Archive for October, 2009

Meetings for Rovereto

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Usually I write my weekly message on Sunday afternoon, when I have finished my activities for the week. But this time, although I am writing at the usual time, I have not quite finished. Tonight there is a dinner for all the group at Rovereto. Partly as a social time, partly for a birthday on Tuesday, and partly to farewell Suzanne Bikker, who will leave on Tuesday for three months in Holland. This will be to speak to the churches about her ministry (which she could not do between finishing Bible school and coming here, because it was summer), and to raise some more support, as she is still a bit short.

As well as the usual Tuesday Bible study, the Rovereto group also had a meeting last Thursday, to talk about the Rovereto church planting project. It was in fact an extended group: as well as six people who live there, plus the two of us who travel there each week from Trento for the Bible studies, there were five others from Trento and the province who want to help out with the project in various ways. This is a lot different from the first such meeting two years ago, when there were just three of us, of whom none were from Rovereto. This time, we looked at how we could improve our current activities (weekly Bible studies, monthly services, monthly bookstall and literature distributions), and considered some ideas for the future.

Sunday School chaos

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Today there was a double commitment for me, with my second lesson for the year at the Sunday School and then leading the monthly service at Rovereto. Like most ministries in the church, the Sunday School has experienced growth since last year. Then there were a maximum of 5 children, and usually 3-4 present. It was fairly manageable. With two new children coming to church, and two others coming up from the class of the smaller children, there is now a theoretical maximum of 9, although only 8 have come so far. And in fact this morning there were eight children plus me around the table for six people (because there is no room in the corridor where we meet for a larger table), which instead of being “fairly manageable” is more like “total chaos”. In situations like this, it is good to know that it is God who teaches, and not my ability to keep the children in line. Since we were doing Joshua today, at the end of the lesson we joined up with the smaller children and marched around the walls of Jericho that I had constructed from cardboard boxes, before I knocked down the wall and took the treasure of Jericho (lollies) away for God. That wasn’t only like total chaos, it was total chaos!

The other news in church today was another announcement of a pregnancy. We now are up to six pregnant ladies, although we are still short of our record of 8 pregnancies at the same time. The new pregnancy is one of the members of the new Saturday afternoon group in the Valsugana that our family goes to, so although now there are 8 children from Stefania’s age down in that group, by the end of the church year in June there will be 11. It does make the Bible studies interesting – we are all learning to shout a lot more as we discuss.

This week, apart from the usual activities, the main thing to pray for is a meeting on Thursday evening in which we will be talking about the Rovereto church planting project, and about where we want to go in the future and what we want to do to get there. There will be quite a few (maybe a dozen) people there who are interested in and are committed to helping the project, which makes a bit difference from the three people that there were at the first such meeting we had two years ago.

Stefania 4

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

There was a lot happening in the family this week, which meant me doing less in the church. Although of course the church does not depend on me, and there was more happening in the church than normal, with the first Bible study at the university for the academic year, a meeting for some of the mothers to plan a prayer morning next month, a bookstall at Rovereto, some people going away for a five day conference, and no doubt other things that I am not even aware of! But the highlight of the family happenings during the week was Stefania’s fourth birthday today. It was the first time that she really appreciated what a birthday meant, and chose the friends she wanted at her party today from school and from church. Since the party and its preparation were in the afternoon today, and church in the morning, as a family we celebrated yesterday. She also had a party in the park for one of the other children in her class on Saturday afternoon. So she (like us) was fairly tired at the end of the weekend. Although with all these activities, she said as she was going to bed that her “head did not want to go to sleep”.

Tomorrow is one of our regular get togethers for all the ECM missionaries in Italy. This time we will be concentrating on some training, as the ECM training coordinator will be coming as well to give us some input. So you could pray for this day together, and that despite having to look after Stefania and Daniele that both Pinuccia and I will be able to some spend good time with the others. On Thursday there will be the first Ladies’ meeting after the summer break, which Pinuccia will lead, and next Sunday the monthly service at Rovereto, where I will be leading the service. So this week it will be back to lots of outside activities for us both.

Doubling church, and new people at Rovereto

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Today we had a visit from the church at Formigine, which is about 200m south of here, and where another one of Pinuccia’s cousins attends. The whole church came together, which almost doubled the number at the service. Since our hall is too small for us by ourselves, let alone when another church joins us, we hired a larger hall for the occasion. Since it happens to be very close to where we live (and is in fact where we had the wedding party for those at Trento), I looked after the booking and the organisation of the logistics of the hall. So that kept me busy most of the day, both at the service and during the lunch for over 100 people. The fun part for me was when I helped our two experts at the bar (which in Italy means serving the coffee). They (of whom one, strangely enough, was a lady from Bulgaria) looked after the coffee, making a hundred or so in about a quarter of an hour, whilst I was busy washing the cups and chatting with the “clients”. Even the people from Naples where happy with our coffee, which is indeed a great compliment.

At the Bible study at Rovereto on Tuesday I got a surprise when I saw a new person in the group when I arrived. Gradually as the meeting went on I learnt various things about her, until right at the end I suddenly realised that I knew who she was. Although her family lives at Rovereto, she is studying at Bologna, and refounded and led the group at the university there (which is how I heard about her). I also knew that she is very enthusiastic in her evangelism. In fact, even though she only moved back to Rovereto last Sunday, by the Tuesday evening she was already looking at planning an evangelistic event there and had done some preliminary organisation. I believe that she is just the type of person that will be a great help to Suzanne Bikker in her church planting work at Rovereto, and has arrived at just the right time. God’s time, of course.