Archive for December, 2013

Vacation family time

Monday, December 30th, 2013

We are having a crowded Christmas break. Instead of visiting family, we invited them to Trento, so there are nine of us in the house at the moment. This means spending a lot of time with them – especially it seems playing Sicilian card games, as some others at Lavis take advantage of their holidays and the fact that there are a lot of extra Sicilians in town at the moment. But I also get some good time to work on my projects, with my mother-in-law looking after me and taking over most of my house work responsibilities. So I was able to publish a new version of my Android program this week, and having been making good progress on some other projects as well.

International Church

Friday, December 13th, 2013

…where Church is with a capital C, ie the whole Church, although now I am thinking I should have entitled this message “International God”.

Last week someone sent an e-mail to the church, in English, asking to talk to someone about faith. After a few difficulties working out when and where to meet, I managed to go to see him last night, and it turned out to be one of my best evenings for a long time. We went to a nearby bar, where he told me a bit of his story. He is from Pakistan, and had been attracted to Christianity for a long time, but could not even ask questions about it. Now he had come to Trento on a scholarship to do a Masters degree, and wanted to learn more about the Bible. After hearing this, over the noise of the bar and the football being played at maximum volume on the TV, I realised that this was not the divine appointment. 500 meters down the road lives the person who was a pastor in Pakistan before he was forced to flee the country a couple of years ago, and who now attends our church. So we left the bar to go to visit him, who happened to have another Pakistan Christian with him. So I had a wonderful evening listening to them tell their stories and evangelising in Urdu, giving thanks to God that he brings people from the other side of the world and puts them near to each other, and that he is using a little kitchen with a couple of stools in a village just outside Trento to bring about his purposes. Later I spoke about the evening with the person who runs the international Bible study in the church, and he said that he had been praying for more contacts with the Indian and Pakistani students, so that helps to explain the evening as well.

Even though the student is freer to ask questions and learn about Christianity in Italy, he is not completely free. The other Pakistani students at Trento are already a bit suspicious, and ask why he does not go to the mosque or say the daily prayers. So the Pakistani pastor warned him to be careful, because he could create problems both for himself and the pastor, but promised that he and the church will support and help him in every way possible. Pray for them, and give thanks to God with me for how he is using our small church for his Church in Pakistan (and many other countries).

Sandwiches for India

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Last Sunday there was the Sunday School’s annual fund raising event for a school in India. But more than fund raising, the aim has always been to have the children give what they can offer for the good of other children. This year we did something new, transforming the monthly church lunch after the service into the Sunday School Sandwich Shop, with the children busy making bread rolls and waiting on the tables, and the “clients” making a donation for the lunch. The church hall was nicely transformed into a restaurant for the occasion, and unexpectedly more people turned up than usual for a church lunch, which stretched our resources. But we found enough space, even though not enough tables, and had enough food, with a little left over which we could give to a couple of homeless people who have been attending the church lately. We raised over €400 for the school, but more importantly it was the children who, indirectly, gave the money.

Daniele and I however had to leave half way through the event, for his first chess tournament, which he was excited and enthusiastic about. He had two draws and five losses, which is not bad considering all the others were 3 to 6 years older than him. He proudly wore his medal (which all the participants won), and was really happy to win a Christmas bag of chocolates as the youngest player.

In local news this week, Trento topped the table this year as the best Italian city to live in. And there are lots of events in town to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the end of the Council of Trento. It is indeed a great place to live, where we can proclaim the grace alone of God in the place in which that doctrine was cursed.