Archive for December, 2009

Family Christmas

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

The main reason for this trip to Australia was to visit family, and of course Christmas Day this week was the big opportunity to do this, with all the family together for the first time in 18 years (since I moved to Italy). So it was great to be able have a traditional Wilson Christmas again. And for Stefania and Daniele, for the first time. They also did a lot of “bonding” with cousins and other relatives, which was good both for them and for the relatives.

We are now however already towards the end of our trip. On Friday afternoon we will be taking the plane home, so pray for our farewells and the long journey with the children.

Stefania and Daniele’s surprise in Australia

Monday, December 21st, 2009

We have been in Australia for a few days now, with just the last effects of jet lag to go away yet. Although it is hard to distinguish between the effects of jet lag, and of having small children who wake up a lot earlier than you would like to. In any case, we have been able to do a fair bit with our family already, and we are already seeing improvements in Stefania’s English as she gets practice at making up sentences.

Today and yesterday were Stefania’s and Daniele’s big surprises for the trip. Last time we were here they got to know some Australian culture, and we brought some DVDs back to Italy with us. So in Italy they have been really enjoying the Wiggles and Colin Buchanan over the last 16 months. [For my non Australian readers: they are famous singers of children's songs.] And so have Pinuccia and I – since it has been 18 years since I lived in Australia, and I didn’t have children, I had vaguely heard of these two artists but I had never heard them perform or knew much about them. But they have been part of my inspiration and idea sources for the songs I have been writing for my Sunday School children. Before we left to come to Australia, I saw that both of them had Christmas concerts on at Sydney whilst we were here. So yesterday afternoon we went to the Olympic Park to a Wiggles’ concert, and today we went into the city for a walk around and some shopping, and for a concert by Colin at the cathedral. It was a joy to see the pleasure and the excitement beaming out of our children’s faces as they realised the nature of their surprises – one of the joys of being a parent, of course, is to give joy to your children. It was all fairly tiring for them, and us, and tomorrow we will have a rest day at home (although that does include a trip to the nearby park and one to a swimming pool). In fact, Daniele went to sleep half way through the noise and lights of the Wiggles’ concert, and then again just before Colin’s concert so that he got only the second half of that one.

Conferences and finishing up in Italy

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

We are in the middle of packing for our departure for Australia tomorrow afternoon. Although I must say that we have found it a lot easier packing for a visit in summer, there are a lot less clothes to take. So in fact we have almost finished, and tomorrow morning we will pack the things that we will be needing in the next few hours. In the meantime, this morning will did all our goodbyes of our jealous friends in church.

The main events this week where the talks by Carl Trueman. The three talks on Tuesday were well attended by people from the church, and from nearby churches (ie up to 200km away) who came to hear him. The people I talked to found helpful the depth and clearness of his theological and practical thinking. Then on Wednesday afternoon there was a talk for the city on Calvin at a Catholic study centre. There were only about 10 who were not from the church, but they seemed interested in what was said. In any case, it was good to proclaim what we believe in public in the city of the Council of Trent.

With my Bible studies for this week cancelled due to these conferences, I had enough time to finish off and release the new version (7.13) of my Bible study computer program. So now I can take a break from that for three weeks as well – apart from replying to the e-mail questions I will receive, at least those that I will be able to reply to without my computer and my books.

I should however be able to keep up my blogging on borrowed computers, so I should be writing about the trip within the next week.

An unexpected break

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

We were supposed to be, at the moment, in the middle of four heavy days. But Stefania got a fever on Thursday night, which meant that we dropped out of a lot of our commitments, and life became a bit easier. On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Bible study in the Valsugana by myself, and on Saturday night we did not go to the annual dinner for the band. This morning there was an important event for the Sunday School, with a market to raise money for a school in India. So Pinuccia, after having down a lot of the preparation, had to miss it to stay home with Stefania, and got others to do what she had to do. But it went well, with the children singing a new song I had written and then saying what they were thankful for that they had receiving from God (instead of complaining about what they don’t have, when many have a lot less), with about €1100 being raised.

Today there was also a Christmas market at Lavis. We did go out for it, to get a bit of fresh air, but did not last very long before Stefania got tired and her temperature started going up, so we returned home early. Tuesday is a public holiday, and so many people – including the schools – take Monday off as well to get a long weekend. So Stefania and Pinuccia will both be at home. We were intending to make a trip to visit some of Pinuccia’s relatives, but that got put off as well due to Stefania’s illness. So we get a day at home (and maybe some shopping) instead. Then on Tuesday, there is an important event to pray for: an all day conference on the Evangelical Faith and the Reformation. It will be good to have such a conference on the holiday dedicated to the immaculate conception (of Mary, not Jesus), in a hall just a few meters from where the Council of Trent was held. Pray that we of the church would learn more about our doctrine, and that there will be many people not from the church that come as well. Then on Wednesday, there will be another talk on Calvin (for his 500th anniversary) in a Catholic study centre.

With these conferences being held, the cell groups on those days will not be held. This means that last Wednesday I gave my last Bible study for the year, with our departure for Australia being next Monday. I still however have one Sunday School lesson to prepare for next Sunday. I have also finished preparing all the Bible studies on 1Chronicles that I will be giving until summer (but there are still 6 studies on the Apostles’ Creed to prepare). This means that I will be able to dedicate all my work time this week to finishing the next version of my computer program, which I hope to release before we leave for Australia.