Archive for the ‘ECM’ Category

In Croazia

Monday, April 18th, 2016

It is time to catch up on some news, now that I have a moment free.

We had a relatively good week at the ECM conference in Croatia. The time looking after the family took out a lot of time that usually we would have had to catch up and meet the other missionaries, but we were expecting that. It was interesting coming from our town, where I know of only one other family with four school age children, to a mission conference where four (or more children) is quite common. For the mission as a whole, it was a good time to reflect on where God is leading us into the future of Europe.

On the road again

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

For more than a year, I have not been making trips I should have been for meetings for ECM or with other missionaries in Italy, nor for conferences, because the family situation has not allowed it. But having my in-laws staying now means that I can make a quick trip to England for a meeting on Thursday, plus two days of travelling. This is for some of the leaders of the various countries where ECM works, to talk about the plans and projects of all the teams in the mission. So you could pray for this trip, and the family that is staying behind. Then I have some more meetings to miss in the next few months, but we are hoping to go as a family to a missionary conference in June.

Pray, Prepare, Program

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Our time at the Italian prayer days went well. Firstly as a family – Pinuccia actually felt better there then when she is at home – and secondly as a mission, with a good time of sharing each others’ joys (of which there had been quite a few lately amongst the missionaries) and burdens. The other good news was that as we were in the car, 5 minutes before arriving, Pinuccia got a phone call offering her a few different full-time jobs. We were not expecting it, as usually so gets offered a job later on, being a bit down the list. Usually Pinuccia does not want a full-time job, to leave time for the family and the church, but this year the full-time job will come in handy, as she does not intend to work and will receive a percentage of the pay of the job she accepted whilst she is on maternity leave.

With only a week and a half left of the three months of school holidays, it is time to start thinking about the restart of the church activities. This week I have two meetings to prepare the Sunday School, one with all the teachers (that Pinuccia runs – she will be on maternity leave from the Sunday School as well this year, but will continue to organise it) and one for the three teachers of my class. I will also be working on getting people to enrol in the small groups, which we will be presenting in a new way this year.

My iPhone/iPad Bible app continues to be downloadable, after the initial spurt when it was released a couple of weeks ago, at a rate of about 15-20 copies per day. A couple of days I sent out the third public version, with various improvements. It was good to think, whilst enjoying the fellowship at the prayer days, that I was continuing to distribute God’s Word to Italians, a copy every 90 minutes. And that was just for the iPhone or iPad; there are also the Windows, Mac and Android versions to add to that.

Prayer days

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Tomorrow we will be attempting our only trip away during this anomalous summer vacation, although it won’t be for a holiday. We will be going to Desenzano, a town on the southern shore of Lake Garda about 1.5 hours from here, for four days for a time of prayer for the Italian missionaries of ECM. Pray that it will be a time of refreshment and mutual encouragement for all the missionaries. Pray also that we as a family will be able to cope – it is always a challenge to keep Stefania and Daniele (who are the only children present) happy during all the meetings and prayer times for the adults, and this year Pinuccia has limited mobility and energy levels as well.

In Croazia

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

The biennial conference that we were at last week was one of the more helpful for me for a while, mainly because the children are a bit older and a bit more autonomous, which meant that Pinuccia and I were a freer to participate and for relationships with the other missionaries. That was true especially in the first half of the week; in the last few days half the family was sick. But in between bouts of fever, head and throat aches, and vomits, Pinuccia and I managed to sneak out for 20 minutes to watch the sun set over the sea (one of Pinuccia’s favourite activities, as they get great sea sun sets near her home in Sicily) on Thursday, which was our 10th anniversary. Thanks also to the Australians who helped me out, babysitting sick children, giving romantic advice, and serenading us with beautiful songs in the background, whilst we sat watching the sun set. On the first evening, I won a free entry to the hotel’s saunas and spas, which Pinuccia enjoyed as an anniversary present. I’m thankful to God that the children loved the time here – Stefania would insist that she was not sick any more the moment she realised that the children’s program was about to start – and so pleasant to be with – we had some great family outings together in the spare time, at least until the illnesses started to take over.

This Saturday there is the fulfilment of Pinuccia’s 14 year old dream, to start a Kids’ Club. Pray for the team that is organising and running it, and for the children that will come. There is also a Pakistani service on Friday, so you could pray for the witness as well. Both are hoping to become monthly events in the future.

Prayer

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

In a few hours’ time, the whole family will be going to Croatia for the biennial conference of the mission. Pray for a helpful time for us, and that we will be a help to others, and energy to get through it as we are all coming out of an extended period of sicknesses and tiredness.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Pakistan member of the church here whose son had been kidnapped. The son was found a few days ago, but had been beaten up and left for dead on the side of the road. He is now in hospital in Pakistan. Continue to pray for him and his family.

Working with children

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

My Sunday today was dedicated to the Sunday School, and more of the Sunday School than usual. As we move towards the end of the school year, we tend to do some activities together for the two older classes, preparing for the transition of some of them to the next class after the summer break. So in the morning there was a lesson for the two classes together, which I did, and in the afternoon we had an outing together. It was supposed to be an afternoon on the snow at the beginning of the month, but it got postponed a couple of times and become the first picnic of the year. Despite the arrival of the Spring weather, I had to do this with a pretty bad cold. Doing the lesson with no voice was no fun (although since I could not speak up the children did have to keep quiet to hear me), and at the park I just collapsed and had to sleep. But after I work up I managed to be a bit more useful and sociable.

After the church service, Pinuccia made an announcement which, she said, greatly excited her. When she came back to Italy from Switzerland 14 years ago, so had a dream and a desire of starting a kids’ club. For various reasons it has not been possible. But in the last few weeks she has been meeting with a handful of other people from the church, to prepare the first church Kids’ Club, which will be held on April 19. She is grateful for this team that has the same desire, and are working together on the same vision. The aim for the future is to start regular meetings of such a club.

This Saturday the family will be going to Croatia for a week, where there will be the biennial conference for ECM. Pray that it will be a helpful time for all four of us, and a time in which we can help other missionaries. We also can count it as a special trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary during the conference – quite appropriate as half our honeymoon was spent at an ECM conference. Although to be honest, Pinuccia does not consider a missionary conference such an appropriate way to celebrate our anniversary.

To Germany and back

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Last week was mostly ECM work, with a trip to Germany to meet with the other leaders of the various countries to or from which the mission sends missionaries. It was for a week, but it is difficult for me to be away for so long due to Pinuccia’s work hours this year, so I had to miss the training half and was present only at the half with the meetings. I act as a kind of secretary for this group, making sure that the paperwork is done and that decisions are followed up on. I enjoy that sort of work, and the others are happy that I do it for them. Then when I returned on Saturday night, it was time to catch up on some family celebrations, as Stefania had turned eight whilst I was away. So she got two family parties (one on her birthday, one when I returned), which meant that she was not too upset about my absence!

Apple, Portugal, San Martino – here we come

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

One of the most common questions I got from my web site used to be when there would be a version for Macintosh computers of my program to study the Bible. Now the common question is when there will be a version for iPads and iPhones. I send people to the site FAQ, which explained that I could not develop such a version, because I would need a Macintosh computer to do it, I did not have one, and could not afford to buy one to develop the program. But now a group from a church at Genova has taken up the challenge, and has bought and sent me a Mac Mini, so that I can write a version for the program for the many Apple users in Italy. Their generosity amazes me, and I thank God for the financial sacrifice that they have made to spread God’s Word in Italian. It will take me a while to learn how to program on these operating systems and to translate the program into another language. But the computer arrived just in time, because I was able to complete the second major version of the Android version (which currently has 10,000 users) on Wednesday, and I just have to write up the help file before a major release of the Windows version. So for most of the next year I can concentrate on this new project (in the time left over from my church ministry, which has the priority), apart from a bit of work I will continue doing answering common questions on the Bible. By now my desk is starting to look like a developer’s studio, with two computers, a tablet and a phone with five operating systems between them, which I use to write and test the various versions of the program.

But all this will have to wait for a week, because tomorrow the whole family is going to Lisbon for a retreat for the Australian and New Zealand missionaries of ECM. Pray that that will be a good time for us all, and that we will be an encouragement to the other missionaries there.

When we get back next Saturday, it will be just in time for another big move – the next day the church will have its first meeting in the hall it is renting in the San Martino suburb of Trento. It will certainly be an historic moment for the church, which however I will miss, since I will be preaching at Rovereto that day. But at least there will be a church lunch afterwards, that I will be able to get back for. Pray that this hall will be an effective instrument to help us to be a part of the society and reach out to Trento, and not to just be a burden. In fact, we will have an opportunity to use it the following Saturday (10th), when there will be a festival for San Martino. The church will have an “open day”, with various activities to make ourselves known to the quarter. But more on that in another message.

Prayer and worship

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Last weekend there were the annual prayer days for ECM in Italy. It was a good time, in fact, for praying – certainly to help each other in our ministries, but above all to ask God’s help.

Next weekend there is some more training in the church, especially but not only for the young adults. This time it is on worship, in the morning for everybody, and in the afternoon for those who lead others. Pray that this time will be a helpful time for our church.