Archive for January, 2012

Social work

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Today there was the annual general meeting of Altrimenti, the social-cultural association run by people of the church. There was nothing new in the meeting, but it was good to be able to take a step back and see all that has been done in the past three years. It has worked in overseas aid (Romania and Cameroon), helped refugees and other foreigners in the province, and organised cultural events (conferences and theatre on freedom and human rights, games for people at the street markets), which meant a turnover of more than €10,000 last year. But more than that, it has been a time of making contacts and getting known as a valid association in the local society, not just as a group of evangelicals who want to push their minority view point on other people. So the association is a member of provincial forum for peace and human rights, has been approached by the local department for immigration to help it, and is able to request funds from the local government and banks for some of its projects. The president today said how he gets excited by these possibilities that were out of the question three years ago, and so do I.

Meeting week

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

This coming week there are a few special meetings to pray for. Tomorrow night Pinuccia leads a meeting to plan for the children’s camp in June. I should be at the meeting as well, as I will be one of the leaders of the camp, but I will be staying at home with the children. I have already written up my contributions, which Pinuccia will take to the meeting, and I hope that the others will not decide in my absence that I will have to do most of the work to prepare for the camp. On Tuesday there will be a meeting of most of the ECM missionaries in Italy at our house, until I have to leave to pick up the children from school. Then on Thursday evening a church committee meeting, which always has interesting and important issues to think about. I am also looking forward to making one of my bimonthly visits to the Valsugana group this Friday: it is a group that is still special for me after having led it for many years, and is always an encouragement for me. Together with those there are the regular Bible study group and band practice for me, and two extra meetings at school for Pinuccia, so we will have a lot to do.

Trips

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

We arrived back home from Sicily on Friday afternoon. Just enough time to get unpacked, sort the house out, and have a bit of a rest, before the other three go back to school tomorrow. And I get back to preparing Bible studies, other meetings, and programming. As usual, a lot of our time in Sicily was spent with friends and relatives, eating a lot and having late nights. The nights certainly disrupted the children’s usual life style, although in some ways it did make life it a bit easier for me. I tended to go to bed at my normal time, but with the children exhausted and waking up a lot later than usual I could catch up on some rest and sleep in a bit, and still have time to get some work done before the rest of the family woke up.

This morning in church we heard a report from a group of young people that went to a large (3000 people) youth missionary congress in Germany over the New Year. There were eight from the church who went, together with two others from other churches at Trento and who attend the GBU group at the university. Since most of the participants read this on Facebook, I won’t go into the personal details. But it was great to hear each one of them say what they had learnt and experienced at the congress, and what helped them at this particular moment of their walk with God.

Finally, a message that I received late yesterday:

I read the Bible every night thanks to your mailing list and I am grateful! I had never read it before, except small pieces when I was a child, without understanding anything. How many questions that arise, and how many answers I find! Now I understand. Thank you, I would like to shake your hand and hug you with this e-mail.