Archive for April, 2010

Living and active

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

A bit of feedback from my Italian bible site. Three years ago a lady wrote to me saying:

What you do is great and I need to thank you because I have used the site which has helped me. I have lots of Bibles at home, but the commentary of Enrico Bosio [an evangelical commentary written about 100 years ago, which is on my site] was very important for me, because it is very good, deep but written in a simple style. It is true that I can not accept all of it, given that I am Catholic, however it has helped me a lot and I will continue to consult it.

This week she wrote again:

A few years have passed since I last wrote to you. Then I was Catholic, but now I have passed to the evangelical faith. I am telling you this because you have had a part in my spiritual work, that you had through the site, and I thank you again.

Since then I have found out a bit more about her, how she has changed her believes (and not just her church), and that the main help she has had in this change was from another evangelical site, where she has had a few debates on line and where her questions have been answered. I also found out that she is 74 years old. She is certainly not in my usual demographic audience, but it was good to hear how the Word of God has been electronically working in her life as well!

Home – incredible but true!

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

If you have been following the news, you would know that most European flights have been cancelled for the past few days, including in Italy from Saturday morning. Which was when we were supposed to fly out from the ECM conference in Spain. So after getting trying three different flights, all of which were cancelled (including one in the time between walking from the security control to the gate), it was obvious that nothing was sure of getting to Milan (where we had left our car the previous week) for at least a few days. After considering a few options, we (together with the other Italian ECMers) became part of a group of 30 Italians who hired a bus to take us to Milan. It was not cheap, but it was the only way to get back at a decent time. We were told that it would take about 10 hours, but after various adventures (eg getting lost twice during the night in southern France, and being held for an hour by French border officials because one of the group did not have the correct documents), it was actually 21 hours. Adding the time to get from the hotel to the airport, organise the group there and wait for the bus, and then get home from Milan, the whole trip was 34 hours. I am thankful that our children are good travellers, and hardly complained the whole time, despite a lack of good food and sleep for almost two days. And I am thankful that I am home already – I think we are one of the first of the ECM conference participants that isn’t from Spain, Portugal or southern France to get home. Some still haven’t left the hotel yet. One person I met at the airport was not able to get a new flight for 10 days!

As was said at the conference, events like this help to remind us that we are not in control, and that we always have to depend on God’s provision. And they remind us how lucky we are able and how much we take for granted. Even less than 10 years ago,  such a long and costly trip would have been normal for an ECM family to get to an ECM conference somewhere else in Europe.

The conference itself: Having to look after the children meant that we are not able to use much of the time outside of the meeting to chat with others, which is something I have missed in the last few conferences. But it was probably one of the most helpful conferences for reflecting on my own ministry in the light of the Bible and the example of others. Having as my main ministry now the starting and handing over of small groups, most of my church ministry time is spent in preparing and leading group meetings. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it has been a shift from what I was doing in the past, when there was more individual discipleship. It was a gradual shift in my ministry that I had not been aware off. Maybe when I talk with the elders in a couple of weeks about my ministry after the summer break, I will be able to reduce the number of groups I lead so as to be able to meet with more individuals.

All to Spain

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I am early with my usual weekly posting, because tomorrow it is off to Spain again. But rather than being my twice yearly meeting for leaders in the mission, it is the two yearly conference for everybody in ECM. So the whole family is going this time, leaving early Saturday morning (which is also our anniversary, so I hope to celebrate the end of it on a Spanish beach), and returning late next Saturday. It will be a time of reflecting on the Bible, on the past and future of the mission, of communion with friends and co-workers we rarely see, and also relaxing by the pool with the family. So you can pray that it will be a fruitful time in these things for us and for all who attend.

A relaxing weekend (plus a few more days)

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

A good contrast with the previous weekend… With Pinuccia and Stefania getting a week’s holiday from school, it is a more restful time for us all. I don’t get such a holiday, but it turned out that Thursday was one of the rare Thursdays without a church meeting of some sort, and there was no band practice on Friday night due to Easter, so I did get a bit of a break from my usual commitments. (I do however have the usual Bible studies on Tuesday and Wednesday night, whilst in the family we will still be in holiday mode, so it might be difficult to make the mental shift.) We have been taking the opportunity to do some things together as a family, and the weather should be better in the next few days to be able to do some more outdoor activities like picnics and bike rides. And hopefully the health will be better also – the other three have all been sick with colds and other ailments, including fevers for three nights, but they are a bit better now.

We have also been working on creating our family Easter traditions. Now that the children are old enough to understand the meaning of Easter, we have been working out which parts of Australian and Italian culture we wanted to retain and use to explain this. Some ideas we have kept until later years when they are a bit older, but we did read stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the Bible on Friday and Sunday, and then had some activities to reinforce them. It helped that we went to an exhibit at the local science museum on Friday, which was about chickens hatching from eggs, so we could use that to explain why we had an egg hunt and chocolate eggs on Sunday (as a symbol of new life). We pray of course that the children will not only understand these stories, but also believe and put their trust in them.