Archive for September, 2010

Travel booking time – Australia, Sicily, Spain

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

We are getting ready for our 3 yearly trip to Australia! It is still more than 8 months to go, but I wanted to make sure I got the cheapest fare. It costs enough as it is… So we will be back in Australia next year on June 2, leaving again on August 18. It is a long time away, but we are accepting bookings already, if you would like to have us visit you.

Since we will be in Australia this (northern) summer, we will be missing our trip to see Pinuccia’s family in Sicily. So we will go instead this Christmas for two weeks. Since it is a shorter period than in the summer, we will be taking the aeroplane instead of the church. So that trip got booked this week as well. All these trips certainly made a dent on my credit card… I also checked in for my flight to Madrid next Monday, but more in my next message.

In the meantime, Daniele started to go to preschool full time this week, which meant also having a sleep after lunch. Like Stefania before him, he has not slept during the day for a long time, but at school enjoys have a little siesta in the afternoon. And naturally he has no intention of having a nap on the weekend whilst he is at home. He is also starting to learn that he will have to vary his diet, because if he does not want to eat what the school provides (which is often the case), he won’t eat anything. But gradually he is getting more varied tastes, just like Stefania did when she started eating at school.

Finally the empty next, and half way and Murphy’s week

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I really do love being with my children, but despite that tomorrow will be the day that we have been looking forward to for a few years. Daniele starts pre-school full time, so after I take him and Stefania and get home around 9.15am, I will be free until a bit before 4pm, when Pinuccia will bring them both home with her when she comes back from work. So there will be almost seven uninterrupted hours to get things done – well, with only Pinuccia interrupting me anyway. And a romantic lunch together, just the two of us.

As for the rest of the title of this message, this week was special in a few ways. On Tuesday, assuming I retire at 65 years, I reached exactly the half way stage of my ministry in Italy. 17 years 363 days down, and the same to go. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has ready for me for the next almost 18 years, there was certainly no way I could have guessed where I am now when I landed at Rome airport all those years ago. Then on Wednesday, we had to go to Trento but when we tried to go home, found that the car battery was flat. We did manage to get it going and a new battery installed before Pinuccia had to go to work, but it meant a morning (and a bit of money) gone. Then on Saturday morning, I tried to turn my computer on but it refused to start. After lots of testing, it looks like the mother board has gone. So Monday (and another bit of money) will be spent trying to get that fixed – and for quite a few days I will be trying to set up my computer again as I like it. Then on Saturday afternoon, we realised that the hot water system, which had had its compulsory annual check-up on Wednesday, had been leaking water since then. Naturally we realised two hours after the repair shop closed for the weekend… But we managed to get someone to come and fix it on Sunday evening, after a weekend without hot water, often without any water, and a dozen soaked towels as we tried to stop the water from coming out. On Monday the permanent fix should be coming, but at least it won’t cost us anything since it seems to be the fault of the person that checked the hot water system. Just as well too, as the leaked water came down from our attic and spread over the wall and roof of two rooms, and has possibly spread to a neighbour and the apartment downstairs. So there could be quite a bit of fixing up and painting to do shortly.

Lots to do, and a bit of peace and quiet

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Since activities at church are restarting, today was very busy for me trying to organise, at least in part, three different groups. Today was the first day of the Sunday School, so although I did not have to go to the meeting, I had to help prepare the room before the service, and hand out information leaflets to the parents before and after the service. A big change this year is that we are going to start up a teenagers’ group again, after a pause of a couple of years in which there were not enough teenagers. (We kept them in the Sunday School instead.) So there will be up to eight teenagers meeting once a month on a Saturday afternoon at our house. We also have someone else helping us, and who we will be training in Christian ministry. So I was busy after the service talking with the parents to get those meetings organised. The third group to organise was the welcomers’ group, for a meeting to talk about how their ministry is going. So there were a lot of people to try to get to talk to. The other fact that kept me busy was by birthday today, so there were a lot of “best wishes” that I had to reply to.

The peace and quiet, on the other hand, were due to the fact that it was Daniele’s first day at Sunday School. So I was able to listen to the sermon, the time of prayer, and the end of the service, without having to think about keeping the children entertained. What a big difference!

This week, as well as the Bible study on Wednesday which started last week, there is the first of the fortnightly Bible studies for the upper Valsugana group – the one with 12 adults and 11 children less than five years old. There is also a church committee meeting on Monday, with some important decisions for the future of the church. Pray for that. And on Thursday my mother will be returning to Australia, after a great time with us.

Back to work

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

This Wednesday night there is my first Bible study of the year. After have worked on Acts for a few months already, I am looking forward to being able to share what I have found exciting about the book so far. Pinuccia will be organising a beginning of year “party” for the Sunday School next Sunday, and then the lessons will start the following week. There are a few other ministries that we will be involved in this year, and that will be starting a bit later, but more on those later. So pray for these first meetings.

Daniele has been accelerated at pre-school, and will be able to go from the start of the school day from Monday, instead of starting at 10am for a few more days like the other new children. This is because he has fitted in so well. Instead of crying when he has to leave me or Pinuccia to go into the classroom, he pushes us away to run in as fast as he can. And cried the first day when he had to come home. Of course, it has helped that he has been to the preschool almost every day for the past two years, to pick up Stefania with me. So he knows the school and the teachers. It was also because the teacher had a bit of pity on us, having to make 4 trips a day. So this week we will only have to make three – take them both at 8.30/9am, pick up Daniele at 11.30, then Pinuccia will bring Stefania with her when she leaves school at 3.30pm. Pinuccia has really been enjoying working close to home, and it has helped her to become a part of town life here at Lavis. It helps that she is the teacher of Stefania’s best friend at school, and of the grandson of someone in our apartment block who is also the nephew of one of Stefania’s teacher. (Lavis is a small town!) So she already knew quite a few people, and will no doubt know a lot more by the end of the school year.

The perfect job

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Well, yesterday was certainly a big day. It was the first day of preschool for Stefania and Daniele. Since it was the first ever day for Daniel, he has a gradual insertion into school life, and only goes from 10am to 11.30 for the first week. So between Pinuccia and I, we made three walks to the school and back in the morning. Daniele cried a bit at preschool – but only when I came to take him home, as he wanted to stay at school. Then after lunch, it was Pinuccia’s turn to drive to a different preschool for her first day, and then Daniele and I went back to school to pick up Stefania. A bit later my mother arrived for her visit – we had to make her take a bus and two trains from the airport at Verona, since we were not free to pick her up. Then it was Pinuccia’s turn to come home from school. A bit after she arrived, she got a phone call from another preschool with not one, but two job offers. Not just for a short time, but for the whole year (which is what she wanted). And not from any school, but from the school at Lavis where the children attend, and that she can walk to. And it was for 2.5 hours, which is just what we wanted. And it was not the after school care, which is usually the most that she can expect, but in the normal class, which is personally more rewarding (being more like teaching and less like babysitting). And one of the two jobs finishes at the end of the school day, so she can bring Stefania and Daniele home with her, saving me an trip (and an hour) in the afternoon. All in all, there is nothing that could be improved in that job. So she has resigned from the other job, and will start this one this afternoon. So it means now more than 6 hours free without the children and with the car available, of which 3 hours by myself. This will give me a lot more possibilities for work and ministry in the church. We thank God a lot for this job!