Archive for May, 2011

The final countdown

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Someone asked me a few days ago if we were looking forward to our trip to Australia. Basically, we have not had enough time to think about it, let alone look forward to it, until now. I had things to do in church until this morning, whilst Pinuccia worked at school until Friday and is still preparing for the Sunday School camp that will be held in a month’s time. And just to keep us busy, we had some guests who are travelling around Europe for lunch today. Although all this has not kept Stefania and Daniele from getting excited about the trip. But now we are free, so we can concentrate on our trip – on getting ready, looking forward to it, and panicking about what we still have to do. We have all of Monday to do the packing, when we will be sending the children to pre-school, which will give us a bit of time to prepare. Then on Tuesday at 11am we leave our house, flying out at 4pm, and arrive in Australia on Thursday morning. About 38 hours from door to door.

An end and something new

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

There were two particularly noteworthy events in the past couple of days. The first was a picnic for the Youth Group after church. This was to wrap up the group’s activities for this school year. But personally, it probably wrapped up as well my youth ministry for good. The person that I have been leading with this year will be taking over, and someone else will be helping her. Of course God might think differently, but I can’t see myself being directly involved in that age group again – I am getting a bit old to hang around teenagers now. I am thankful that once again I was able to start something new in the church, train someone to take over, and then leave for other ministries, which is what my primary role in the church is. I thank God also for the 13 years of youth ministry that I have led, spread out over six groups in the past 28 years, and for the many opportunities that he has given me to serve the people in this groups.

On Friday there was my annual meeting with the two church elders, to talk a bit about the church in the past year and in the next year, and more specifically my role in it. So we talked especially about the various groups I lead or have general oversight of. With the changes in the church due to the church plant at Rovereto, and the people who will be serving there instead of at Trento, my role in the church will be a bit different. I will not be leading anything new to replace the Youth Group, so will have less regular commitments. I will instead be more involved in the help I give to the other groups, regularly visiting them and talking more often with the leaders. Especially the new generation of leaders that are coming up in the church. So I will not in fact be completely leaving the Youth Group ministry. But I will be helping the leaders there rather than being directly involved in the lives of the teenagers. I’m looking forward to this change as a new challenge, something different to do rather than continuing to do what I have done for the past few years.

Recitals

Monday, May 16th, 2011

We just had our recital weekend. First there was the end of year production of the dance school that Stefania has gone to this year. Two hours of children learning to dance… Stefania wanted to pull out, because she was scared of dancing in front of an audience, so it was a good teaching opportunity about depending on God. Then there was the annual Sunday School presentation, which was a time for telling the church what God has been doing in the lives of the children this year. It was also a time to say goodbye to quite a few children: some who are going to be the Sunday School at Rovereto, some who are moving away, and some who will be “graduating” to the Youth Group (and which made one of the parents a bit emotional, realising her little girl was not so little any more and would be leaving the Sunday School). So there will be a noticeably smaller Sunday School next year.

The end of the year is nigh

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

It is only the beginning of May, but the end of year activities have started up, even though the summer break does not begin until the beginning of July. On Tuesday we had our first family rite of passage, as Stefania received her “diploma” for having completed pre-school, in preparation for her starting infants’ school in September. Then next Saturday Stefania will be participating in the end of year recital for her dancing school. It is the first of what I am sure will be many similar events. On Sunday there will be the end of year presentation of the Sunday School. For us this is a big event, because Pinuccia and I are both heavily involved in the organisation and preparation. It is mostly ready, although I still have to finish up a video. It will also be the first Sunday School presentation for Daniele, and he and Stefania have a small part in the choreography of the song together with the rest of the class of the smaller children.

There should also be some preparation for our time in Australia. I said last week that I should have been starting this week, but it just did not happen. I don’t see it happening this week either. Hopefully once the Sunday School presentation is out of the way, I can start work on it.

The week of the wasted holidays

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

With the two public holidays this week falling on Easter Monday and the following Sunday, we did not get much benefit from them. But with school on holiday for Pinuccia and the children for eight days over Easter, we did get the holiday feeling. Especially with the eight relatives visiting at the beginning of the week. So we went to the lake one day, and Verona the next – holidays and enjoyable, although not terribly relaxing, as we looked after all these people.

Today there was more running around for me trying to juggle commitments. In the morning there was church, which included doing some things to organise the youth group meeting at our house next Saturday and the end of year Sunday School spectacular on the 15th. Then it was to the park for the monthly church picnic – always one of the highlights of my month. However this time I had to get Pinuccia to give me a lift at 1.45 to the town next to Lavis, where there was a festival and I played in a concert with the band. Just after I finished and had started walking home, Pinuccia rang to say the family was coming to visit the festival, so back I went to wait for them. And then we had a pleasant time together.

Now that there is less than a month to go until our flight to Australia, the other activity to start this week is the preparation for our time there. I already have thought a bit about what I want to say about our last three years in Italy and our future here, but I have to put it in a bit of order and prepare the necessary support material.