Archive for March, 2009

An easier than expected weekend

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

This weekend seemed like it would knock me out again, but it turned out to be a bit easier than expected.

Firstly on Saturday there was the day of prayer and fasting for the projects of the church. With the family and its needs to look after (like the shopping in the morning), we had decided to pray in the evening when the children were asleep. So I was fasting and busy as well. In the afternoon, there was a planning meeting for a church children’s camp in June – one of the people who will be helping lives in the mountains, so we had put the meeting on the day of prayer so that she could also go to prayer meeting without having to make the long trip twice. After the planning meeting we all went to the meeting for the whole church to present our projects to God and to praise him for what he has done in the past. There was a good atmosphere there, especially since the church does not pray much together.

Then it was to bed early in anticipation of today, and because, to make matters worse, it was the beginning of daylight savings, so there was an hour less to sleep. But we got off to church in the morning, then quickly back for lunch. At this point I discovered that the concert I was due to play in at 2.30pm had been cancelled due to the bad weather (although I suspected that it would be the case). So I stayed at home, and then left at 4.30 to go to the first of new series of monthly services at Rovereto, where I preached. The rain certainly saved me there; I could have a bit of a rest and help Pinuccia tidying up the house a bit, rather than twice having only a few minutes to come home, get changed and go out again. Although on the other hand, it was a shame that Pinuccia’s walk with the children through the annual market day at Lavis (which is where I would have played) had to be cancelled as well. Pinuccia likes visiting the stalls, and Stefania was looking forward to playing on the fairground rides for the first time.

For your prayers this week: my parents will be arriving for a visit on Wednesday, on Saturday afternoon there will be a bookstall at Rovereto and on Sunday afternoon the annual church meeting. There will be an announcement at the meeting of something that I am excited about, as it is the answer to about 14 years’ prayer. So make sure you visit the blog in a week’s time to find out about some big changes in the church here.

LaParola at the Vatican

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I often say that my Bible study computer program gets distributed and used a lot more than the simple accesses and downloads from my site would indicate. Occasionally I get feedback to remind me about this. For example, this morning I received an e-mail from a Catholic priest, that I translate here:

On February 26 I participated at the annual meeting for the priests of the city of Rome with our bishop, the Pope Benedict XVI. Entering in the room, I found on every seat a free booklet, of a certain Pietro Principe, called “Essential Guide to the Holy Bible”, Vatican Publishing House, 2008. On page 4 there was a brief mention of the theme “Bible and Internet”. It says, “There are many Internet sites dedicated to the Bible: an extraordinary wealth for knowing and studying the Word of God. Amongst the principal references we find…” and then follows a list of 11 sites, in which at fourth place is laparola.net. Personally, I add that some of those mentioned are not really sites on the Bible, but useful databases of pastoral material, and the others can not be compared with the quality of laparola.net and the program LaParola.

Relatively speaking

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

This month is relative visiting month for us, with my aunt here this week, then a week after she leaves my parents will be visiting for two weeks. So it is a great time having them with us, although it does make it harder to get everything done. This last week was in fact fairly heavy, with Pinuccia especially feeling the stress a bit. Apart from her usual work every afternoon, she also had to go one morning to meet with the other teachers, and to prepare for the ladies’ group meeting on Thursday night. As well, Stefania had a fever for a couple of days so once had to taken from school early, and also had a day off. Then yesterday one of our friends got married, so we were out all day there (mostly eating), and for Pinuccia especially that meant a bit of preparation – getting new clothes, going to the hairdresser, etc. For me, the wedding is what did me in, after being woken up early by Daniele a couple of mornings in a row, and at the end of Saturday I just crashed out. But today, after church there has been a good time to rest and catch up on things. And tonight my aunt is taking us out to dinner, which is appropriate because it is the sixth anniversary of the first time Pinuccia and I met to chat together. It wasn’t going out together yet, that anniversary is in a couple of weeks, but Pinuccia offered me a coffee and so we sat and talked one afternoon. So I will make sure she offers me something tonight, to remember that afternoon!

Next week there are some important events coming up. One is on Saturday, when the church will be praying and fasting together for the projects that we would like God to accomplish through us, especially the Rovereto project, the social work ministry that we will be starting shortly, and the search for a new hall (which is quickly becoming urgent and desperate, as the church grows). So pray together with us on that day for the future of Trento. Then on Sunday afternoon the monthly services at Rovereto will be restarting. Pray also for this beginning in the city. I will be preaching at that one.

Spring!

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

A bit of Spring weather has arrived now, with temperatures getting up to 20 degrees during the day. If past years are anything to go by, it will get a bit colder again for a while, and then the Spring weather will arrive permanently. After 3 winters in a row, we am looking forward to it! For Stefania, it meant that we brought her bicycle out of hiberation yesterday, and she went up and down our cul-de-sac, with Daniele excitedly following behind her trying out his walking and running skills. It has also meant the beginning of the concert season, with today being the first town festival of the year, in a town 5 kilometers north of us. The band was invited to play, so I dashed there after a quick lunch after church. In a couple of weeks it will be Lavis’ turn to have their annual festival.

Weekend guests

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

This weekend we have been kept busy showing hospitality. On Saturday a couple of ECM missionaries came to visit most of the day, to talk about how things were going. Then Sunday night there were some friends who will be getting married in two weeks who came for dinner. This, plus housework, church and Pinuccia preparing the lesson for Sunday School, meant there was not much time for anything else. And in fact we had to miss two church activities. On Saturday there there was what was considered the first youth (meaning mostly young adults) service, an evening of singing praise. I heard that it went well, and I got a taste of it this morning as a bit was repeated for the service. Then on Sunday afternoon there was a meeting for the musicians in the church on how to use music in worship. I think that we will be having to miss quite a few of the church activities in this period. The church now is just too large to do everything, especially in these (almost) spring months when a lot more is on, both in the church and elsewhere (I have quite a few concerts with the band in this period as well). And I praise God that it is like that!

Church planting with the Internet

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Whilst my computer ministry is important, especially the distribution of the Bible and Bible study tools at LaParola.net, it is hard to connect it with a church planting ministry, which is the main direction of my ministry. Internet has the advantage of reaching everyone, but it is also a disadvantage because it is hard to focus on one particular geographical area. So whilst I have helped church plants in all of Italy, the effect at Trento has been minimal. So it was encouraging to me that the church received an e-mail last week from a user of my site from a town in the mountains near Trento, who was happy to discover that I was from Trento as well, found out about the church through the links on my site, and so wrote asking about meetings. Then he went to the Monday night Bible study group last night with a friend. He has been living at Milan and seems to have been converted there, and soon will be going to live in London, whilst the friend is “just looking” at this stage. But after more than a decade, someone has come to a church meeting because of LaParola.net, and I am happy that it has happened.

Spring has arrived

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I got through my “everything” week, when all my possible meetings and studies to prepare came up. I even got a newsletter out as well, and managed to do half a reorganisation of the church web site. It meant working less on less urgent matters than I would have liked (such as the studies for next month, as I like to keep as far ahead as possible), but I should be able to catch up a bit this week. An encouraging moment the week was meeting with Marcio, the leader of the young adults’ group. This was the first of some meetings we will have every two or three week, in which I will be trying to help him in this ministry. It was encouraging because I could see all the work God is doing in the lives of the people in the group. It brought make happy memories of such groups I was a part of in Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra, and the many things that were accomplished then.

Another highlight of the week was having a record attendance at the church service today: 73 adults, plus guests and children. Spring is arriving, so we always get an increase in numbers, and there is also an increase in activities as peoples’ attitude changes and they are more willing to go out – and there isn’t snow to block things. In fact the next 3 months are full of church activities. I will mention them as they come up, but this week you can pray for (apart from the usual activities) the second evangelistic meeting at the cultural cafĂ© on Thursday, a meeting with other ECM missionaries in Italy on Saturday, the first young adults’ service (a praise night) on Saturday evening, and a meeting on Sunday afternoon for the musicians on leading praise.