Archive for the ‘Rovereto’ Category

Church planting progress

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

This week we started moving the realisation of our church planting vision up a gear. The plan is to start weekly church services at Rovereto in September, after the summer, at which time at least 10 people from the church will attend there and no longer at Trento (or at most only as visitors). We are having a strong mission emphasis in the next few months, including discussions with the church membership to make sure we are all going in the same direction. So on Wednesday night the Bible study group, after reading and reflecting on Acts 13, started talking and thinking about the new and future church plants. (The connection was no accident; we had planned the studies last May so that the Bible studies would be about church planting in this period.) Most of the other Bible study groups will have similar discussions in the next couple of months. Then on Thursday night the church committee spent a lot of its time talking more about the plans for the next steps in the setting up of the Rovereto church. There are a few other events planned to continue to help us think about what it means to plant a new church. On February 12 there is a meeting on mission with the Italian representative of WEC, who was herself a missionary in various countries, and on April 1-3 a series of meetings on church planting with the International Director of ECM, as well as the commissioning of the Rovereto group. So lots will be going on, which I will speak more of in the future.

Children’s camp (and more exhausted)

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

If I was exhausted in my last message, I am destroyed this time. (In Italian they say “destroyed” for very tired, but I have a doubt that you can’t say it in English.) From Wednesday to Saturday this week there was the church children’s camp. With a lot of last minute preparation at the beginning of the week, I was not able to work on the sermon that I had to prepare, as I had been hoping. So despite being tired from the camp, I had to do a late night on Saturday to prepare that. As I result, I have been feeling off all day today (Sunday) from lack of sleep, but somehow managed to get to Rovereto in the afternoon and give the sermon at the monthly service there. Early to bed tonight however!

The children’s camp, with 17 children from 7 to 16 years old, went well. It was a bit frustrating for me, because even though I was only officially half a teacher there (Pinuccia being a half as well, and we took turns looking after our children when we weren’t “on duty” at the camp), there was always the desire to do more and spend more time with the participants at the camp. There were the usual problems (of discipline and relationships) that you would expect from any such camp, but nothing bad, and we thank God for that.

This week maybe I will be able to rest a bit. With the run up to summer, my activities have diminished. For example, the group at Rovereto has started its summer break, as a large number of the group has already left on holidays or other trips. So I will actually be at home more evenings than I will be out, which is quite rare for me.

Exhausted

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

For a variety of reasons, both Pinuccia and I are quite tired out now. The main reason is that Daniele has for a couple of weeks consistently woken up early, around 6am. Except on the public holiday last Wednesday, and today (Sunday), when we could have slept in a bit, and he woke up at 5.40! You would think that it would mean that he would go to sleep earlier at night, or have a nap during the day, but no, he just keeps going. So the lack of sleep is starting to tell on us. As well as that, he picked the worst period of the year to do this, as Pinuccia especially has had a lot of extra work preparing two meetings for the end of the Sunday School year (although they are finished now) and the children’s camp that starts in 10 days’ time. Then there are end of year dinners and events for the various groups we are involved with in the church, for Stefania’s school and for Pinuccia’s school. I also have had some extra ECM work to do, with a 2 hour trip each way on Saturday for a meeting, and people from the mission visiting the next two days.

Anyway, there were some events I asked prayer for. One was the end of year trip to the lake for the Saturday cell group, which was a pleasant time with others in a similar situation to us (ie all with small children). And the friends from outside of the church that came kept our focus outward looking as well. On the other hand, I have heard on the grapevine that no-one from outside of the church came to the evangelistic afternoon at Rovereto. It will be interesting to hear in the next few days from those that organised it how they will respond.

Two major events to pray for this week:

  • On Saturday evening there is a singing worship meeting for the church (although open to everybody), also to learn to sing better and to learn a few new songs.
  • On Sunday there is a baptismal service, with seven people being baptised. I think that is the most we have ever had in one year, although they were not all converted in the last 12 months.

The end of an era

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

This was a week for thinking through the direction of the church for the next year. One important change that was decided was the continued push in the church planting efforts at Rovereto. After the summer break we will move from monthly services to fortnightly services. And then the following year, weekly services, which will mean a group (of the people from Rovereto, as well as some of those from Trento) detaching itself from the church at Trento, to be sent as missionaries to form the church at Rovereto. At the same time there will be further strengthening of the small group that meets at Rovereto, and further evangelistic activities. It is exciting to see this project go ahead. But I will no longer be a direct part of it. With Suzanne Bikker (the missionary who moved to Rovereto last summer) ready to take over the Bible studies, and others in the church committed to serving there, I am no longer needed. I do feel a bit of a loss, after investing about five years of ministry at Rovereto starting and leading the small group there. But it also gives me a great joy to me able to leave it. Leaving the group is what I have been working towards for these last five years. In fact, of the seven cell groups in the church, I will now have started and left four of them, and I am looking to leaving another next year.

This of course means I will have more time next year. Which has quickly been filled up. There has been a slight change in the direction of both the church and of me personally. The church is looking at setting up a series of courses, that cater for people in particular stages of the Christian life (examining Christianity, new Christians, starting to serve, mature Christians), as well as continuing the cell groups that are mixed. So I will be starting to run some of these courses, naturally along with somebody else each time that I will be training to do it next time. The other change is my desire to be not only doing ministry with groups, but also discipling individuals. There are a few people that I have thought of that would be good to meet regularly with, although since the biggest need of the church is to have more leaders for the multiplying groups I will probably concentrate on some possible future leaders. Of course, ending one ministry and starting two others does not work out mathematically, when I already have all my evenings busy. So I will have to actually see how it all works out in practice when these things start happening in September.

Today there was the end of year presentation by the Sunday School after the church service. That kept Pinuccia and I busy, and slightly stressed, for the last week (and more). But it went well, to show the rest of the church what happens when all these children leave the service each week. My class showed a video about the life of Saul (which we had studied this year) that we shot a couple of weeks ago, as they acted out the words to a song that I had written and they sang. It came out fairly well, too. There was also over €500 raised for a Christian school in India, mostly through the children donating some of their own toys, which were then sold. This is a great way of getting them to understand sacrificial giving, since they had to give up something of their own, rather than only raising money or relying on their parents to give them something to give.

After not having been able to listen to five church services in a row in the last four weeks (due to giving Sunday School lessons, preparing the video and another song for the presentation, leading the service or preaching), I am looking forward to having a holiday next Sunday and just sitting and listening. There is in fact the last day of Sunday School for the academic year, at which 8 new children have been invited, and who will start Sunday School next September. That was a very fertile period of 7 months! But I declared myself unavailable for that meeting. Since Daniele is one of the eight, I will even get to listen to the sermon without been distracted by having to try to keep Daniele amused the whole time.

On Sunday afternoon there are also a couple of other important events to pray for. The Young Adults have organised an evangelistic evening at Rovereto, and went to all the schools yesterday morning to hand out invitations. About the same time, the Saturday group for young families in the Valsugana valley is trying to organise an outing together with their friends – although it still has to be confirmed that people can come, it is hard for families with toddlers to be sure about what they will be able to do.

The end of the year, and preparing the next

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

This is the time of year when, between the better Spring weather that encourages outdoor activities and socialisation, and the approaching end of school and church year that encourages end of year activities, there are a lot of extra things to do. Last week Pinuccia was out twice for an end of year pizza, once with the other teachers in her class at the pre-school and once with the women in the church.

This week there is on Sunday the end of year presentation of the Sunday School, including raising funds for a school in India. This is creating quite a bit of work (and a bit of stress) for Pinuccia to organise it. On Saturday, there is a distribution at all the high schools of Rovereto of a magazine and invitation to an evangelistic event on the 6th. I will not be involved in that – not only was I not invited, I was told not to go as I am too old! But it has been great to see the group of young adults very much involved in the organisation and doing of this distribution and evangelistic evening. It is the first time that they as a group have done something like this for others and have served the church (in its vision for Rovereto). There is also this week for me a meeting tomorrow night with the elders to talk about the program for the cell groups after the summer break, and what will be my commitments and responsibilities, and then another meeting on Thursday for all the cell groups leaders to talk about these plans. So looking at next year as we start closing this year.

Two services, little listening

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Today there was the monthly service in the afternoon at Rovereto, which meant that I was at two services. They did go well, there were for example a lot of people at Rovereto, but personally I did not get much benefit out of them. In the morning at Trento, I was with my Sunday School class the whole time. Usually the Sunday School starts half an hour after the service begins, so there is at least a bit of time to listen and sing with everybody. But today I needed to work with the children the whole time, to prepare for the end of year presentation in two weeks’ time. I would say what we were doing, but it is a secret and people in the church are reading this, so I will have to wait before I reveal what we did! Anyway, we finished just in time to catch a couple of announcements at the end of the service. Then at Rovereto it was my turn to preach, which means not receiving much during the sermon (although I been encouraged and challenged whilst I was preparing it), and even during the service, before I preached, I was distracted by thinking about what I would say. Although at least the service after the sermon was more useful for me, and I could listen and sing a bit better.

This week, as with most weeks around this period, apart from the usual activities, will be busy for both Pinuccia and me getting things ready for the Sunday School presentation and for the children’s camp next month. There is quite a bit of preparation for both of them still, so pray for that.

Adult relationships again

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Today there was one of my favourite regular activities: the monthly lunch after church. Although due to the fact that the church has grown too large to eat in our usual hall, it has not been very monthly lately. But now that the better weather has arrived, the church was able to go to its favourite park again to eat and talk together. The reality however for us has been that for the past three years, these lunches with the church have not been as enjoyable, since we have always had to look after Stefania and Daniele, keeping them amused and out of trouble. But now that they are older we can give them their food and they eat it by themselves, and then we can let them run wild in the park. Well, almost wild: they play with the older children who take good care of them. So Pinuccia and I were free to talk normally with the adults. Although we did lose a bit of time, since we had to have a planning meeting for the children’s camp next month whilst at the park.

With the Spring weather, we were thinking of being able to go out more often with the family, especially on Saturdays when in theory we are all free from church and school. But with the Spring weather, everyone else wants to organise things together as well. So it turns out that we have no free Saturdays for the rest of the academic year, ie all May and June. (And then in July we go to Sicily for a few weeks.) Although most of these events are things we can do with the family. So for example this Saturday there is a picnic and afternoon together for the group at Rovereto, which we also hope will be beneficial for the group there as they get to know each other better in a more relaxed atmosphere. So pray for that event as well.

A strange week

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

I spent most of the week thinking it was the wrong day. Firstly because on Monday the whole family went to the ECM-Italy meeting a couple of hours to the south of Trento, which seemed like a weekend activity. So Tuesday seemed like Monday. As well as that Stefania had a slight cold, and so spent most of the week at home, so the days never quite seemed as they should me. But on Friday she went back to school, and should be right for this week. (Although there is still some resistance every morning to the idea of going to school.) By the end of the week, I had managed to get myself syncronised with the calendar again.

One of the highlights of the week was a Sicilian dinner at our place, for five couples/families that had at least one person from Pinuccia’s home town. (Although one couple could not make it due to the flu.) Since they are all good friends as well, it was a fun evening, and Stefania and Daniele enjoyed playing the whole time with my ex flat mate’s children, who are the same age. The non Sicilian components, like myself, just sat back and enjoyed the food which the others produced, especially when the talk kept dropping into incomprehensible Sicilian dialect.

On Tuesday, instead of the usual Bible study at Rovereto, there will be a meeting at Trento for the wider group of people interested in and committed to helping the whole church planting project at Rovereto. So you could pray for that meeting, that we would have good ideas, and the desire and dependence on God, to move forward with that project.

Teaching time

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

I’m getting ready to go out for the monthly service at Rovereto (where it will be my turn to preach), but apart from that the week is over for me, and so I can write a bit. In any case, when I return from the service, it will be straight to dinner, then getting the children to bed, and then a bit of rest, so it might be harder to write later. The service will also be a welcome back for Suzanne Bikker, the new missionary at Rovereto, who just got back this afternoon from a few months of deputation. Now that she will be here long term (and with a car), she will be able to put all her energy into her ministries. And I will be putting more time into guiding and helping her in this.

This week most of my commitments restarted – Bible studies on Wednesday and Saturday, band practice on Friday. The only one that was missing was the Rovereto group on Tuesday, which meets this week. It was good being able to teach the Bible to people again! The other two highlights of the week were:
- getting my driver’s licence renewed, and discovering that my eyesight has actually got better not worse since the last renewal 10 years ago, and even since 28 years ago when I first discovered I was slightly short sighted;
- the continuation of our church growth program, with not one but two births on Wednesday. With another baby born just before Christmas, and who we met for the first time at the Saturday group, there are only three pregnancies left (two of which are in the Saturday group).

This week it is Pinuccia’s turn to do some teaching. She is leading a study for the monthly ladies’ meeting on Thursday, and then leading a Sunday School teachers’ meeting on Saturday. It does send her into a bit of a panic, especially as she has less time available to prepare such meetings than I do, so you could pray for God’s help in these things.

Meetings for Rovereto

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Usually I write my weekly message on Sunday afternoon, when I have finished my activities for the week. But this time, although I am writing at the usual time, I have not quite finished. Tonight there is a dinner for all the group at Rovereto. Partly as a social time, partly for a birthday on Tuesday, and partly to farewell Suzanne Bikker, who will leave on Tuesday for three months in Holland. This will be to speak to the churches about her ministry (which she could not do between finishing Bible school and coming here, because it was summer), and to raise some more support, as she is still a bit short.

As well as the usual Tuesday Bible study, the Rovereto group also had a meeting last Thursday, to talk about the Rovereto church planting project. It was in fact an extended group: as well as six people who live there, plus the two of us who travel there each week from Trento for the Bible studies, there were five others from Trento and the province who want to help out with the project in various ways. This is a lot different from the first such meeting two years ago, when there were just three of us, of whom none were from Rovereto. This time, we looked at how we could improve our current activities (weekly Bible studies, monthly services, monthly bookstall and literature distributions), and considered some ideas for the future.