefania started walking. Their growth has in fact followed fairly similar patterns. They also seem to be equal opportunity grandchildren: Stefania started walking whilst my parents were visiting, and Daniele whilst Pinuccia’s mother is visiting. All his steps were in fact towards her (or at least towards the toy she was holding). Pinuccia was at work and missed the excitement, and ever since she has arrived home he has refused to walk. So Pinuccia has to rely on the video tape for the moment.

Meanwhile, Stefania has had a couple of afternoons of fever and has been missing school. She has infected Daniele a bit, although as is usual his stronger constitution keeps him a bit healthier. Although after his big walking effort in the afternoon he fell asleep, and woke up a couple of hours later with a slightly higher temperature, still tired, and generally complaining about everything.

Transforming young adults

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

There has been a lot going on the last few days, as mentioned in my message last week. But I will just write about one of these events, the retreat of the Young Adults’ group that we went to for half of Saturday. It was very encouraging to see such a keen group of young people, some of whom no doubt will be leading the church in the future, especially when I think what this age group was like 18 months ago – there was nothing in the church, there were hardly any even attending. It was also a good opportunity for us to get to know a few of them better, and them us, as we were able to talk a bit. Apart from the fact that we were with them for more time than usual, it was also because we were able to leave the children with Pinuccia’s mother. The contrast with the church lunch after the service today was obvious to me. We spent most of our time looking after Stefania and Daniele (and for me teaching my second lesson at the Sunday School), and had little chance to be able to speak much with the others despite being in the same place as them for a few hours.

The other thing that I thank God for was that the GBU group restarted at the university last week, after a pause of 5 years since I stopped working there. There were no less than 10 students at the meeting (the most I got in a decade of student work was 5), of which three from the church, three not currently at the church but with some contact, and four friends of the others. I am really glad to see what God is doing there, and how he brought someone (Andrea) to Trento to look after this group at just the right time.

This week again there are some extra events to pray for:
* Thursday night there is a coordination meeting for all the small group leaders, which I look after.
* Saturday afternoon the children in the Sunday School will be creating Christmas cards, which will then be sold after church on the 30th to raise funds for the school in India that they support. I will also be teaching them a song that they will perform at the service.